Nungalinya College student Natassia on starring in ‘Sweet Country’
Natassia Gorey-Furber is a Central Arrente woman from Alice Springs. She is currently studying at Nungalinya in the Cert II Media and Discipleship course. For a number of years, Natassia’s family have been part of the college community. Her parents Alison and Michael, as well as brother Riley, are all continuing their studies this year.
In late 2016, Natassia was approached by filmmakers to star in the Australian film Sweet Country. Set in 1929 in outback Alice Springs and inspired by real events, it tells the story of an Aboriginal stockman who kills a white station owner in self-defence. He goes on the run with his wife (played by Natassia) and they are pursued across the glorious but harsh outback. Although the film cast includes well-known actors Sam Neill and Bryan Brown, most of the indigenous actors were making their big-screen debuts. Shot in his stunning home country of the MacDonnell Ranges, director Warwick Thornton says the film is “designed to break down the cultural boundaries between us and bring us together.”
Natassia explains that the film took 5 weeks to shoot and involved lots of travelling around the Alice Springs area.
“It was exciting and exhausting but lots of fun! Spending so much time with the same people meant that we felt like a big family by the end of our time together.”
Having only had her first viewing of the film with family in January, she says she is proud of the work she was able to be part of.
“I was nervous to start with but felt more comfortable because most of the other indigenous actors were family for me. The two older men are my grandfathers and the young boys are my cousin-brothers.”
Having completed her Cert III in Christian Ministry and Theology, Natassia is enjoying being back at Nungalinya College this year.
“The college is a quiet place and a break from the busyness of being at work. This is a spiritual place.”
She recently shared some insights from her experience with her Media class after they saw the film together at the local cinema.
“It was strange to see my sister and other family on the big screen,” shared Riley Furber who is also currently studying in the Media course. Warwick Vincent, Cert II Media teacher, says that “it was great for students to hear about the process of film-making from someone who has been behind-the-scenes. Natassia explained that, although you can’t see them, up to 60 people are working on the set which surprised many of the students.”
Reflecting on her experience, Natassia said “Working with famous actors was a great experience – I learnt lots from them. They also asked me lots of questions about my culture and wanted to know things like ‘How would you find water out here in this dry place?’ It was good that I could teach them something, too.”
Natassia is hoping that the skills and knowledge that she gains from her current study will enable her to begin making short films and would like to continue studying at Nungalinya College into the future.
Republished with permission. Nungalinya College is a training college for Indigenous Christians. Our vision is to Empower Indigenous Christians for effective ministry in their communities through training. Find out more by visiting our Website and following us on Facebook.
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