Ravi Chand, Rachel Choi, Mary Duong, Lara Köse and Taku Mbduzi.

What is it like to be a young culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australian today?

That’s a question that Lara Köse, Mary Duong, Rachel Choi, Taku Mbudzi and Ravi Chand will seek to answer thanks to the backing of ABC and Screen Australia.

The ABC has commissioned four short films via The Kaleidoscope Project, which aims to support emerging CALD filmmakers. Each will screen on ABC ME on Harmony Day in 2022.

The projects are:

  • Viv’s Silly Mango, a film by creators Mary Duong and Rachel Choi, offers an honest and playful insight into growing up as young people from migrant or refugee backgrounds in Brisbane through the perspectives of three Asian pre-teens – Viv, Esther, and Nikki. They navigate the meaning of family and friendship in their discovery of riot grrrl music and most importantly, themselves.
  • Gugu naGogo, created by Taku Mbudzi, explores intergenerational and cultural relationships and struggles between daughter, mother, and grandmother, through the eyes of Gugu, a 12-year-old budding astronomer living in a small Australian town, far removed from Zimbabwe, where her Gogo lives.
  • Creator Ravi Chand draws on his experiences with Namaste Yoga, about Shiv, a 12-year-old Indian-Australian boy who hates being Indian. Shiv struggles with internalised oppression, whereas his 8-year-old sister Kaali is proud of her culture and immerses herself in it. Shiv experiences his culture being taken, commercialised and “taught” back to him, and learns to reclaim his culture on his own terms through his practice and connection with the true essence of yoga.
  • Yaz Queens, created by Lara Köse, explores the relationship dynamics between 10-year-old Yaz and her father after eight years of living apart in different countries, and how their cultural differences play a role in their struggle to relate, but ultimately, how their shared love of music helps bridge that divide and brings them closer together.

ABC executive producer Amanda Isdale said the projects promised to be compelling and nuanced.

“These exciting films explore themes familiar to young culturally and linguistically diverse people – identity, belonging, expectations, sense of agency and connection to culture – with heart, humour and authenticity. By helping to showcase and amplify the stories of these filmmakers, we hope our audience will relate, connect and be thoroughly entertained!”

Screen Australia development executive Jenevieve Chang said: “Each of these beautiful stories offer up a truth that is incredibly specific to the experience of displacement and at the same time, they are able to heal that chasm through the universal power of love, family and friendship. Representation is more than skin deep, and we’re committed to celebrating the creativity of storytellers who reflect the cultural richness of children and young people in Australia today. We look forward to bringing these stories to the screen in partnership with the ABC.”

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