Pink Pepper’s Taryne Laffar and Periscope Pictures’ Sam Bodhi Field are the 2020 recipients of the Brian Beaton Award, presented by Screenwest.
The award will allow the producers to expand their 27-minute documentary Our Law, originally commissioned by NITV, into a six-part factual series.
Presented annually, the award recognises the legacy of impact filmmaker Brian Beaton, co-founder of Artemis International. It is a financial grant, comprised of Screenwest funding and industry and private donations, presented to filmmakers with a social impact project that needs further support to reach its full potential.
Our Law follows sergeants Wendy Kelly and Revis Rider at Western Australia’s first Indigenous-run police station in Warakurna. The two Noongar officers learn Yarnangu Lore and culture and master the local Ngaanyatjarra language to police in a more meaningful way and connect with the local community.
The 27-minute version premiered at this year’s virtual Sydney Film Festival, and was acquired by Netflix for Australia and New Zealand.
Bodhi Field said: “I and the team at Periscope Pictures are incredibly proud to be involved in this timely exploration of the role Indigenous officers play in rebuilding fractured Aboriginal-police relations, and of the raw power of policing with respect for language and culture.
“From a personal standpoint, Brian Beaton was my very first mentor, giving me my first foot in the door of the film industry 15 years ago, and who continued to nurture my growth as a documentary filmmaker right up until his sad passing. I know that he would have been a strong supporter of this project, and I’m deeply honoured to be a recipient of this award in his name, which will make a huge difference to making this important series a reality.”
Laffar said: “From an Indigenous point of view, the Brian Beaton Award for our work on Our Law could literally mean saving Indigenous Peoples lives and reducing our extreme and disproportionately high incarceration rates here in Western Australia.
“I personally didn’t think we would see an apology from the WA Police in my lifetime, therefore Commissioner Dawson’s leadership has well and truly opened a door that as Indigenous peoples, we probably thought was locked and bolted. To be given access to more deeply explore these issues and the problems our state faces through the voices of Indigenous police officers and the communities they police will help us ALL better understand our states history and the impacts of institutionalised racism.”
The Our Law series has also secured development investment from Screen Australia, with development expected to begin in 2021.