David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin prep Torres Strait doco Blue Water Empire
Blue Water Empire.
Filming will start this month on the ABC's Blue Water Empire, a dramatised documentary series about the traditional culture and history of the Torres Strait Islands.
The three-part series will combine dramatic action with archival footage, digital effects and interviews to explore how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage through the impact of 200 years of European settlement.
Producers Greer Simpkin and David Jowsey, the creative team behind Goldstone and Mystery Road, have teamed up with local producer and writer Aaron Fa’Aoso (The Straits, Black Comedy) to make the show. It will be filmed on location in the Torres Strait Islands with mostly local cast and crew.
Blue Water Empire will begin in traditional times and take viewers through to the arrival of the missionaries and the massive changes brought to the Islands by the pearling industry and WWII.
The series will also explore the contemporary history of the Torres Strait Islands and the impact of the mass migration of Islanders to the mainland.
ABC director of television Richard Finlayson said: “Blue Water Empire is a powerful and moving account of the dramatic events and human stories that form the history of the Torres Straits Islands. ABC is the home of national conversations, stories and culture, and we are very excited to commission the first comprehensive series telling the important history of the Torres Straits.”
Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia Penny Smallacombe said the fascinating history of the Torres Strait Islands and its people was relatively unknown to most Australians.
“Blue Water Empire will change this by becoming an important historical series that showcases the survival and determination of Torres Strait Islander people. Screen Australia is proud to support the talented team behind this production," said Smallacombe.
Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira said she was excited to see this Queensland-developed series enter production.
"David and Greer are such extraordinary producers that have been instrumental in seeing Queensland stories reach the screen, it’s fantastic to see them collaborate with local producer/writer Aaron Fa’Aoso for this iconic series in Far North Queensland,” she said.