The local church ladies running classes in colloquial Australian (“We’ll head over to the servo after brekkie”) are just some of the delightful characters and surprising stories crammed in here. The only discordant note is that despite the opening credits identifying the town as being in Gangulu country, the original inhabitants of the area remain conspicuous by their absence.
Guy Sebastian, one of the music industry’s genuine nice guys.
Guy Sebastian: The Man, the Music Nine*, 9.10pm It’s the central paradox of being a pop star – pop star, not musician, or even rock star – that you’re obliged to be simultaneously self-aggrandising and self-effacing. The commercial machine requires you to relentlessly self-promote, while fans demand you remain conspicuously and authentically humble.
Few current popular music heroes manage that juggle as successfully as Guy Sebastian, as this documentary amply (if perhaps unintentionally) demonstrates.
And whatever you think of his music, you have to admire the way he’s parlayed winning a talent competition into a respected 15-plus year career – nor deny that he’s one of the industry’s genuine nice guys. Filmed in the lead-up to last year’s Ridin’ With You tour, fans will love the peek behind-the-scenes, along with plenty of Guy doing what he does best.
Who Do You Think You Are Australia: Julie Bishop SBS, 7.30pm Who Do You Think You Are? always runs to a loose kind of script. (“Would you like to know more?”; “I’d love to know more!”) But within those parameters, we actually get to see the former foreign minister pretty relaxed, and very open to whatever comes her way.
It’s fun to see her loosening up, although she’s never not neat as a pin. (And what a collection of knitwear!) However, if you look closely, you’ll even glimpse her in her slippers.
Julie Bishop appears on this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Australia.Credit:SBS
Travelling the world in search of her ancestors is of course right in her wheelhouse and while most of the action takes place in England, we still get the usual intriguing serve of history – including some “who knew?” stuff about Britain’s stand against slavery. In the end, it surprises no one – least of all Ms Bishop – to discover she has bold adventurers on both sides of the family.
Bondi Rescue Ten, 7.30pm Perhaps deciding that it no longer felt irresponsible to show crowds mingling on Bondi Beach, the brains trust at Ten have returned this stalwart factual program to the schedule. And it continues to do what it does so well: show Aussie lifeguards at work, without over-egging the pudding, and providing some useful public service info at the same time.
Indeed, this episode in the returning season (the 15th) opens with a great little story about a surfer saving his brother’s life by mimicking the resuscitation techniques he’d seen on Bondi Rescue. (Both lads turn up at Bondi to get some proper, actual lessons.) Elsewhere, all your favourites and their absurd monikers are back: Whippet, Singlets (pictured), Bagus, Faddy et al (although you’ll have to wait to next week for Hoppo and Chappo).
Who Gets to Stay in Australia? SBS, 8.30pm I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for these people, to see them as victims of a brutal bureaucracy. But in the first episode of this new factual series, the lasting impression is of a succession of silly people who should have known better. The motivation behind Who Gets to Stay in Australia? is laudable: to examine the nuts and bolts of applying for permanent residency, why people are rejected, and what they can do about it, all from a very personal perspective. But while one case study certainly seems both perverse and unnecessarily harsh (a Partner Visa for a US citizen queried on the grounds of the “character” of her Australian-born husband), another might have plenty of viewers hoping the miscreant is deported, and the third will have plenty more questioning the judgment of the filmmakers.
Overall, most of the “heartbreak” involves people hoping that somehow the rules don’t apply to them. Of course, whether the rules are fair in the first place is a whole other question but as Amanda Vanstone, one of the experts quoted, points out: if there’s a bunch of people patiently and painstakingly following those rules, what entitles another group to special treatment?
Letterkenny SBS Viceland, 9.20pm Season three of this kooky Canadian comedy starts with a monologue describing the frigid weather that runs through the alphabet from A to Z, cheating only slightly on X for Xceptionally. Rapid-fire and ridiculous (and pointless) – but superbly articulate – it’s Letterkenny all over.
Some of the cast of Letterkenny, from left to right: Joel Gagne (Joint Boy), Jared Keeso (Wayne), Nathan Dales (Daryl), K. Trevor Wilson (Dan).Credit:SBS
If you are not already on board Letterkenny‘s absurdist train, it’s probably best not to start at the third season. You might find yourself rather discombobulated by its – ahem – unique sensibility and distinctive delivery. But if you’re in the mood for comedy unlike anything you’ve seen before, the whole shebang is on On Demand. And fans? This time round, we’re in a winter wonderland – Letterkenny style.
Thank God You’re Here Tenplay Apart from Tom Gleisner’s opening monologues, which have dated somewhat (what on earth was the controversy in Indonesia in early 2006?) age has not wearied this delightful improv series. On the contrary, 15 years down the track we’ve all forgotten most of what transpired (although some scenes, like Angus Sampson as a surgeon, remain embedded in my memory) which makes it all as fresh and funny as the day it was made.
It’s also interesting to look anew at some of the talent here, both in the regular cast and the guests. Sampson was not at all well known when he was recruited for this. You forget how much fun Fifi Box is when she goes wildly off piste. And for many of us, it was our first real look at people like Heidi Arena, Roz Hammond, Ed Kavalee and Nicola Parry, all of whom would go on to individual greatness.
The Living Room (series return) Ten, 7.30pm The “Fab Four” are back, trills the network publicity for this Friday night favourite as Amanda Keller, Chris Brown, Barry du Bois and Miguel Maestre return for the ninth season of their DIY show, spruiked as “revamped, re-energised and relocated”.
No previews were available, but a couple of things are evident on the basis of past performance and current promotions. Not only can this quartet deliver the cheery tone required for such infotainment shows, but they make their camaraderie appear authentic.
A key aspect of the revamp is the addition of a goodwill-mission angle. The fab ones will descend on a different house each week and, in the style of productions such as Backyard Blitz and Ground Force, offer a grateful family a spruced-up residence. They will oversee renovations, redesign the garden and provide recipes for family meals.
The Living Room gang is back.
The Clinton Affair SBS on Demand Directed by Blair Foster and produced by Alex Gibney, this seven-part documentary series opens with Republican anger at having lost the 1992 election to a young Democrat governor from Arkansas. The new President was Bill Clinton, whose easy charm and liberal credentials led to his embrace as a progressive Southern leader promising change.
The series begins by detailing the broad-based support he attracted, notably from working-class and rural voters, and foreshadowing the questions of character that turned him into a target for attack. Names associated with the seven-year, $70 million investigation into the President start to appear: Gennifer Flowers, Paula Ryan, Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky, Kenneth Starr, Whitewater. The final episode begins with the 1998 case for impeachment mounted by Starr.
The current POTUS makes an appearance, fronting a press conference with four women accusing Clinton of inappropriate sexual conduct. It’s a forensic examination and a sad reflection on an affair that captivated the US and the world.
Family Rules (series return) NITV, 7.30pm Through two seasons of this documentary series which celebrates love and unity, we’ve become acquainted with the Rule family, youthful Noongar woman Daniella and her nine vibrant daughters.
The first episode of the third season focuses on “sister number two”, Shenika, and her husband, Trent. They’ve been together for 10 years, have three young boys and are expecting their first daughter. It’s cause for much excitement, the baby shower all pink and white balloons and iced cupcakes.
Shenika and Trent are planning a move away from Perth, south to Bunbury, where Trent has relatives, and he anticipates quality time in the outdoors with his sons. They take an exploratory trip to check out the town, but their eldest son isn’t keen on the proposed relocation.
Students with plans to study abroad are at the crossroads, unable to proceed with the ongoing travel restrictions in place for Covid-19. Many have had to defer or delay their enrolment date. Given that the UAE is home to several international universities, there are a variety of options at their disposal.
“Amid the pandemic, American University in Dubai was already privileged to have more than 101 nationalities and a very international student body,” says Sara Montero, Dean of Student Affairs at AUD. “Students who do not get to go to their desired exchange programme or destination abroad because of any travel limitations in fall 2020 will at least be able to interact with AUD students from all over the world. With a multicultural student body, AUD students will not miss out on any of the advantages of internationalisation, as it is one of the most international campuses in Dubai.”
But if studying abroad has been a long-term dream of yours, there’s no need to give up.
“AUD is hopeful that by the start of the Spring 2021 semester, our students will be able to participate in active international exchange and study-abroad programmes the university offers worldwide,” says Yuchun Schmidt, Study Abroad and Exchange Coordinator at AUD. “With this optimism in mind, it is best that students interested in studying abroad begin to plan and prepare as early as possible. A virtual advising session with the AUD Study Abroad and Exchange Coordinator is the best place to start.”
