Dylan River and Tanith Glynn-Maloney.
After producing She Who Must Be Loved and co-producing Robbie Hood and The Beach, Tanith Glynn-Maloney is sticking to her mission of telling “blackfella” stories.
“I only want to tell positive stories about blackfellas. I’m not interested in working for white fellas just to tick some boxes,” Glynn-Maloney told First Nations Media Australia’s Catherine Liddle in a Media Ring interview last week.
Glynn-Maloney, who is partnered with her cousin Dylan River in Since 1788 Productions, is developing multiple projects including Finding Jedda, a short film funded by the No Ordinary Black initiative, in which Screen Australia’s Indigenous department is partnered with NITV and state agencies.
Also in the works are a prequel to Robbie Hood with Ludo Studio; The Visitors, a feature drama based on Jane Harrison’s play, a co-production with Nick Batzias’ Good Thing Productions; and Pictures in Paradise’s action-adventure-drama Musquito.
“After coming back to Alice Springs recently after four years in Sydney, I’m a bit disillusioned with the racism that still exists in this town,” she tells IF.
“I don’t like the way the mainstream media and social media are reporting the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Collaborating with producer Dena Curtis, Tanith aims to make her writing and directing debut on Finding Jedda. The script follows filmmaker Charles Chauvel as he auditions girls for his seminal 1955 film Jedda and two girls go head-to-head for the role of a lifetime.
River is writing and will direct the Robbie Hood prequel Thou Shalt Not Steal, which follows a 17-year-old Aboriginal delinquent who travels to the city from her small desert community in search of answers after discovering a dark family secret.
Far more ambitious than the SBS On Demand-commissioned 6 x 10′ Robbie Hood, the 8 x 30′ series is planned as a high-end, big budget production.
Set in January 1788 when the First Fleet first dropped anchor in Australia, The Visitors had its world premiere at the Sydney Festival, directed by Moogahlin Performing Arts co-founder, Bunuba man Frederick Copperwaite.
The play portrays a group of Indigenous leaders discussing what to do about the strange vessels on the horizon and whether to welcome the visitors. River will adapt the play and direct.
Developed with Screen Australia’s support, Musquito is a high-octane Australian Western which re-writes history to tell the controversial story an Aboriginal freedom fighter and his bloody vengeance against white colonials.
Nathan Maynard, Jonathan auf der Heide and Raimondo Cortese wrote the screenplay, Dylan will direct and Tanith will produce with Pictures in Paradise’s Chris Brown.
Like many Indigenous filmmakers such as Warwick Thornton, Steven McGregor and Rachel Perkins, Tanith began her career at CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association) in Alice Springs, as one of the inaugural Media Ring-funded trainees.
With Dylan she made several no-budget short films until the Screen Australia-funded Nulla Nulla, a short drama which had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015 and won the AACTA Award for best short.
She produced She Who Must Be Loved, a feature documentary on her grandmother, pioneering Aboriginal film and TV producer Freda Glynn, directed by Freda’s daughter Erica.
With Michelle Parker and Mitchell Stanley she produced The Beach, the 6-part docuseries commissioned by NITV, which followed her uncle Warwick Thornton as he spent couple of therapeutic months in isolation on a beach on the north-west coast of Western Australia.
Straight after that she and Dylan worked with directors Wayne Blair and Thornton on series 2 of Bunya Productions’ Mystery Road, as producer attachment and camera operator respectively,
Asked by Liddle what advice she would give aspiring filmmakers, she said: “Just do it. If you want to be a storyteller, tell a yarn. Everyone has a mobile phone that can be a recording device. To be able to create content is at everyone’s finger tips.”
She added: “I think it’s important as filmmakers that you can’t just have one niche, you just can’t make documentaries. You have to be cross-platform: online, drama, comedy, documentary and cinema.”