Amie Batalibasi is an Australian- Solomon Islander writer, director and producer based in Melbourne, Australia.
Amie aims to bring diverse stories to light by collaborating with people and communities at a grassroots level, to unearth stories that have the possibility to spark empowerment and create change.
She was selected to attend the Berlinale Talents Summit 2018 as part of the Berlinale International Film Festival (Feb 2018), as well as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Filmmaker Lab (Sept 2018).
Amie is the 2017 recipient of the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Film Program’s Merata Mita Fellowship in the name of Aotearoa’s first indigenous woman to write and direct a feature film. The fellowship included 12 months of mentorship for Amie’s first feature film in development based on her award-winning short BLACKBIRD, attendance a the Sundance Film Festival (Jan 2017) and participation at the Sundance Creative Producing Summit (Aug 2017).
She has written and directed award-winning films that have been shown nationally and internationally at film festivals, and produced over 20 short films with first time filmmakers from diverse backgrounds through her community film projects.
In 2017, Amie collaborated in Maoriland Film Festival’s ‘Native Slam’ project with an international team of three Indigenous filmmakers, supported by the New Zealand Film Commission & resulting in the short short film KA PUTA KO AU. She has also directed an episode of the Melbourne based award-winning comedy web series FRESH! and an indie short film, DOCKED, starring South-Sudanese actor Nyawuda Choul with vale Damian Hill (PAWNO). She’s also directed a number of improvised short films.
In 2018, Amie was selected for the Australian Director’s Guild (ADG) Delegation to attend SPA’s Screen Forever conference to pitch her feature film in development, BLACKBIRD. This year she completed the ADG’s Shadow Director program with veteran director Rodger Hodgman, directing an episode of the International Kids Emmy Nominated ABC Me show, MUSTANGS FC, produced by Matchbox Pictures.
Amie graduated with honours from Melbourne University Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in a Master of Film and TV (Narrative) in 2015 and a Graduate Diploma of Film and TV (Documentary) in 2007. In 2004 she received the graduating medal for a Bachelor of Photography (Art Practice) from Griffith University Queensland College of Arts.
Amie is represented by Yellow Creative Management, Sydney.
BLACKBIRD is a short narrative drama set in the late 1800s that follows the story of Solomon Islander siblings, Rosa and Kiko who after being kidnapped from their homelands, are forced to work on a sugar plantation in Queensland. This film shines a light on this dark part of Australia’s history and gives recognition to the approximately 60 000 Pacific Islanders who were brought to Australia between 1863 and 1904 to work on the sugar cane farms of Queensland. Blackbird was completed in December 2015 and screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July 2016; imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto, Oct 2016; the Pasifika Film Festival, Sydney and Brisbane 2016, where it picked up the ‘Best of the Fest’ award and Maoriland Film Festival where it received the People’s Choice Audience Award for Best Short. It was awarded Best Drama and Best Female Lead (Regina Lepping) at Sydney Indie Film Festival. BLACKBIRD had it’s television debut on NITV/ SBS OnDemand in 2017 and is distributed internationally through Ronin Films. BLACKBIRD screened at the Berlinale International Film Festival in Feb 2019 as part of the Berlinale NATIVe programme. For more information click here.
The short documentary film, Tide of Change, documents Amie’s family village of Lilisiana, Solomon Islands, as the sea rises around a community on the brink of inevitable change. It won Best Local Entry in the Reel Change Climate Change program at the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival in May 2010; screened at Flickerfest 21st International Film Festival, Sydney in 2012; Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan in 2011; and was selected for other film festivals in Australia and Canada, France, Russia, Mexico and New Zealand.
Amie has produced, directed and collaborated on various media projects and commissioned films for not for profit organisations, businesses and government bodies including the Australian Football League, Australia Post, St Vincent De Paul, Australian Home Care, Melbourne City Mission, Western Edge Youth Arts, Barkly Arts Centre (CoHealth Arts Generator), The Centre for Multicultural Youth, The Textile Clothing and Footwear Union, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and the Victorian Fisheries Authority.
COMMUNITY FILM PROJECTS
An important part of Amie’s filmmaking practice is sharing her skills with the communities and people around her so that they can tell their own stories through film. She has facilitated various filmmaking courses and workshops with young people, new migrant groups, CALD communities, indigenous communities and diverse groups of people in and around Melbourne, interstate and internationally.
In 2014, Amie worked with the Australian South Sea Islander Secretariat Inc. to produce a multimedia community storytelling project called ASSI Stories (Australian South Sea Islander Stories) (Queensland). As part of this project a series of seven short films were written and directed by Australian South Sea Islander participants and premiered at a community screening at The Edge, Brisbane. In 2012, Amie co-facilitated two community film projects Wantok Stori (Victoria/ Solomon Islands) & Pacific Stories – Harmony on the Murray (Robinvale, Victoria). In 2011 she facilitated two filmmaking courses in Melbourne: The Young Media Makers Project – with diverse young people; and co-facilitated Pacific Stories – working with a group of Australian Pacific Islanders in Melbourne. In each of these projects participants learnt filmmaking skills to then write and direct their own short films about issues important to them.
Amie has also spent time in the central Australian desert working as a media trainer through PAW Media & Communications and the Mt Theo Youth Program as a media trainer with indigenous Warlpiri people in the communities of Yuendumu & Willowra, Northern Territory. In 2009, with the help of friends, Amie founded the community group called Pacific Community Partnerships – an organisation set up to assist her family’s village in the Solomon Islands with community cultural development projects .