You can also enrol for programmes that come with study-abroad options. Andy Phillips, Chief Operating Officer at University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), recommends students enrol for its intakes in September. “After a year of studying with UOWD, students can transfer to its campus in Australia, where they will graduate with an accredited Australian degree. This means students do not have to defer or delay their enrolment in pursuing their degrees.”
Dr Khaled Assaleh, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Ajman University (AU), offers the same advice. “Undergraduate AU students can transfer abroad after two years at AU to get an undergraduate degree from both AU and a reputable international university.”
Westford University College, which partners with universities and institutes in the UK and Spain, also gives students the option to study the final year in the UK. “We understand students’ apprehension to go abroad for studies,” says Hanil Haridas, Co-founder and Executive Director of Westford Education Group. “Hence, we bring an international learning experience to the UAE.”
Covid-19 has also affected UAE universities that attract inbound students from overseas. Institutions such as Ajman University are revamping their programmes to meet the needs of the time. “To ensure that students do not miss out on study-abroad advantages, we have transformed our short-term inbound study-abroad programmes to virtual study-abroad programmes where students can attend online study sessions, online networking events, and virtual tours around the UAE,” says Dr Assaleh.
American showman P T Barnum once famously said: “I don’t give a damn what you say about me as long as you spell my name right.”
My name is Tahlea (or Tali) Aualiitia and as someone who — through unsolicited commentary — has always been told how “different” and “difficult” my name is, this quote has always resonated with me.
In fact, the last person I had to correct for the misspelling of my name was someone from my own employer, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
I was invited to join a panel on representation in pop culture by the ABC News Channel earlier this month, and because the name super (the strap with my name at the bottom of the screen) was added during production, I wasn’t aware my name was spelled incorrectly until after the interview had finished and I was informed by my family and friends.
Typos happen and I understand how a slip of the finger on the keyboard turned my surname from Aualiitia into Auakiitia.
But while it was the first time I had done a TV interview, it wasn’t the first time I had seen my name spelled wrong in the media.
Just a month ago, my name was spelled incorrectly by a producer in my own department, the Asia Pacific Newsroom.
It was pretty disappointing especially given it was a Pacific story from my own newsroom.
Now, I want to be clear that in both instances my colleagues reached out and apologised and I hold no ill feelings towards them, but these small errors can have big impacts among communities that often don’t see themselves reflected in the media.
I’m not alone in having my name spelled wrong — my mum’s Italian maiden name, Boccuccia, has been misspelled on her Australian birth certificate.
However this is not just about the spelling of my name; I’ve also been told by a radio presenter I pronounce my own name wrong, and I’ve heard my name laughed at on a Mamamia podcast.
I immediately emailed Mamamia, and the presenter sincerely apologised for offending me.
I’m very proud of my Samoan name, so in early June when I heard Erin Molan on 2GB radio say “hooka looka mooka hooka fooka” in a chat about the pronunciation of Pacific names, I was so angry that I took to Twitter to call her out for her lack of cultural respect.
While Ms Molan did not reply to me, she did release a statement saying her remarks were “clumsy and inappropriate”, and “an attempt to reference a story that’s been told multiple times on air”.
I received many messages in response to my tweets — some thanked me for speaking out, some predictably called me a racist name or a snowflake, and some said that’s what I should expect from Australian commercial media.
So when my employer, the ABC, spelled my name wrong when I appeared on national TV less than a week later, I knew I had to call them out in the same public way I had called out Ms Molan.
Immediately, people started sharing their stories with me of having their own “different” names misspelled, mispronounced or laughed at by the Australian media.
The next morning I sent an email to my manager asking to write this piece.
‘A big target hanging around my neck’
It’s no coincidence I’m speaking up about this during the latest wave of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s hard to explain what racism feels like to someone who has never experienced it.
For me, it feels like walking around with a big target hanging around my neck.
You don’t know where the next attack — verbal, physical or systemic — might come from, and lived experience means you know it has to do with the colour of your skin.
And when you’re on a public platform like national TV or social media, it feels like that target triples in size.
I’ve seen so many guests on TV panel shows like the ABC’s The Drum and Channel 10’s The Project receive racial abuse on social media when they didn’t even talk about race on the show.
Speaking from experience, people of colour (POC) who talk about race in the media usually prepare themselves mentally for racist messages they are likely to receive on their social media accounts after their interview is broadcast or published.
While I’ve personally received some horrible messages, it has never required police intervention, unlike what recently happened to Sudanese-Australian lawyer and human rights advocate Nyadol Nyuon.
When I reached out to Ms Nyuon asking if I could include her experience in this piece, because I didn’t want to expose her to more racist trolling, she warned me to be careful in case this article drew the same negative comments she received.
Media not prepared for threats to POC staff
I work in the ABC’s Asia Pacific Newsroom and a couple of months ago I asked what measures were in place at the ABC to support POC talent after a media interview.
My manager had to seek advice from Kevin Nguyen, a digital forensics reporter at the ABC and the digital director of Media Diversity Australia, who said despite an increasing number of threats to POC talent and journalists — especially women and POC journalists — very few media organisations had a considered and evidence-backed proactive response to potential threats.
This is why getting our names right matters. If we’re not being cared for at a base level, then what hope do we have in tackling the bigger, more complex race issues at hand?
Despite the 2016 census showing that 49 per cent of all Australians were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas, and more than 300 languages (including Indigenous languages) are spoken in Australian homes, research from Deakin University in 2019 found that more than a third of Australian media articles reflected negative views of minority communities.
It’s widely acknowledged that cultural and linguistically diverse communities in Australia are underrepresented in the media and often misrepresented in the news, so the media now need to regain their trust.
There are countless times where the POC talent I’ve met have audibly exhaled in relief when they saw that me, a brown woman, was the one interviewing them.
The ABC’s diversity action plan already seeks to better reflect the diversity of the Australian community — it includes setting goals around the make-up of the ABC workforce, and increasing content that includes more diverse voices (this includes gender, disability and socio-economic diversity too).
And finally, to all the people with “different” names — names that have been laughed at, names people have refused to learn, names people rename for their own ease — correct the people who misspell them.
The correct spelling of our names is not just a media issue, it’s an issue across all organisations.
Perhaps take inspiration from Maori-Australian artist Kira Puru who wrote a clause in her contract stating that her appearance fee doubles if they misspell her name, after two Australian music festivals spelled her name wrong in promotion material in 2018.
We need to speak our names with the same pride we speak of them when we are among our own community.
As actress Uzoamaka Aduba’s mum said: “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky then they can learn to say your name too.”
On Friday the nation celebrated news Australia and New Zealand will host the Women’s World Cup in 2023. Closer to home the latest addition to the Illawarra-based U & Me short-film project, which celebrates the world game, was launched. Young people from refugee backgrounds are behind the short-film project which concentrates on the friendship of two goalkeepers. Sharing a passion for football, goalkeeping and music, prominent Wollongong goalkeepers and coaches John Krajnovic, of Croatian background, and Dave Curley, have been friends since they met on the first day of high school 41 years ago. Read more: You bewdy: the lands down under to host 2023 Women’s World Cup Watch the film Friendship: The Universal Game online on U & Me’s Facebook page. “Because it is so truly international, people from all over the world can express the way they play through that game. People from different countries and different cultures play the game according to their culture,” Dave says about football, which embraces and celebrates diversity. Young people from Syria, Burundi, Eritrea, Congo and Burma made the film during a five-day workshop with Why Documentaries and Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra. Read more: WIN Stadium’s likely role in 2023 women’s World Cup tournament MCCI community manager Allyson Pazos said the release of the film was timely as “we are all looking forward to return to full-contact community sport in NSW”. The U & Me series shares positive stories about friendship between people from different backgrounds to highlight the rich cultural diversity in Australia. The series was a finalist at the Australian Human Rights Commission Awards 2017. “Our stories show us what we have and what we can be. The stories are about positive modeling. If we see it, we have some sort of bench mark, if all we see is division, we start to feel and enact that,” Why Documentaries’ producer/director Sandra Pires said. We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.
On Friday the nation celebrated news Australia and New Zealand will host the Women’s World Cup in 2023.
Closer to home the latest addition to the Illawarra-based U & Me short-film project, which celebrates the world game, was launched.
Young people from refugee backgrounds are behind the short-film project which concentrates on the friendship of two goalkeepers.
Sharing a passion for football, goalkeeping and music, prominent Wollongong goalkeepers and coaches John Krajnovic, of Croatian background, and Dave Curley, have been friends since they met on the first day of high school 41 years ago.
Watch the film Friendship: The Universal Game online on U & Me’s Facebook page.
