ACICIS is pleased to announce the 2019 John Darling Fellowship recipient. Ms Abby Dunn is a Master of Screen Arts: Documentary at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Funded and facilitated with the support of the Monash Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Centre, the Fellowship of $7,100 supported Abby’s participation on the ACICIS 2019 Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum (CADPP).

Abby is an emerging and well-travelled documentary filmmaker and photographer. Abby has worked on numerous short documentaries as a director, producer, writer and cinematographer. Recently, she completed a one-year mentorship program through SBS Viceland. Previously Abby won an RMIT documentary scholarship to direct and produce a short documentary in Cambodia. This film, ‘The Bamboo Trail’, is now archived in the Bhopana Museum in Phnom Penh.

In January-February this year, Abby was placed at EngageMedia in Yogyakarta for the duration of her practicum placement. EngageMedia is a not-for-profit Video for Change organisation that began in March 2005. The organisation focuses on creating social change through the distribution of human rights and environmental video, media and technology capacity building, research, network development and digital rights advocacy. Abby notes that:

‘My time spent with ACICIS and EngageMedia in Indonesia has been of immeasurable benefit to my development as a documentary filmmaker. I also grew a deep appreciation for Indonesia and it’s film and art culture.’

During her placement, Abby organised and conducted film interviews for the Video4Change website that Engage Media was developing at the time. With this task, she learnt a great deal about cross-cultural collaboration:

‘Through this task, I was able to create more international connections and gain a deeper understanding on ethical frameworks that should be implemented in documentary filmmaking. Also, I learnt how to overcome challenges such as editing dialogue in a foreign language, effectively communicating with fellow employees and adapting to new types of work environments.’

At the end of her placement, EngageMedia staff asked Abby to run a documentary storytelling workshop for the team, where she talked about techniques and practical experiences she has learnt throughout her Masters studies. Abby reflects on this:

After the workshop was finished, we were able to compare our processes and I feel that we all gained some new insights.

Congratuations to Abby from all of us at ACICIS and we wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

In keeping with the legacy of John Darling’s pioneering documentary filmmaking work in Indonesia in the 1970s and 80s, the Fellowship is intended to provide an opportunity for emerging Australian documentary and ethnographic filmmakers to experience the vibrancy of contemporary Indonesian filmmaking, and to collaborate and exchange ideas with Indonesian filmmaking peers.

Applications are open for the 2020 John Darling Fellowship. Find out more here.