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.
Over the last nine years, she has written and directed award winning films that have been shown nationally and internationally at screenings and film festivals.
Amie has produced over 20 short films with first time filmmakers from diverse backgrounds through her community film projects.
She 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 make a feature film. The fellowship is for a Native or Indigenous filmmaker from a global pool of nominees and provides a year-long continuum of support with activities including a trip to the Sundance Film Festival and access to strategic and creative services offered by Sundance Institute artist programs, and mentorship opportunities.
Earlier this year, Amie participated in Maoriland Film Festival’s Native Slam project with an international team of three Indigenous filmmakers, supported by the New Zealand Film Commission. Most recently, she directed an episode of the upcoming Melbourne based comedy web series Fresh.
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.
In all of her work, Amie is passionate about creating social change through storytelling and film.
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. BLACKBIRD will have it’s television debut on NITV in 2017. For project updates 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.
Made In Australia, uncovers the lives of five Vietnamese women living in Melbourne, who sew at home for major Australian clothing labels in what has been called ‘Australia’s sweatshops’. In April 2008, Made In Australia received the Audience Award at the Margaret River Shorts Film Festival in WA. It also screened at the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Melbourne, 2008. Another short film, The Game is a short documentary film that explores the world of a group of Vietnamese refugee men that gather every day to play Chinese Chess on a street corner in Footscray, Melbourne. The Game screened at the Triumphant! International Refugee Film Festival in Sydney, June 2008.
Amie has also 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, The Centre for Multicultural Youth, Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Fisheries Victoria.
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 .
Amie has independently and collaboratively produced many of the film projects above and in 2012 she founded Colour Box Studio – a community creative hub and pop up art space in Melbourne. Colour Box Studio aims to support, nurture and showcase artists and creatives via innovative creative programming that includes Pop Up Shops, Events, Workshops, Exhibitions and more.
In all of her work Amie is driven by a passion to tell the stories of people and communities by using creative arts mediums to bring important issues into the public domain.