“Because it is so truly international, people from all over the world can express the way they play through that game. People from different countries and different cultures play the game according to their culture,” Dave says about football, which embraces and celebrates diversity.
Young people from Syria, Burundi, Eritrea, Congo and Burma made the film during a five-day workshop with Why Documentaries and Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra.
MCCI community manager Allyson Pazos said the release of the film was timely as “we are all looking forward to return to full-contact community sport in NSW”.
The U & Me series shares positive stories about friendship between people from different backgrounds to highlight the rich cultural diversity in Australia. The series was a finalist at the Australian Human Rights Commission Awards 2017.
“Our stories show us what we have and what we can be. The stories are about positive modeling. If we see it, we have some sort of bench mark, if all we see is division, we start to feel and enact that,” Why Documentaries’ producer/director Sandra Pires said.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, pleasesubscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.
Good morning, early birds. Victoria has launched a COVID-19 testing blitz across 10 priority suburbs, and ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has reportedly accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of lying about the national broadcaster’s efforts to collaborate with SBS. It’s the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.
(Image: AAP/Daniel Pockett)
SEND IN THE VAN-GUARD
In a bid to control community transmission and trace unknown cases, Victoria has launched a free testing blitz for everyone, symptomatic or asymptomatic, across 10 priority suburbs — Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham — complete with a fleet of mobile vans, more than 1000 door-knockers, and new testing clinics opening in Casey Fields, Melbourne Showgrounds and Broadmeadows Central amongst other new sites.
While Dan Andrews announced ADF personnel will be assisting with logistics and tests, The Age reports that the request has been scaled down from more than 1000 members to about 250.
The blitz comes as NSW Health advises a two week quarantine for travellers from Melbourne’s hotspots, and, on the tracing front, news.com.au reports that, two months after launch, COVIDSafe is yet to identify any unknown cases.
RACISM WATCH: Although clusters have emerged everywhere from cruises to schools to factories — thousands in England literally just swarmed beaches in a declared “major incident” — Andrew Bolt has unsurprisingly jumped at an outbreak in Melbourne’s multicultural suburbs for an ad-hoc, “diversity is bad” op-ed Herald Sun has somehow deemed fit to publish.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of lying about the national broadcaster’s efforts to collaborate with SBS and slammed the Morrison government’s handling of the $84 million budget cut.
While largely invisible in the public discussion of the ABC’s 250 job losses, Buttrose has reportedly accused Fletcher of twice failing to provide the ABC board and management with data supporting a savings report that proposed closing two broadcast channels and sharing back-office and support services with the SBS.
PS: According to The AFR ($), the Morrison government will respond to this week’s other massive job blitz with an airline assistance scheme consisting of either a JobKeeper extension or tailor-made package.
TURNS OUT THE APOCALYPSE IS EXPENSIVE
According to The Guardian, the Research Bank has joined with more than 60 other central banks in world-first climate risk assessment that warns global GDP could fall by 25% by 2100 if countries don’t significantly ramp up decarbonisation efforts.
ROOM FOR HOPE: While it may have been another depressing week in Australian renewable news, Guardian UK reports that Britain hit almost 50% renewables for the first three months of 2020.
YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US
As America hits a “second surge” across states, Reuters reports that the governors of north-east governments New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced quarantine rules for eight high-risk states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
REVERSE-ROBODEBT: According to The Guardian, the Trump administration has sent almost $1.4 billion in coronavirus support payments to dead people due to a synchronisation failure between the IRS and US treasury, while also not using death records as a filter.
BEND IT LIKE TRANS-TASMAN
Finally, in maybe the first good news this year, the ABC reports that Australia and New Zealand have won an historic joint effort to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The trans-Tasman bid beat out final rival Colombia by 22 votes to 13 at a FIFA council meeting in Zurich overnight.
STATE VIRUS WATCH: QLD LAUNCHES CLINICAL STOCK RESERVE
The Queensland government announced plans for a Clinical Stock Reserve, to be led by Queensland Health working with departments such as Treasury, the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Housing and Public Works, Regional Development and Manufacturing, and others
The South Australian government announced that, under the global #GoingGreenForParkies campaign celebrating open spaces and parks staff during the pandemic, buildings across Adelaide will be lit up in green until June 30, including Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide Town Hall and the Bicentennial Conservatory at Adelaide Botanic Garden.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
There are no cuts … The ABC’s funding is increasing every year. The ABC would be the only media company or organisation in Australia today whose revenue, their funding, is increasing.
In what must be a big relief for 250 redundant staff, the prime minister explains that — unlike the $254 million slashed in 2014 — the ABC’s $84 million indexation freeze is not a budget cut: it’s just money they won’t get anymore.
“As the profound flaws and poor track record of facial recognition become apparent, Australian lawmakers, especially at the state level, look set to be left behind in an international move to block a technology that is already wrecking lives.
“Overnight, Boston banned the technology, following Oakland and San Francisco which banned it last year. Boston’s ban had the support of the Boston police, who declared the technology unreliable. States such as California, New Hampshire, and Oregon have more limited bans and a number of other states have restrictions on its use.”
“Deloitte is only days away from deciding who gets to buy Australia’s second biggest airline, Virgin. But the independence of the accounting firm as administrators of one of the biggest corporate insolvencies in Australian history is in question.
“Crikey understands that Deloitte is the official auditor of a fund held by one of the two remaining bidders, Cyrus Capital Partners, meaning a sale to the company could potentially benefit Deloitte.”
“Strolling in my mind through Rome’s Tivoli Gardens, musing on Chapman’s Homer I… oh look, this article is just a direct communique to Jacqui Lambie (and to the strange DLP-Trendies mix — the Centre Alliance — a bit) but the rest of you can read it if you want.
“Jacqui, here’s why you should vote against Education Minister Dan Tehan’s higher-ed funding proposals, and not even do that peekaboo horse-trading, get a new playground for Ulverstone in exchange for abolishing the Health Department stuff.”
Partisanship was never the problem. Labor needs to learn to lead — Ketan Joshi(RenewEconomy): “A few years ago, I came across an old video of a young Anthony Albanese standing his ground on his home turf, in the Inner West, in Sydney. A relatively big crowd of seething, infuriated climate deniers had gathered outside of his electorate office. They were protesting the time Albanese had referred to the anti-carbon-price protest, named the ‘convoy of confidence’, as the ‘convoy of no consequence’.”
Jim Chalmers may be a man with perhaps a better economic plan ($) — Graham Richardson(The Australian): “There can be no argument Scott Morrison is a good manager. Luck has been on his side too — other than the pandemic and its damage to us all. Assuming that no fiasco is on the way, there’s no doubt Labor has an Everest to climb. Australians must be given a convincing reason to vote against the Morrison government. So far that reason has not seen the light of day.”
The ABC and the dance of a thousand cuts — Alan Sunderland(Meanjin): “So here we are again. Shuffling around in the same old dance, performing the steps we all know so well. The Government cuts the ABC’s funding yet again, blandly asserting that times are tough and we all need to live within our means. The public, who love and trust the ABC more than any other media outlet because they see it as their own, express their anger, sadness and fear.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
University and high school students will protest Education Minister Dan Tehan’s decision to double the cost of arts degrees.
Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders will speak at another national cabinet meeting, to include next phase restrictions and reopening arts venues.
