Amie Batalibasi

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Directors, Writers

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Amie Batalibasi is an Australian Solomon Islander (Feralimae/ Kosi) writer, director based in Melbourne. Her creative practice is driven by a passion to collaborate with diverse people and communities at a grassroots level, to unearth stories that have the possibility to spark empowerment and create change.

Amie was the 2017 recipient of the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Film Program’s Merata Mita Fellowship, a year long fellowship awarded by the Sundance Institute to a Native or Indigenous filmmaker from a global pool of nominees.

Over the last decade, Amie has produced dozens of short films by first time filmmakers through collaborative community projects with children and young people; new migrant groups; remote indigenous communities; and culturally and linguistically diverse communities in and around Melbourne, interstate and in the Solomon Islands. Projects include Pacific Stories (2011, 2012), Young Media Makers Project (2011), Wantok Stori (2012) and Australian South Sea Islander Stories (2014).

Amie graduated with honours from Melbourne University Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in a Graduate Diploma of Film and TV (Documentary) in 2007 and a Master of Film and TV (Narrative) in 2015.

Her short films have screened throughout Australia and internationally. Amie’s debut short drama BLACKBIRD, inspired by the history of Australia’s sugar slaves, received several script awards from the Victorian College of the Arts, was awarded ‘Best of the Fest’ at the Pasifika Film Festival in Sydney, 2016. It has screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE Media Arts & Film Festival in Toronto as well as St Kilda Film Festival and WINDA Film Fest in Australia. It debuted on National Indigenous Television (NITV) in 2017.

Amie’s current project is a feature adaptation of the BLACKBIRD short. The story explores the little-known history of Australia’s sugar slaves by shining a light on the dark history of “blackbirding,” where from 1863-1904 approximately 60,000 Pacific Islanders were taken, often by kidnapping and coercion, to labour on the country’s sugar cane and cotton farms. Set in the decades preceding the “White Australia Policy,” the story follows Suana, a spirited young Solomon Islander who is brutally snatched from his island home and forced to work on a Queensland cane farm. Stripped of his culture, identity and entrapped within a world of exploitation, it’s his fight for survival that ultimately seals his fate.