ACICIS is pleased to announce the 2020 John Darling Fellowship (JDF) recipient. Mr Joshua Lee is a recent graduate of 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 $7,398 supported Joshua’s participation on the ACICIS 2020 Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum (CADPP).

Joshua is a documentary filmmaker from Perth. Joshua developed a passion for documentary filmmaking early on in his studies at Murdoch University, where he gained a first class honours degree in Media Studies and an advanced diploma in Video Production. He has produced many documentaries in recent years that have gone on to win awards in WA and play an numerous international film festivals. As a freelance DP, Josh has travelled to West and South Africa, the Middle East and Asia for commissioned video projects, and as part of his AFTRS MA he made a film about the fledgling tourism industry in North Korea. Currently, he is completing a documentary for the ABC on fatherhood in lower socio-economic communities.

In January-February this year, Joshua was placed at EngageMedia in Yogyakarta for the duration of his 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. Joshua notes that:

‘I worked with Engage Media for four weeks. We partnered with two organisations to develop video projects. Yasanti, an organisation working with female porters for better working conditions and SAPDA (Sentra Advokasi Perempuan Difabel) who are working towards embedding the rights of disabled people in Indonesia within the national law. The process was one of direct collaboration with these communities.’

Joshua felt that the experience in Indonesia has contributed to his skill development:

‘The JDF provided a wonderful opportunity for me to really focus on collaborative practice. It helped me develop my community engagement skills and understand how video can work for social impact in an international context. I will implement these learnings in the release of my next project which will be driven by a social impact campaign. The experience also led to further opportunities in Indonesia. Through contacts I met in Indonesia I have been asked to produce content for a plastic recycling organisation. I believe overall the experience has also helped make me more rounded as an ethnographic filmmaker.’

In the future, Joshua plans to integrate what he has learned into his filmmaking:

‘On a personal level the program left me with a rejuvenated sense of creative vigour, joy and direction. The process over these 6 weeks helped serve my transformation as a filmmaker previously occupied with output at all costs, to a more community and collaborative minded arts practitioner who now views relationships as the most important ingredient to any creative endeavour. I am grateful for this period of artistic personal growth and I hope to integrate the learnings I have gathered in Indonesia into my future practice as a documentary filmmaker and artist.’

Congratulations to Joshua 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.