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ATHENS PHOTO FESTIVAL ENTRIES Entries still open for photographers to submit their work for the Athens Photo Festival 2020. The festival features work of emerging and established artists the world over. The festival aims to reflect the diversity of photography and visual culture today. The chosen works will be exhibited at the Benaki Museum in Athens from 16 September to 15 November Closing date for entries: 30 June For more information: www.photofestival.gr
SUMMER NOSTOS FESTIVAL 2020 This year’s online edition of the annual Summer Nostos Festival features electronic music and dance performances at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Cultural Centre park in the south of Athens. Also available free online are the discussions from SNF Dialogues sessions. Where: SNF Cultural Centre’s Park Online: www.snfestival.org/en/snf-conference-2020/ When: Running until 28 June
PENNY MARATHON 2020 The Ninth Penny Marathon an animal welfare fundraiser will be one with a difference. Thanks to COVID-19, participants are invited to send videos and photos of their fitness activities to the organizers. Registration to this year’s event is a symbolic commitment. When: Sunday, 12 July. Online platforms: post photos and videos to #pennymarathon2020 or email/Drop Box footage to: email@example.com Info: Go to the Penny Marathon Facebook page
TRADE WITH AFRICA WEBINAR The Hellenic-African Chamber of Commerce and Development are hosting a Doing Business with Africa webinar for Greek businesses exporting to African countries following the COVID-19 pandemic. Will include MrExportToAfrica and Greek embassy officials in North Africa. When: 2pm (Greece time), 14 July. Platform: Zoom Information:Webinar link
VIRTUAL OPEN LECTURE Professor Louise Hitchcock will be presenting a talk under the 2020 Greek History and Culture Seminars on the theme NaueII Swords, Germs and Iron: What the COVID-19 Pandemic can tell us abou the Bronze Age (12th Century BCE) Collpase in Greece. Online: Greek Community of Melbourne’s links on YouTube Live Stream or on Facebook Live Stream. To actively participate and ask questions you can pre-register through the Zoom Webinar link Contact: Call 03 9662 2722 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org When: Thursday, 25 June. 7pm
MELBOURNE REBETIKO ENSEMBLE DIGITAL CONCERT 2 This is the second instalment of the Isolated Digital Concerts. The stream is produced in collaboration The Boite, Harmonic Whale with support from the Clifton Hill/North Fitzroy Community Bank Branch When: Friday, 26 June, 7pm to 8.30pm Where: Online event streamed via Rebetika in Melbourne Facebook Page Tickets: $20 via contribution link: www.stickytickets.com.au/FC8A7 Information: Con Kalamaras 0419 194 030
ASCA AMBASSADOR Meet the Australian Sickle Cell Advocacy’s official ambassador Federal MP Maria Vamvakinou and listen to SCD talks with Agnes When: Saturday, 27 June; 3 to 4pm. Where: via Zoom
WEDNESDAY REBETIKO NIGHTS IN JULY Rebetika in Melbourne present Wednesday Rebetiko Nights starting 1 July. Where: Triakosia, 300 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill When: 7pm every Wednesday, starting 1 July to 26 August Contact: 94824931 or Wednesday Rebetiko Nights on Facebook
GREEK CYPRIOT YOUTH OF MELBOURNE Membership applications for GCYM are now live. The organisation promotes shared Cypriot and Greek culture and creates a platform for youth to socialize with the community Contact: https://tinyurl.com/joincypriotyouth or email: cy.apostolosandreas@gmail
PAINT AND SIP CLASS: THE GREEK HOUSE The Ladder Art Space offers a different night out. Painting workshop all painting materials provided with tuition by professional artist. Take home your finished artwork on 30×40 stretched canvas. Bring your own nibbles and drinks. Social distancing requirement apply: 12 persons per studio When: 16 July. 6.45pm to 8.45pm Where: Ladder Art Space, 81 Denmark Street, Kew Tickets: $55 via Eventbrite Contact: email@example.com
LIVE ONLINE CULTURAL WORKSHOPS Join series free online workshops that celebrate the diverse arts and crafts of Victoria’s multicultural communities hosted by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. The workshops are also suitable for older primary school and secondary school learners. When: June and July Contact: Telephone (03) 7005 1267; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to get a programme and register for each event or try this Link to the VMC.
LIVE COMEDY PRODUCTION The Greek Stage Theatre presents four performances of the comedy Ζωή Μετά Χαμηλών Πτήσεων (Living Flying Low) by the anonymous Greek playwright Arkas, every Saturday in July. Where: Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales premises, 206-210 Lakemba Street, Lakemba When: 6pm every Saturday in July (4,11,18 and 25) Contact: 0450 724 600 Tickets: $35 including meal. Social distancing rules apply.
GREEK LESSONS Greek lessons for adults via Zoom or small classes organised at Greek Bilingual Workshop. When: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beginners to advanced intermediate. Reading groups, conversation and vocabulary. Skype lessons available Cost: Group lessons from $25; $65 at the bookshop, $75 from home When: Lessons held Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays Where: Online or 837 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, Sydney Contact: email@example.com or call 0400 436 079
GREEK FESTIVAL (ST PANTELEIMON) The Kalymnian Brotherhood Darwin and the Greek Orthodox Community North Australia (GOCNA) and the Cyprus Community are holding a Festival to celebrate the Feast of St Panteleimon. Food, drink and dance, children’s activities Where: Kalymnian Brotherhood, 64 Batten Road,Marrara, Darwin When: Saturday, 25 July. Starting at 10am until late
CS Interview: Sam Hargrave Talks the Insane Action of Extraction
If you’re looking for a film to watch this weekend then make sure to check out the Chris Hemsworth thriller Extraction, which debuts April 24 on Netflix. The film promises insane stunts, crazy action, and an intense performance from its star. We were lucky to talk to the film’s director, former stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, making his directorial debut, who provided a deeper look into the wild production, including a crazy, lengthy one-shot action sequence that takes place in the middle of the film.
Extraction (formerly titled as Dhaka) takes place in an underworld of weapons dealers and traffickers and follows a young boy who becomes the pawn in a war between notorious drug lords. After being trapped by kidnappers inside one of the world’s most impenetrable cities, his rescue beckons the unparalleled skill of a mercenary named Tyler Rake. But Rake is a broken man with nothing to lose, harboring a death wish that makes an already deadly mission near impossible.
The cast includes Chris Hemsworth (Thor: Ragnarok), David Harbour (Stranger Things, Black Widow), Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why), Fay Masterson (Vice), Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson) and newcomer Rudhraksh Jaiswal. The film, written by Joe Russo, is produced by Netflix. Extraction is produced by Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo through their AGBO banner along with Hemsworth, Mike Larocca, and Eric Gitter.
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ComingSoon.net: First of all, I just want to say congratulations on the film Extraction. I watched it last week with my wife. She had to cover her eyes quite a bit, but I enjoyed it. That was a kickass action movie.
Sam Hargrave: Oh, thanks!
CS: It played out like a stunt man’s dream come true, mainly that big action set piece in the middle of the film. How did you put that sequence together, because that was phenomenal?
Hargrave: Thank you, first of all. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m glad it was entertaining. Well, that took some thinking. It wasn’t written that way. Joe Russo wrote a great script that had a big action set piece written in the middle, but it was all cut up from different perspectives from Rake and from Saju’s perspective, from the police perspective. But then, when I was reading the script, I was reading huge, like a Borne chase or a Bond chase. And then, when we were getting into the nitty-gritty of time and money and I would continue reading that sequence, I was like, oh, this is going to be really difficult to pull off and do it justice to how it was written, because it was written big. And so I was like, how do we do this? Because when I read it, it read like, 10 days in main unit and three weeks of second unit. Like, and then we just didn’t have that in the cards.
So I was like, without doing it kind of half-heartedly and getting a sequence that you tried, a pat on the back, and we make it unique so that people kinda enjoy it. So we kinda went the opposite of like, let’s just make it a little more intimate, a little, I mean, I wouldn’t say less grand, but just a different perspective so that people can get into this moment with Tyler and Ovi and actually experience an extraction in real-time because it’s kind of the promise of the premise, the title of the movie, and you want to feel that and get to go along that journey with them. And so, as I started thinking of it, it started to come together. And it took some convincing. People weren’t off the top because it was more than easy. But once we decided to do it, the crew was all in and the logistics were insane, doing something like that in Aminabad, India, the amount of security to shut down streets.
You know, we had upwards of 200 to 300 people shutting down streets for us on certain days. We spanned over — it was the first 10 days of shooting, actually, because we jumped right in. There was no warmups. We just jumped right into the biggest, hardest sequence of the entire movie. But it was well-rehearsed and planned out and Hemsworth had been there rehearsing the action, so he was spot on with his performance and he would, after filming for one day of shooting, he’d go to the rehearsal space that night with the stunt team and rehearse the next day’s action. That guy was a machine.
CS: You filmed that scene in 10 days?
Hargrave: We did. It was 10 consecutive days and we’d probably knock off maybe, I don’t know, between three and six stitches, as we call it on the day because we wanted to do as much in a single take as we could. But there were just certain logistics of locations and wardrobe changes or wound applications or even vehicle technical changes, where he had to go from a rear-drive vehicle, where the stunt man’s in the back of the car to a pod car, so where he’s on top of the car. So certain things just made it impossible to do all as one. But we broke it up into manageable stitches, where we would digitally blend and in-camera kind of blend pieces together. And you know, we broke it out so it took place over 10 days, consecutive days, yeah.
CS: That’s insane. Hats off to you, because that was very, very, very impressive.
Hargrave: Thank you. Thank you very much.
CS: The action scene is phenomenal. So what was the most challenging aspect, would you say of that sequence? Because as you were saying, you guys were using handheld. You’re falling off of roofs. You’re jumping into cars. You’re jumping out of cars, into trucks, all that kind of stuff.
