Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Lights, camera, action in Broome puts Roebuck Bay in the spotlight

[June 2015]

Three free filmmaking workshops were held during Broome’s dry season to help budding filmmakers develop the technical and creative skills to produce a short film for the inaugural MUD AND SALTwater SHORT FILM FEST to be held in Broome this September.

The short film festival is an initiative of the Roebuck Bay Working Group and is funded by Rangelands NRM and Inspiring Australia.

Roebuck Bay Working Group Project Manager Kandy Curran said filmmakers with all levels of experience can submit a short film that has a focus on Roebuck Bay’s natural, cultural or heritage values.

She said it is timely to shine the spotlight on the Bay through film, with the recent announcement of a proposed Yawuru Nagulagun / Roebuck Bay Marine Park and Yawuru Birragun Conservation Park in Broome.

“The first and second of our free workshops, run by filmmakers Shayne Thomson and Jaye Smoker, featured a selection of short films that showcased the marine environment,” she said.

Participants used these films as case studies to highlight how many shots are used in a short film, the range of audio techniques that are available and different genres that can be used to showcase a subject.

Ms Curran said the workshops included tips on how to use basic gear, including smart phones, tablets or cameras, to make powerful short films about Roebuck Bay.

A range of specialised filmmaking equipment was on display too; however, the most common question was: “Which shot shall I use to begin my film?”

A filmmaker of twenty years, Shayne Thomson’s advice was to start simple and perhaps a bit abstract.

“For a first time filmmaker the process can seem to be a bit overwhelming. It is important to simplify the art of filmmaking so that people get an understanding that a film is just a series of pictures with sound,” he said.

It is great to see the reaction of people in the workshop when they realise they can have a go at making their first film and how easy it can be.

The third and final workshop held on 15 June, focused on editing, with the short video ‘Who has a pen‘ filmed during the two-hour session.

Mr Thomson explained that one of the challenges of video editing is to get both sides of the brain to work together.

“One side for the technical part, the other for the creative. When those two are working right, video editing can be a wonderful thing,” he said.

Declared a Ramsar site in 1990 and listed on the National Heritage Register in 2011, Roebuck Bay is of international importance for at least 20 species of migratory shorebirds and as a site in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Ms Curran said the Bay is of great value to Yawuru people and enjoyed by the Broome community and tourists for its diverse cultural and recreational offerings, including fishing and boating, birdwatching and picnicking.

“We hope the short films will draw attention to the exceptional diversity of marine life of Roebuck Bay and encourage the Broome community to help protect its natural and cultural values,” she said.

The deadline for short film entries is 31 July 2015. See the Roebuck Bay Working Group website for more information.


1. Film making workshop in Broome. Photo provided by Kandy Curran.

2. Mudskipper in Roebuck Bay © Rick Else.

3. Mud and Salt Water short film festival flyer.