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Bringing Our Stories Home is a series of six short films to commemorate the ANZAC Centenary, with funding provided through grants from the Victorial Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Federal Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Bringing Our Stories Home explores the untold stories of the First World War, focusing specifically on the impact felt at home in Australia, and the lasting effects of the war that shaped a nation.
Produced and directed by some of Victoria's brightest emerging filmmakers, the series offers a surprising insight into stories that were intrinsically linked to the war but were unfolding far from the battlefields.
Combining both documentary and dramatised elements, these entertaining, revealing and moving short films explore the nature of memory, commemoration and celebration over the period of a century, and themes from food shortages to racially discriminatory soldier selection to the establishment of Luna Park.
Each story uses actors portraying real characters plucked from stories found in the newspapers and records of the time. However, rather than just simple recreations, these 'characters' are placed in the present-day location of their story in a style that captures something of the ghostly resonance of these stories in the present-day psyche. In addition to this, there are two distinct elements: firstly, the present-day equivalents of our key characters (the present-day president of the Templestowe Cricket Club, the present-day CEO of Luna Park, etc.) are allowed to interact with their predecessors across the span of a hundred years in a manifestation of how memory and the residue of significant events continue to affect us over time. Secondly, young people are included in various ways, reflecting on the stories as they become the new 'keepers of the past'.
THE SIX FILMS:
- 'Doing Our Bit' – Many at home felt the need to do their bit for the war effort, and many women in particular found ways to support and encourage the troops from home in Melbourne. One such person was Miss Mulholland, who organised a bazaar selling sweets, cakes, refreshments and drapery, successfully raising £60 to erect a memorial fountain in Mordialloc to honour the memory of the soldiers serving Australia overseas.
Running time: 7:08
- 'Economic Conscription' – Adela Pankhurst. Feminist. Journalist. Communist. Anti-war activist. And, to the Australian prime minister, a 'little devil'. Daughter of celebrated suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, Adela migrated to Australia in 1914 and took a lead role in inciting protests against food shortages in Melbourne during the war before becoming one of the founding members of the Australian Communist Party.
Running time: 8:55
- 'Every Night's a Gala Night' – The Phillips Brothers brought a little slice of Coney Island to Melbourne with the introduction of our very own Luna Park two years before the war began. As the war continued, the theme park played host to a series of carnivals, bringing in people by the thousands and raising substantial funds for the war effort.
Running time: 7:15
- 'On the Margins' – Samuel Tongway was born in Australia, the son of Chinese immigrants. Along with thousands of young Australian men, he felt it was his duty to enlist and serve his country. In 1916, he signed up and was sent to Maygar Barracks in Broadmeadows to commence his training. Shortly after arriving, he was told his services would not be needed as he was not of 'sufficient European blood'.
Running time: 7:59
- 'Putting a Brave Face on It' – Many soldiers returned from the war as changed men. For some, their scars were a visible reminder of the horrors they endured; for others, their scars were on the 'inside'. For Gordon Wallace, his physical scars became an inescapable part of his identity, returning home a very different person to the fresh-faced young man who left. His wife Evelyn bore the brunt of his frustrations and disappointment.
Running time: 10:32
- 'Six and Out' – Nothing beats competitive team sports for the development of healthy minds and bodies, and a healthy community. As president of the Templestowe Cricket Club and head teacher of the Templestowe State School, Robert Searby understood the great tragedy that came with watching the upstanding, healthy, strong young men of his community be sent off to war and, in many cases, to their death.
Running time: 7:40