By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on December 6, 2019
A SPOTLIGHT has been shone on the Great Southern again but this time, in the form of a documentary.
Readers of the Weekender may recall that various towns in the region have played a role in different productions recently – Mount Barker in feature film Rams, Denmark in the movie Breath and Albany in H is for Happiness and TV series Itch.
Now, a documentary exploring indigenous foods and methods of farming across the state will include the Great Southern – in particular, Albany – in the final cut.
LVF Visuals Creative Director Todd Delfs said Fat of the Land was a concept he and Fervor chef Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov had been playing with for the past four years.
“Every time we go out on country or visit another region, our world gets flipped upside down,” he said.
“I grew up in the South West and Paul in the Perth metro area…we quickly realised how sheltered our lives had been from traditional aboriginal culture.
“With the popularity of indigenous foods growing every day, it’s not a debate anymore whether there’s a market for native foods in Australia or the world; the real problem is, will the market treat the foods with the right respect where respect is due and go beyond understanding the foods, beyond just their nutritional and economic value?
“The days are gone where people say ‘oh, there is a market for this, let’s grow 10,000 acres of one species’; that sort of thinking has caused a lot of trouble, especially in WA.”
Delfs said the documentary includes footage from Porongurup, the Stirling Range and around the Kalgan River.
He described the Great Southern as “a wild, ancient and richly tactile frontier”.
“The ongoing relationship between cross cultural communities and the country itself is stronger than most other places,” Delfs said of the region.
“Whether it’s foraging for food in local streams or by the highways, we are introduced to connections between place, life and story, and stories of culture in continuous transition.”
Delfs is now calling on the broader community to financially contribute to the project, to extend it from being a short film to feature length.
The fundraising goal is $30,000.
“The ultimate aim for this documentary is to prove that through the fusion of modern and ancient farming techniques, we can mitigate the traumatic damage that recent land care management systems have caused,” Delfs said.
“One of the challenges with this film has been the frustration and grief in learning what was here before and now is gone…over the years, Yoda and I have learnt certain values on country and that is you have a duty of care to everything around you; your plants, your animals and the people.”
Delfs hopes to complete the project at the end of next year.
To find out more about Fat of the Land or to donate to the cause, visit thefatoftheland.com.au