Hargrave: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s interesting because all the aspects were challenging. Every department was challenged, from special effects, picture vehicles, locations, hair, makeup, wardrobe, stunts. Everyone was challenged to the max, but they all met that challenge with a really awesome outlook and positive attitude. But so, any one particular thing, I don’t know. I think it’s just the overall logistics of pulling that together, and then the kind of being very, in a way, lucky, like of 10 days of kind of consistent weather, consistent everything kind of working.
We had a few bumps on the road, but that’s part of what the beauty of preparation is, is we had so well-rehearsed that everybody — I mean, we did probably seven or eight different tech scouts with the entire crew, just over and over again so the people knew where they needed to be, what was happening. And so, when it happened it was almost like we’d done this, but we’ve done this before. And we did. The stunt team, pretty much all of the action was shot previously by me with the stunt team and the doubles, just to make sure it all worked. Like we were kind of testing and proving because it’s tough to show up on the day and you’re like, you know what guys? This doesn’t work. So we tested it all ahead of time.
And then, well, I guess two things I’d say the most difficult that we’d overcome, like I said before, the location, like the logistics of keeping everybody safe, because that was my number one priority coming from an action background. And there’s so many people, so many children running around and cows and dogs. The environment is amazing and rich and colorful, but there’s just a lot of living beings moving around that have to be kind of accounted for and made safe while you’re doing these car chases through the streets. So that was just a lot of manpower and time to make sure that happened. And then, truthfully, and it doesn’t sound like you know this, but we did the entire sequence with rubber guns.
CS: Did you really?
CS: See, now I’ve got to watch it again.
Hargrave: Yes, because we couldn’t — the lesson for that is it’s great for the country, but we couldn’t import weapons to India. And so, it was kind of a cost/benefit analysis. And the location gave us so much visually like it was so important to be there and to see that space and to move through it that we’re like, well, either we go somewhere else where we can have the guns, or we just make do with the rubber ones. And you know, the props department has amazing guns. I think the most amazing part is the performers adapting — because it’s not easy to make shooting rubber guns look real.
Hargrave: You know, I don’t know how much interaction you’ve had with guns, but there’s a certain feel and a certain interaction you have with a gun when it’s actually firing. So when it’s not and you have to act that out, it’s very difficult. So everyone did an amazing job and I’m very proud of the sequence and how, you know, it all came together.
CS: Yeah, it looked great. I didn’t notice any of that stuff at all.
CS: Chris Hemsworth was a beast. He’s out there doing it. It seems like through most of those action scenes it was him on camera. How much of his own stunt work was he able to do? And then, at what point did you have to maybe pull him aside and say, okay, let the stunt team take over?
Hargrave: Yeah, well, Chris is amazing in many ways. Physically, he’s more capable than most actors I’ve worked with in my time, and his commitment to collaboration and putting in the work is unparalleled. But then, he also, he’s a smart guy. He knows filmmaking, so he would do anything that we thought was safe and that we needed his face for and that he wanted to do, but he also — it was never one of those where he’s like, oh come on, man. Let me try that dangerous thing. He and his stunt double, Bobby Holland Hunton, they’re a very great relationship, so he goes, “Yeah, Bobby, you’re up.” And with a smile, he would let Bobby make his character look good, you know? He understands what he needed to do, but also, what Bobby will do more safely or better. You know, Chris can’t risk twisting an ankle or bashing up his face because then the movie shuts down. He’s very aware of that, so he’s awesome to work with from a stunt perspective. But it was, I would say 95, almost 98 percent of that entire sequence was Chris Hemsworth.
Hargrave: You know, for example, we didn’t hit our star with a car. We put Bobby into that. But in the vehicles, like those cars are flying, sliding around and everything, that was Hemsworth who was in there. That wasn’t a digital face replacement, it wasn’t doubles. That was Chris.
CS: And how much easier does that make your job? Because now you can put the camera anywhere you want, right?
Hargrave: Oh yeah, it’s night and day. Like if we didn’t have somebody like Chris — truthfully, part of my thought process having seen some of his rehearsals and worked with him in the past on the Avengers movies is knowing his abilities. I was like, hey, he, of a very short list of actors could pull off a sequence like this. And I wouldn’t probably have tried such a thing if I didn’t know his capabilities. So it allowed me to put the camera where I think where audiences want to see it. You want to be back a little bit, kind of what Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have done with the “John Wick” movies, right, is like see the actors doing these impressive martial arts feats. And so, we were able to do that with Hemsworth. We follow him through some stuff where, you know, most of the time you’d have to cut or go over the shoulder of a double, we just hung right in there with Chris and he did it.
CS: That’s awesome. Okay, so you worked as a stunt coordinator for most of your career. What made you decide to jump into the director’s chair for this movie? Was it the movie itself? Was it just the concept or was it just a longing of something that you’ve wanted to do for a while?
Hargrave: That’s a combination of both things. I’ve wanted to direct for a long time. I started out making short films with my brother and sister when I was like, 10 years old, like little Westerns in the backyard. And I went to, got into martial arts, martial arts movies, started making videos with my friends, went to film school. And so, writing and directing and making films, telling stories was always something that I was going to do. It was like, oh, I’d love to do this someday. It’s like, I’m going to do it. It’s just right now, I’m really enjoying the action side of things and meeting people and learning my craft. And it’s just kind of biding my time while looking for the right story and letting people know that this is something I want to do. Because sometimes, in Hollywood, you get pigeonholed and it’s hard to break out of that category people put you, in you know?
So but that’s my desire came from wanting to direct and to tell stories. But then on the other side, the opportunity side is the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, without them, obviously it wouldn’t have happened. Joe wrote a great script and I actually read it probably six or seven years ago, when it was called “Ciudad”. And I think Chad Stahelski was attached to direct it at one point or was circling it, and it was a very, very different thing. And I read it and loved the story then. And then, it went away. I did a lot of stuff with the Russos and kind of got close with them. They gave me a lot more responsibility around like, you can direct on the biggest movie of all time, Endgame. And during those processes, it was actually Infinity War where the conversations started in earnest.
On Civil War, I had mentioned I believe that I wanted to direct, and their reaction was very much a Russo reaction. It was kind of nods and keep it close to the chest. But once we got to Infinity War and I was doing more second unit and they’d seen some of the footage coming in and we had a lot more discussions because we were very in-depth about the story and character and whatnot, Joe posed the question, he said, “I’ve got a script that I think you would be perfect for to direct. Do you want to give it a read?” I said, “I would love to. Thank you very much.” And when I read it, it was called “DACA” and I was like, wait this seems so familiar. And then it all kind of came together. It was previously “Ciudad” and then it was “DACA” and then we changed it to Extraction. But once I read it and I had a few comments, a few little tweaks and changes that I wanted to implement and I gave him my notes. And again, Joe is such a collaborative and open filmmaker, he’s always the best idea wins. So we discussed it and made a few changes that I wanted to implement.
He was open to them and we did, and then I was like, “I’d love to do this picture.” And he’s like, “Yep, you’re the guy.” So once we started looking for an actor, it’s actually interesting how Hemsworth came about because we were looking for a very different archetype originally. We were trying to go for something a little less, I don’t want to say less obvious than the god of thunder, but a little more every day, a little more mundane so that when the action would break out, you’d be like, oh. It’d be a little more surprising. But then, so we had our minds set in one direction. But then, when Hemsworth — I don’t know if Joe posed it to him or he heard us talking or something. When he got involved or showed interest, we both kind of looked at each other and were like, hmm, that’s kind of a no-brainer. He can handle the action. He’s got star power. He’s a great guy to work with and he actually fits the written character.
We were trying to kinda change what was on the page, but the written character’s a big guy who can take a lot of punishment, and we’re like, hmmm, kind of checks all the boxes. So and then, once he said yes and I was directing and Joe would be writing and producing, when Netflix jumped on board, they were like, yeah, we’ll do a Chris Hemsworth action movie. We did it.
CS: I just wanted to ask you, as a director, what were some of the things that you learned about your style on this film that you would probably implement moving forward, as a director?
Hargrave: Oh interesting. Good question. Well, it’s funny. Going in, my focus was, I was drawn to the script and I’m drawn to stories — wait, I think most people are — but like, a primal need for the characters or a primal relatability. And redemption, making up for mistakes in the past I think is one of those, and helping people in need. But so, drawn to that. So my focus was very much on the character relationships and the emotion and whatnot, because I felt like, oh, I’d done a lot of action and that was going to not — I’m not saying something I had to worry about, but it would kind of come a little more naturally. And then, Chris Hemsworth said something to me that stuck was, he’s like hey, I’ve done a couple of these with first-timers and just don’t forget why you got the opportunity. Which I’m not saying don’t focus on story and characters, but don’t forget your bread and butter. Don’t forget where you came from, which is action. So don’t spend so much time trying to focus on the thing that you want to impress other people with, that you forget why people enjoy you and your work.
And so, that was something that stuck with me. And so, I was like, you’re right. So I made sure to pay — not fluff off the action or not give it the attention it deserved. And I think that shows. But I think discovering a style that a lot of these things I feel like sometimes smaller is more efficient. And I learned that or kinda was reiterated when you’d be on main unit and it’s just the nature of the business, where when you have the stars, just the size of things grows. And then, sometimes you go like, oh, it’d be nice to have all of these things. And it’s just like, oh, we need this. You think bigger is better. And you get 10, 15 setups in the day. Then I go over to second unit, and you’d knock off 40 to 50 setups a day. And I’d go, hmm, hold on a second. And Chris would be with us and we’d just be moving quickly and having fun. And the only difference was kind of the amount of stuff that was there because it just adds up. To do a turnaround, when you have lots of stuff, like gear and lots of people it just takes longer because you’ve got to move all that stuff.
And so, it’s interesting. I kind of like or as a style, as a working style I guess, I kind of lean in smaller and lean in efficient. And that was just kind of something that really was solidified for me on that. Every style has its place. There’s a time and a place if you’ve got to have all the gear and all the things for certain setups and shots. But in general, I kind of prefer the lean, mean, down and dirty style of filmmaking.
CS: Well, my final question, because I know you’re a busy guy and I don’t want to take up too much of your time, and you’ve been very generous, by the way, and I really appreciate it.
Hargrave: Well, hey, I appreciate it. You’re easy to talk to. Thanks, I appreciate it.
CS: How much more freedom does a company like Netflix afford? Because there’s a lot of elements in this film, like with the kids being hurt and thrown off roofs at one point that you don’t typically see in a big-budget film these days.
Hargrave: Yeah, well, I think the beauty of Netflix is they’re making the movies that studios don’t make anymore, which is the midrange, mid to upper range budget action movies because in the theatrical world at least these days, or when we were making that movie, for that price point, that movie doesn’t get made. It’s too big of a risk, which is a shame because a lot of my favorite movies, if they were being made today, would not have been theatrical releases. But I think that’s the beautiful thing. I’m glad Netflix is there so that those kinds of films have that space to be seen because it’s either, it seems like it’s either a $200 million Blockbuster superhero movie in the theaters or the small $5 to $10 million indie that if it lands big, is going to be a big profit. So those middle-range movies are having a harder time, and Netflix kind of gives you that outlet.
And then, I’d never had to deal with other studios from a directing standpoint, so this is my first one. But from what I’ve heard, and other people I’ve talked to and worked with, my experience with Netflix is they were extremely supportive and very hands-off in the filmmaking process. They weren’t down there telling you what to shoot, telling you how to do it, or nagging at all. But they were a phone call away if you needed support. So it really, for me, was a very nurturing, kind of helpful environment because I was free to make the movie that I wanted to make with Joe Russo providing oversight and helping shepherd me through a lot of it. But the Netflix side of it, it wasn’t kind of the horror stories you hear about studio execs and the studio representatives just being right behind you and the monitor being like, hey, do this, do that, you’ve got to do this. It was not that way at all. They were nothing but supportive, which I think allowed me to try things that like you said, you wouldn’t normally get to put in a movie like this because somebody would just squash it.
CS: Right, right. And like you said, it is cool that we are getting almost a resurgence of that edgier style of film. And what’s next on your docket? As a director, any plans to do any Marvel films in the future, anything like that?
Hargrave: I’m open. The future is, for me, wide open and I’m open to, I’d be happy to discuss doing bigger budget movies with Marvel if that’s something that fits for them and for me. It’s all got to be the right creative decisions for both sides and kind of right personal decision and business decision because it’s show business. And so, you want to make sure that they’re getting what they need and I’m kind of getting what I want. I would love to expand and try a different genre, try something different. But there’s nothing on the horizon at the moment. I’m just kind of hunkered down here at the moment with the state of the world and doing a lot of writing and just making sure that all of the steps that need to be taken to get the world Extraction so they can all enjoy it, that’s my focus at the moment. And then, I’ll talk with the team and try to narrow down what the next step’s going to be. But it’s very exciting. I’m really looking forward to, if people watch the movie and if they like it and if I get another chance to direct it, I can implement a lot of the lessons I learned while making Extraction and hopefully improve as a director on the next one.
[WARNING: SPOILERS — Hargrave discusses the end of the film]
CS: So I have to ask then, and I’ll issue a spoiler warning before, if we post this question, you leave the audience with a very ambiguous ending obviously as to whether or not he’s alive or dead. In your mind, is Tyler Rake an action character you’d like to see more of in sequels? Have you guys considered that at all or do you consider his story complete?
Hargrave: You know, that’s a very interesting question and one that we’ve gone back and forth with a lot. And you know, I’ll just be truthful. Meg, you can stop me if I put my foot in my mouth. Or you can use your — but the original story that I wanted to tell, that we all wanted to tell, but I’ll just do it from my perspective. The original story I wanted to tell was one story and that was it, Tyler Rake sacrificed himself to save the kids and that was it. We were done. It was a redemption story in my eyes, and his journey was complete by the end, that he had found purpose and found peace with his past and that was his story. But then, as much fun as everyone was having shooting this movie and as great a job as Hemsworth did with the character, the potential of this character coming back and seeing more of his stories became very enticing to everyone. And it was truthfully, it was a very strong back and forth. There was a strong camp that was like, no, he should make it. And another camp was like, no, he has to make it.
And then so, which kind of leaves us with the ending that you have, is like, because we didn’t want people to feel that it was just a sequel for the sake of a sequel, which oftentimes happens in Hollywood. But we also didn’t want to have these people completely crush that he was never coming back. And we did a lot of testing and a lot of asking questions. And it seems like the ambiguity, the beauty of that is it allows people to come to their own conclusions and feel their own feelings at the end of the story. And if you like Tyler Rake and you want to see him come back, then you will see that image as him alive. And if you feel like he completed his journey and his redemption is fulfilled, you will be like, nah, that’s a mirage. So it was a deliberate choice, once we got in there, to leave it in that fashion.
CS: Personally, I want more Tyler. Just putting that out there.
Hargrave: Yeah, so then he’s alive. [laughs]
CS: Well, congratulations on the success of the film. It’s a nice throwback to those old 80’s actioners of old. And it’s the kind of film that like you said, we just don’t see anymore, so thanks for making it and I had a lot of fun with it.
Hargrave: Well, thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it. I’m glad you enjoyed the film.
24 Hours in Emergency SBS, 8.30pm While the hospital observational documentary genre has been running for many years – this episode is from the 15th season of 24 Hours in Emergency – 2020’s coronavirus crisis has only served to emphasise the valuable work of Britain’s National Health Service. It adds a level of resonance to the everyday activities of the Accident and Emergency department at the St George’s hospital in South London.
Beginning with a 14-year-old boy with a serious leg injury received after jumping off a swing, the capably shaped narrative mixes on-the-spot decisions and treatment with a framing commentary that takes in frontline staff, specialists, and family members. You get a sense of how minutes and hours in a hospital are actually turning points across lives, whether young or old.
The production’s technical skills allows for an unobtrusive but immersive presence – the sound mix has the hum of machinery, cries of pain, and worried conversations among family members. For all the struggles the NHS faces, it does invaluable work. “It makes you realise the common threads of humanity outweigh any differences,” one doctor says.
Music from the Homefront Nine*, 9.10pm Originally broadcast late in April, when social isolation had Australia clinging to its couches and the music industry was reeling from the loss of essential live gigs, Music from the Homefront was an Australian Live Aid for the lockdown era.
Organised by music impresario Michael Gudinski and Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes – with his son, David Campbell, hitting the right notes as a co-host – it took audiences into the homes of Australia’s leading artists, for a series of stripped-down and often sombre performances. This encore screening marks the release of the night via Gudinski’s Mushroom Group as an album, with all proceeds going to the invaluable music charity Support Act.
Mark Seymour and James Reyne during their performance in April’s Music From The Home Front.Credit:AAP
You can take your pick of highlights (and home décor), from Mark Seymour and James Reyne doing Throw Your Arms Around Me and Reckless in a garage to G Flip’s invigorating About You. It’s already a moment in time that’s passed, but the music endures, as does the notion that we really need an ongoing showcase of live Australian music on our television screens.
