Voice to Parliament documentary underway in NT

Our Voice, Our Heart is a documentary that immerses its hosts in the cultures of Indigenous Groups in the Northern Territory in the leadup to the Voice to Parliament referendum.

Our Voice, Our Heart, a new documentary about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, is currently in production in the Northern Territory.

The film follows the journey of Tiwi man Jaxon De Santis and Warlpiri/Jawoyn man Justin Grant as they traverse the vast landscapes of the NT, grappling with their uncertainty surrounding the impending Voice to Parliament referendum scheduled for late 2023.

‘So many people are asking me how I am going to vote in the Referendum, and I have nothing to say,’ said co-director Grant. ‘If I don’t know, how are the millions of Australians living in the cities going to know how to vote?’

After recognising the statistical insignificance of the NT’s contribution to the final referendum count, the filmmakers wanted to provide a platform for the voices of those most affected, whose votes often go unheard. Their mission: to discover their own voices and, in turn, empower others to do the same.

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‘It feels super important, it’s us going out learning, and obviously there are lots of people like us in Australia that are not too sure what the attitudes towards the referendum are from these communities that we are going to find out … Going in with a curious mindset and listening rather than coming with an agenda of a message,’ said De Santis. ‘It’s an experience for everybody, for us and everyone who will watch this.’

Producer and co-director Laurens Goud said ‘We are starting from a position that it is OK to not understand enough to have a perspective on the Referendum. We want to invite the audience on a journey to listen and learn more, to help in making this important decision, just as Justin and Jaxon will.’

Produced and co-directed by Laurens Goud from Trade Creative, with Justin Grant serving as co-director, co-producer, and Indigenous consultant, and Jaxon De Santis as co-producer, Our Voice, Our Heart embarks on a journey through the heart of the Northern Territory.

The crew’s itinerary includes stops in Katherine, Kalkarindji (Gurindji), Pirlangimpi (Melville Island Tiwi), Gove (Nhulunbuy), Barunga (Barunga Festival), and Kakadu (Jabiru). Each destination promises unique encounters with First Nations communities, allowing the team to immerse themselves in the region’s traditional cultures and customs.

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Goud added: ‘We particularly want to bridge the gap between what is thought, known and understood in majority non-Indigenous Australian states, and the significant Indigenous population in the Northern Territory who will be most affected.’

A first look at the documentary is available on the Our Voice, Our Hearts Facebook page.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports