ABC International Acquired Broadcast Rights to Screen ‘Blackbird’

BY ALEX DADAMU

AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) International has acquired broadcast rights for BLACKBIRD film to screen throughout the Asia Pacific region, free to air via the ABC Australia platform.

The ABC international territories consist of more than 40 countries which include the Solomon Islands and other Islands States and Countries in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the Film writer and director, Australian Solomon Islander filmmaker Amie Batalibasi, Blackbird – an award-winning short narrative film, tells the story of Solomon Islander siblings, Rosa and Kiko, who were kidnapped from their island home to work on a sugar cane plantation in Queensland, Australia in the late 1800s.

The story went on to relate that Rosa struggles to keep an eye on her young spirited brother who comes into conflict with their Overseer. And as Kiko journeys into adulthood, amidst oppression and severe loss of culture and identity, he must find his will to survive.

In a statement via the film’s Facebook page and Website, Amie stated that the arrangement to screen ‘Blackbird’ throughout the Asia Pacific region was particularly exciting because it means that those throughout the Asia Pacific region in over 40 countries, will have the opportunity to access to our short film.

“BLACKBIRD is inspired by the history of Australia’s sugar slaves and it’s an honor to be able to share our story in this way – particularly with communities and regions where the effect of this history still reverberates,” Amie said.

In the meantime, Amie told Sunday Isles Newspaper via an email interview that Blackbird Film has had its moment to be shared with international audiences but it was especially important for her to make the film accessible in the Pacific Islands.

“It warms my heart to know that ‘Blackbird’ will have this moment to be shared with international audiences. It was especially important for me to make BLACKBIRD accessible in the Pacific Islands because the history of blackbirding is one that has had a ripple effect throughout the region.

“Of the 60,000 plus Pacific Islanders who were blackbirded, it is reported that around 15,000 died during the blackbirding era from 1863-1904. Tragically, these men and women never made it back home.

“Sharing this film across the Asia Pacific region is part of creating greater awareness around this history,” Amie told Sunday Isles Newspaper.

She has taken the film back to her home village in Mackay, Queensland where Blackbird was filmed, which was a special experience for her.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to now share this story with a wider audience, especially in the Solomon Islands.

“I’m so proud of the work that Regina Lepping and Jeremy Bobby did in this film, and I continue to be inspired by them as they both emerge as talented filmmakers themselves.

“I hope that Solomon Islander audiences will embrace the film and join us in further discussions via our Blackbird Film Project Facebook page where we have set up an event and we can respond to feedback and comments about the film,” she stated.

Meanwhile, the Upcoming screening of the Film is on Saturday 15 August 2020 at 04.45 pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

The ABC international territories consist of more than 40 countries which include: the Pacific Islands including Cook Islands, East Timor, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and Asia including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri-Lanka, Republic of China (Taiwan), Thailand, Tibet, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

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