Where Are You Really From? SBS, 9.30pm To open the third season of this lively social history series, host Michael Hing literally emerges from the sea and strides ashore, only to transform into his hosting persona. It’s a madcap anti-Clark Kent sequence – and not the only stylistic flourish in this episode – but it’s indicative of a show that uses a light touch to examine the sometimes seismic change in Australia’s multicultural identity.
Here Hing is visiting Inala in the south west suburbs of Brisbane, which is home to a thriving Vietnamese community that’s taken shape over the past 40 or so years. With a local guide offering tips and introductions, he interviews those who fled Vietnam after the end of the war in 1975 led to a humanitarian crisis, as well as the second and third generation descendants of those refugees who’ve grown up here.
Hing, who is 5th generation Chinese-Australian himself, teases out joyous anecdotes and proud beliefs. It’s a cheerfully optimistic reminder that each wave of migration to this country brings a welcome shot of industriousness, excellent culinary options (as the show itself emphasises), and an enduring measure of gratitude. Those who come here from other countries, especially as refugees, tend to actually see us in the best light. As one Inala local tells Hing: “You can’t really go wrong in Australia.”
Desert Collectors 7Mate, 9.30pm Kalgoorlie memorabilia store owner and trader Nigel Quick swaps the dusty roads of Western Australia’s backblocks for the slightly less dusty roads of rural Victoria in this episode of his reality show. Every time a shed door opens in this series there’s a new surprise, and that’s certainly the case here as the host meets a motoring enthusiast who has built a replica of the V8 police interceptor from George Miller’s classic automotive action film Mad Max.
“Have a look at this,” marvels Quick, who brings a genuine level of bloke-next-door wonder to his travels, and it works to get the various collectors he visits to open up. There’s some minutiae revealed to what are specialised areas such as vintage garage display cases and engine oil packaging, as well as considerable pride. American versions of this genre place a premium on the monetary side – value, bidding, cutting deals. Quick’s Australian variant is thankfully more collegial and less overtly produced.
America’s Got Talent Seven, 7.30pm The cracks in Seven’s programming roster mean that the American edition of this reality format staple is back in Australian prime-time. Endurance, if anything, has given this modern-day talent show a triumphal tone – just making it on-stage can change lives we’re told, and intercut preparation scenes suggest an audience looms with a minor deity as opposed to some celebrity judges. The panel itself features Simon Cowell – his acidic commentary parked to one side – with Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Terry Crews serves as the jocular host. There’s a back story for every highlighted hopeful, as well as some hype work for new judges Vergara and Klum.
Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent.Credit:Trae Patton/NBC
ABBA: Secrets of Their Greatest Hits 9Now There’s a decent mix of analysis, appreciation, and archival material to this music documentary, which looks into three classic songs from ABBA’s iconic songbook: Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, and The Winner Takes It All. Outside voices guide the narrative, with biographers and now ageing session musicians chipping in, as the circumstances of early 1970s Sweden and pop music’s changing landscape shaped the quartet’s savvy songwriting and interlocked relationships. It’s all a reminder that a classic pop song is a masterful act of distillation.
America In Colour SBS, 7.30pm As Paul Simon sang, everything looks worse in black and white. The obvious corollary of which is that, clearly, everything looks better in colour and so it is with this series, which presents momentous events from the history of America in the early 20th century in vivid colour rather than the monochrome in which we’re so used to viewing such footage.
America In Colour: a treat for the eyes.Credit:SBS
This episode deals with the Wild West: that mythic period of US history that was coming to an end in the face of remorseless progress at the dawn of the 1900s. The conflict between the old and the new makes for compelling doco subject matter. America emerges into a new century on the brink of something big, an embryonic superpower set to ascend in a century in which both human ingenuity and atrocity would reach new heights.
Whether the liberal-Hollywood narration is your cup of tea depends very much on your perspective, but it’s undoubtedly a treat for the eyes.
Love Island UK 9Now What can you say about a show like Love Island UK? That it’s a modern-day morality tale? That it’s a cautionary fable about late capitalism and the fate of societies that invest an excess of civilisational capital in cults of celebrity? All of this and more is true of Love Island, a social experiment designed to test humans’ tolerance for nothingness. If you enjoy looking at attractive people wearing very little, you may get a kick out of this paragon of hollowness. If you enjoy shows with literally anything to offer apart from attractive people wearing very little, you may find it a bit lacking. But for fans of the grotesquely depressing, it’s tailor-made.
Operation Buffalo ABC, 8.30pm Nothing shines a light on historical wrongdoing like a beautifully mounted series that combines hard, brutal truth with a healthy dose of making stuff up. Operation Buffalo is a high-class production, well-written, superbly shot and supplying juicy roles for some of the best acting talent from here (the always-impeccable Ewen Leslie) and abroad (James Cromwell in a role quite a way removed from Farmer Hoggett).
There is much to be outraged about in the story of Maralinga, when the Menzies government opened its arms to embrace British nuclear tests, proving Australia’s loyalty to the motherland before its own people lasted well into the 1950s. In fact, whether this country has ever stopped bowing and scraping to its overseas overlords is a pertinent question still, and Operation Buffalo pushes it front of mind.
It’s just a bit of a shame the fascinating-cum-infuriating true story has to be draped in soap opera finery. Melodrama, gratuitous romance, and an insistence on shoehorning modern sensibilities into history keep getting in the way, making Operation Buffalo just a little bit less than it should’ve been.
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Craig Mathieson is a TV, film and music writer for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Greek associations across Australia have sent public messages of support for Archbishiop Makarios of Australia following the press reports regarding the purchase of a $6.5 million investment property.
The purchase first came to media attention in March following a report by Neos Kosmos. At the time there was speculation regarding the purpose of the purchase, however the Archdiocese of Australia did not respond to questions regarding the apartment.
Another article by news.com.au as well as articles in the Greek press condemned the purchase and sparked fresh debate this month. On Friday, the Archdiocese finally addressed the issue with a statement that the purchase by the Consolidated Trust of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia was not for the Archbishop to permanently live in but as an investment property.
There was also mention that the hierarch may live there temporarily if it is deemed necessary while renovations take place in his quarters in Redfern.
Following Archbishop Makarios’ announcement, a number of organisations have come out in support of the Greek primate.
Below are statements made by various organisations.
Byzantine Music School of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
The Byzantine Music School of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, condemns the defamatory, unfair and inaccurate reports and comments currently being expressed and published irresponsibly and maliciously by various media outlets (mainly in Greece) targeting the Archbishop of Australia, Makarios.
Our conscience does not allow us to remain inactive and silent while our Church is being targeted via the recent attacks against him.
We unequivocally support our virtuous Archbishop. Our trust and confidence in him have not been affected in the slightest by the recent malicious reports and insulting comments appearing in the media.
We cannot stress enough our love and support for His Eminence who silently and patiently endures the hate speech and the orchestrated war attacking his person and by extension, the Orthodox Church. We are unable to accept the irrational criticisms against the decision of the Consolidated Trust of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia to purchase a property in Sydney. We discern that jealousy and intolerance are most likely the sources of this evil reaction. We call upon anyone affected by the whole controversy to show patience and not rush to conclusions.
A year ago we welcomed amongst us our newly elected Archbishop. His election by the Holy Synod of our Ecumenical Patriarchate was not by chance. It was a divinely inspired decision. A worthy leader was appointed to lead the Orthodox Church in Australia during these troubled times. His Eminence instantly demonstrated his qualities, and we proclaim with certainty that Archbishop Makarios is a genuine bearer of the spirit of the Orthodox patristic tradition, an industrious and pious hierarch, who performs his ministry with the fear of God and who has inspired us all in our spiritual struggle.
During these times where the world is characterised by its passivity and which is facing its future with fear and uncertainty, His Eminence has recruited his perspicacity and creativeness to shape a Church that cares, is creative and brave. One of the many examples of His Eminence’s initiatives and concerns is the establishment of the Byzantine Music School of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
We are indebted to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in Australia and we feel compelled to publicly express our devotion and faith to His Eminence. We stand by him, helping him in bearing this Cross, like Simon of Cyrene, knowing that the Resurrection will follow for him and for us.
On behalf the Byzantine Music School of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association, Sydney
As the Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association, based in Sydney, we declare our full support for our Archbishop His Eminence Makarios who at this time is the recipient a rabid and completely unethical attack.
From the first moment of his arrival in Australia, His Eminence’s spirit of paternal love, unity and spiritual guidance has opened new opportunities for Hellenic education in the Antipodes. The educational work of our Archdiocese through St Andrew’s Theological College, the network of day schools, as well as the afternoon and Sunday schools of the parishes as much as through the state and independent schools which provide programs of study of Hellenic language, history and civilisation.
