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Case Studies Mamu Kataji | RAF Case Study (2021)

PAW media received a quick response grant to work with Yuendamu community to create a short horror style film re-enacting the story of the Kurtaji.

PAW media received a quick response grant to work with Yuendamu community to create a short horror style film re-enacting the story of the Kurtaji; a Sorcerer who can sing himself invisible, walks on emu feathers so won't be heard, and leaves no tracks. He comes to punish those who break traditional lore. The short flim is a dramatic re-enactment of the Kurtaji and what happens to those who don't obey lore.

PAW Media is a Quick Response Grant Recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund as managed by Darwin Community Arts.

PAW Media produced a short film telling/re-enacting the story of the Kurtaji. Their goal was to make the film into a short thriller, telling the story of one of the Warlpiri Monsters from a First Nations perspective of kids in community today. The film was produced over 3-4 nights with an elder telling the story and 4 children acting out a scenario of encountering the Kurtaji. The overall goal was to make an engaging short film for all Warlpiri community that helps immortalise some of their cultural knowledge in a new and unique way.

This project has immense support from the local Warlpiri community in Yuendumu, in particular the elders of the community. There is a push to make culture and knowledge more accessible to the younger generations, so it is not lost in the future. They have funding to put towards the project for up-skilling locals and training programs. They used this funding to work with a well-known Indigenous director to come and help on their pilot episode and help create an episode formula. They have a long-standing partnership with ICTV and ABC and they are keen to acquire new content from them.

This project offers not only opportunities for practical film skills training in community, but also for acting opportunities. Their hope is to engage different people for every episode and different communities as well. Their media company services multiple communities in the Central Desert area and the end goal would be to engage all of them in this project. Their communities include Yuendumu, Ali Curung, Engawala, Engawala, Kintore, Lajamanu, Laramba, Mt Liebig, Nturiya, Nyirripi, Pmara Jutunta, Willowra, Wilora and Yuelamu.

They received funding to help with the production costs of their pilot episode with the end goal of using it to gain grants for the remainder of the series. Their pilot was in production no longer than a week and the finished product was completed within a month.

They had a community premiere at the local school and much of the community came out to support the film. They did have local Yapa in their crew and cast for the project and had over 100 community members present for the premiere screening.


This project helped to engage multiple local Yapa in media work and skills and will hopefully lead to further involvement in upcoming projects.

They used the project as professional development for multiple media sectors. Including sound, camera skills, lighting and on-screen performance.

"This project was a lesson in working with Warlpiri youth in media. While they are excited and interested in the process, it does take patience and understanding to get passed their natural shyness and shame."

This would have long term effects in creating work for additional episodes and help get younger generations involved in cultural content and up-skilling in film.

They are attempting to get this short film made as a promo for 6/7 episode series.

Applicant location: Yuendumu, NT

Project location: Yuendumu, NT

Amount of RAF Support: $5,000

Total project cost: $28,000

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Junior mamu
Grace Barr checks sound levels on sunset shot with Jacob Dixon, Zia King and Eddie Sims, photo by Anton Grabreck