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THE KIMBERLEY MAN and ELSTA FOY premiere on NITV this month

THE KIMBERLEY MAN and ELSTA FOY, two documentaries funded through the Screenwest and NITV Half Hour Documentary Initiative, will premiere on NITV in September 2019.

The Half Hour Documentary Initiative called for positive and inspirational Indigenous stories that are uniquely Western Australian, that would push the barriers of factual entertainment.

The initiative aimed to further develop the skills and increase the broadcast credits of emerging to mid-level Western Australian Indigenous writers, directors and producers, while sharing their stories with a national audience.



THE KIMBERLEY MAN is a story of Western Australia’s first Indigenous Parliamentarian, Ernie Bridge. Told from the unique perspective of Ernie’s grandson Jeremy Thomson, who also directed THE KIMBERLEY MAN, this documentary is a revealing look at Ernie’s role in giving the Aboriginal people of the Kimberley an unprecedented voice in Western Australian politics and insight into the fascinating obstacles overcome in the name of progress.

Fierce politics and racially motivated skulduggery put the wild into the west, transforming the Kimberley into a battleground where a fight for Aboriginal rights sought to improve the destiny of our nation. At the centre of this was Ernie Bridge. With a personality that would never quit, his is a story that every Australian should know.

Ernie Bridge was a Renaissance man; a country music star, a drover boss and a pilot. Jeremy discovers how his grandfather wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, could talk to the people and soar high above the obstacles that sought to stifle progress of Australia’s Aboriginal people.

By uncovering forgotten tapes of his grandfather, Ernie’s memory is brought poignantly to life alongside rare accounts from Aboriginal people who witnessed some of its defining events. The result is an authentic new perspective that makes sense of the ‘dirty tricks’ employed against him. Jeremy’s investigation is a personal and explosive look at how some deeply disturbing challenges were overcome by one of Australia’s first Indigenous politicians – a man who would become the first Aboriginal Cabinet Minister in any Australian Government.

Jeremy said it had always been a dream of his to tackle his grandfather’s ground-breaking story.

“Growing up, I had always been fascinated by his political fame, but it wasn’t until I got into my adult years, that I started to become curious about the journey he undertook to achieve that.

“The experience of making this documentary was a profoundly indelible one. Meeting key participants in my grandfather’s journey, from various stages of his life, was more emotional for me than I had anticipated.

“It’s still just as relevant a story now as it was back then. Times may have changed, but one thing remains exactly the same: we need leaders to take us forward, but to do so, they have to stand up and be counted.”

The film features key figures, such as ex-WA Premier Peter Dowding, Tom Stephens, a key campaigner for Ernie who was imprisoned for his involvement in Ernie’s rightful win, and Josie Farrer, the present day Member for the Kimberley. Recollections from family thread Ernie’s life into an archival tapestry of key moments and battles brought into focus like never before.

THE KIMBERLEY MAN premieres on NITV on Monday, 16 September at 8:30pm.

THE KIMBERLEY MAN is produced by Periscope Pictures in association with NITV, Screen Australia, Screenwest and Lotterywest.



ELSTA FOY tells the story of the Walman Yawuru Elder from Broome, Western Australia.

Her life was full of hurdles, but she was determined to make a difference, to be different and to change the system for Indigenous people.

Being an Indigenous woman, the odds were stacked against her, however she forged ahead to become a community leader and an inspirational pioneer in the health sector.

At the age of 16, Elsta travelled to Perth and became the first Indigenous health worker trained in Western Australia. This step was monumental for Indigenous health. Elsta brought her knowledge back to the small town of Broome and with like-minded people started medical services for Indigenous people that are still running decades on.

A maverick and a true renaissance woman, Elsta’s determination made her a 19 times golf champion, a town councillor for 20 years, a medical professional and an enduring voice for the Indigenous community.

At 81 Elsta Foy’s formidable legacy is felt across generations as she continues to fight for change.

Writer/Director/Producer Danni Booth said, “Over the years I have had so many people come to me with their amazing stories, I love to sit and listen and take in the history of these fascinating people, often Elders of communities.

“I realised that I was being told these stories for a reason, I was not just a magnet for Elders, my journey was to record them for our future generations. I wanted to let the world hear the stories I have been told.

“Elsta Foy is so much more than a 26 min documentary, my greatest struggle was condensing over 80 years of extraordinary life in to this short time.

“As a filmmaker I am so fortunate to have had this opportunity, to document one of the country’s many great Elders.

“Documentary doesn’t only have power to entertain but to educate, inspire and potentially create meaningful change. Elsta Foy’s message does all of this.”

ELSTA FOY premieres on NITV on Monday, 23 September at 8:30pm.

ELSTA FOY is produced by DNA Productions Australia with the assistance of Screenwest and Lotterwest in association with NITV.


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