The actions and announcements of His Eminence the last twelve months, which have opened our Archdiocese to First nations’ peoples and other peoples of multicultural Australia, have created conditions of dialogue and cooperation with all the members of the society in which we live.
As educators, we believe that by his example, His Eminence is incorporating Orthodoxy within the Australian society in which we all live and clearly demonstrates the future of the community. The next generation does not live in a Hellenic region. It will live and will be developed in a multilingual and multicultural Australian environment.
Those who fight Hellenic-speaking and Orthodox education – and as a consequence our identity – in the ranks of the community are jannisaries who we all have the duty to uproot.
The future of the Australian Hellenic community is in our hands. As educators, we do not accept the dishonourable and without sincerity attacks of Archbishop Makarios, a spiritual man who by his example illustrates the methods to cultivate our Hellenic identity in the Australian context: with Hellenic language and mind, with Orthodox faith.
On behalf of the Committee and the membership,
Dr Panayiotis Diamadis
In recent years I have had the opportunity to get involved with the Australian Hellenic community through my work with AHEPA NSW INC. However, the recent internal fighting has detracted from the programs that the organisation is trying to achieve for the Hellenic community and Australian society at large. Unfortunately, AHEPA NSW Inc is not an isolated incident within community. Many other Hellenic organisations throughout Australia have been plagued by the myopic views, stubborn resistance to change and personal agendas of those entrusted by their associations to enact in the best interest of their organisation.
When will we learn that only as a united Australian Hellenic community can we establish the foundations to keep our culture and language alive in Australia for future generations? It has been a blight within our community to bicker and squabble amongst ourselves for years. It is time for us to learn that only through unity can we achieve the foundations required to keep Hellenism alive for the future. We need to guide the next generation to ensure they do not repeat the mistakes by the past generations to ensure they have the best opportunity to build and maintain on the foundations that we start.
The recent attacks on the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Australia is a shameful example of how some attack those who can see a better future for the community. His Eminence holds the values and virtues of Hellenism deep in his heart and has demonstrated those repeatedly ever since taking his post in Australia. His belief in seeking the truth, his demonstration of respect for all individuals, his endeavour to create an environment for the common good by offering a harmonious life through the teachings of the church and mostly by his openness to adopting change within the church. It is only through change that we as individuals and a community will we be able to grow and develop both spiritually and emotionally.
The people behind these attacks are misusing old traditions and misguided values to suppress the changes his Eminence has embarked on, which I believe to be actions that are fundamentally an enemy of the spirit of Hellenism. These actions threaten the good work that our Spiritual Leader is trying to achieve. We all need to remember that His Eminence is a man of true faith and the people and not a man of commerce and industry. It is only when we are united can we move forward to achieve the common good for everyone.
If you observe closely none of the attacks have been about Archbishop Makarios’ character; they have been about decisions made by others within the Archdiocese. It is important that we all play a role to ensure unity prevails within our community. This does not mean that we follow blindly as sheep; it does mean that we create an environment where we can air our grievances with respect and amicability; that the consensus reached is supported to ensure the common good and future of our Hellenic community in Australia.
People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have long struggled against oppression and under-representation. There has been a renewed focus on these highlighted by the recent events in the United States, which have triggered a wave of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests across the world, including in Europe and Australia.
As part of our Throwback Thursday series, we wanted to look back at the history of BAME artists at Eurovision from the 1960s to now. It’s important to note this isn’t a complete list as it aims to show highlights over the last sixty years.
1960s – the beginnings
The Netherlands led the way starting in 1964 with Anneke Grönloh, whose song ‘Jij bent mijn leven’ (‘You are My Life’) came 10th with two points. Anneke was both the first non-white competing artist and the first to be born outside Europe (in Sulawesi, Indonesia).
The 1966 edition of Eurovision saw its first black performer in Milly Scot – an artist of Surinamese origin – carried Dutch hopes with ‘Fernando en Filippo’. Milly deliberately opted for a rumba number, a style of music which provided a strong point of difference to the rest of the more traditional field. The song finished 15th out of the 18 performers.
The first black male entrant was Eduardo Nascimento from Portugal who competed the very next year in 1967 with his song ‘O vento mudou’ (‘The wind changed’). Eduardo was from Angola but moved to Portugal in the mid 60s winning Festival da Canção and booking his spot in Vienna where he finished 12th place among the 17 entries.
The 70s and 80s – slow progress
The 70s really belong to Sandra Reemer in terms of representation. The Dutch singer with Indonesian heritage represented the nation three times, finishing 4th (1972), 9th (1976) and 12th (1979).
Additionally Silver Convention, who had global disco hits previously, represented Germany in 1977 finishing 8th with ‘Telegram’.
The 80s saw Debbie Cameron, an American-Bahamian living in Denmark, represent the nation in 1981 finishing 11th with ‘Krøller eller ej’ (‘Curls or Not’).
In 1987 another Dutch-Indo singer Justine Pelmelay finished 15th for The Netherlands with her song ‘Blijf zoals je bent’ (Stay the way you are).
1990s – some breakthrough
The 1990s was a breakthrough decade with 14 acts featuring black artists with two of these finishing runner-up.
Joëlle Ursull with ‘White and Black Blues’ finished 2nd place for France in 1990 losing out to a Europe united behind the message of ‘Insieme: 1992’.
In 1998 Imaani with ‘Where Are You’ almost saw back-to-back wins for the United Kingdom losing by just six points to Dana International who was of course making her own history.
Additionally the Dutch really led the way again with representation. Four of their ten acts featured black artists during the decade and all finished inside the Top 10.
Meanwhile Béatrice Poulot became the first black artist to represent an Eastern European nation when she performed with Dino Merlin for Bosnia and Herzegovina and their song ‘Putnici’.
2000s – a winner
The 2000s saw the first black winner, Dave Benton.
Together with Tanel Padar and 2XL, he secured Estonia’s only victory to date in 2001 with the song ‘Everybody’.
Benton made history not just as the first black winner but also as the contest’s oldest winner.
The UK were represented by black artists on three occasions during the decade with Jade Ewan getting their best result with a 5th place in 2009 with ‘It’s My Time’.
2010s – increased representation
The decade saw an increase in representation overall, but it was not without some issues.
On the positive side, we saw Loreen, born to Moroccan migrants in Sweden, win the contest in 2012 with Euphoria, which has gone on to become the most popular Eurovision song of all time (winning the annual ESC250 poll eight-times in a row thus far).
Other notable results during the decade were 2nd place to South Korean-born Australian Dami Im in 2016 with ‘Sound of Silence’; 3rd to Cesár Sampson from Austria in 2018 with ‘Nobody But You’; and 5th to both András Kállay-Saunders in 2014 with ‘Running’ and John Lundvik with ‘Too Late for Love’ in 2019.
It must also be noted that Dami, Cesár, András and John all received much lower results from the televote than the jury.
Progress does appear to be being made at Eurovision, and 2020 would have been a historic contest seeing nine BAME acts seeking to lift the coveted crystal trophy.
Despite these more recent improvements Eurovision as a whole has been overwhelmingly white. However Australia is a notable exception.
Australia’s diverse representation
The national broadcaster SBS itself has a mission to provide multilingual and multicultural broadcasting to Australian audiences, and at Eurovision it is fulfilling that rather successfully.
In our entrants we have seen five out of six acts representing Indigenous and multicultural identities and ethnicities.
Guy Sebastian was born in Malaysia and has parents are of both Indian/Sri Lankan and Portuguese descent, Dami Im was born in South Korea before moving to Australia at the age of 9, while our 20/21 representative Montaigne (Jessica Cerro) has described her ethnicity as “Argentinian, Spanish, Filipino and French”.
However it is our Indigenous representation that Australia can be most proud of.
Jessica Mauboy, who has an Indonesian father and a mother from theKuku Yalanjipeople of Far North Queensland, performed during the 2014 Eurovision semi final interval finishing the performance with a dual Australian and Aboriginal flag. She then went on to make the Grand Final in Lisbon in 2018.
And of course Isaiah Firebrace, who has aYorta Yortafather andGunditjmaramother, finished in 9th place in Kyiv in 2017.
Where to now?
Speaking of 2017, that was the contest with the slogan ‘Celebrating Diversity’… which was hosted by three white men and had an overwhelmingly high number of white performers.
This was only three years ago, so we can’t take progress or representation for granted.
Eurovision is for everybody and we hope to see the progress made recently continue, providing greater opportunities and more diverse representation on the Eurovision stage.