Playwright-screenwriter Nathan Maynard and writer-screenwriter Adam Thompson have teamed up to form kutikina Productions, with the company to co-produce the Digital Originals series Lunar bird alongside Rummin Productions.
Billed as Tasmania’s first-ever Aboriginal screen production company, kutikina will focus on scripted content and the telling of Tasmanian Aboriginal stories, as well as broader industry engagement to further develop film culture. First Nations in Tasmania.
Maynard, a man from Trawlwoolway who has written seven complete plays, told SI the name “kutikina” came from a folk spirit legend of palawa storytelling not unlike the bogeyman.
“To us, kutikina has been around for millennia, but white people hijacked the name when it came to Franklin Dam and Kutikina Cave, that’s when they learned of its existence,” he said. he declares.
“Someone also put kutikina in the song, where he mispronounced it.
“What we want is to correct these stories from our people and tell stories that the white community has never heard of our people.”
Thompson, who worked in the story room for Film Art Media’s Bruny and is writing episodes of Little J and Big Cuzadded that the company was “a new avenue for palawa stories to get out into the world”.
“We are tired of non-Indigenous people exploiting our histories and our culture,” he said.
“Through our business, we will create fresh, authentic, high-quality content and bring our community with us, through collaboration and by developing the technical and creative skills of individuals.”
Maynard and Thompson will collaborate with Matthew Newton, Catherine Pettman and Courtney Gibson on moon bird, a 6 x 10 minute project that follows an 11-year-old pakana boy who takes on the responsibilities of an adult when his father drowns on a remote island of Mutton Bird in Bass Strait.
It is being developed for NITV/SBS On Demand, with funding from Screen Australia. An earlier version of the project received development funding from Screen Tasmania.
Maynard said Lunar bird was an exciting launch pad for the business, which the pair had been building in earnest over the past 12 months, following conversations over the past 2-3 years.
“It was about us feeling that we had the experience to take on something like this because it’s not for the faint-hearted,” he said.
“We thought the Digital Originals initiative was an amazing opportunity and why not launch something as big as this?”
Screen Tasmania’s executive director, Alex Sangston, anticipated the company would play a leading role in content production and the wider development of Indigenous practitioners in the state.
“Screen Tasmania is delighted that Nathan and Adam have launched kutikina as Palawa’s first production company,” he said.
“It is vital that Tasmanian Aborigines have the ability to tell their own stories, so that we can continue to contribute to the national narrative and celebrate the world’s oldest culture.
“Screen Tasmania is looking forward to working with Adam and Nathan on Lunar bird and other future projects through lutruwita”.
Maynard said kutikina Productions has “three or four projects in the works”, although details are still under wraps.