• Animated comedy Cooked has received funding from Screen Australia. (Supplied: Screen Australia)Source: Supplied: Screen Australia
An animated comedy written and directed by Gamilaraay and Mandandanji man Jake Duczynski, is one of five online series to receive funding from Screen Australia.
Keira Jenkins

4 Feb 2020 - 2:58 PM  UPDATED 6 Feb 2020 - 1:31 PM

When Jake Duczynski heard Scott Morrison's plans to have a replica of James Cook's ship the Endeavour sail around the country to mark the 250th anniversary of his landing, the Gamilaraay and Mandandanji man saw an opportunity. 

For Mr Duczynski, an illustrator and animator, the 250th anniversary of Cook's charting of the east coast of Australia, and the celebrations that are planned to come with it, set the scene for his 5-part animated comedy Cooked.

The series follows the ghost of Cook as he travels around Australia, joined by his friend Daringa the goat  as the pair search for a cure for Wyatt Gildt, an evil curse that is plaguing the nation.

"It's like an alternate 2020, as if the ghost of Cook was sailing around in the Endeavour, trying to undo his wrongs of the past," Mr Duczynski told NITV News.

Yidinji comedian Steph Tisdell will voice Daringa the goat. She said she's excited to be part of the series.

"My manager said to me, do you want to voice a goat, we just got this really cool request through," Ms Tisdell said.

"So I read about it and I just thought what a clever idea and I got really excited about it. It's just such a good idea.

"You know, this Koori guy has come up with a really clever way of talking about the feelings of guilt in our country. 

"it really breaks it down and lets people know that it's actually part of something bigger."

 Ms Tisdell said voicing her character Daringa, will be fun. 

"Daringa is just like a black woman," she said.

"She's just like we gotta get this sorted, we gotta get this done. And she doesn't want to be a goat."

Cooked is one of five online projects that have received a share of more than $500,000 in funding from Screen Australi this week. 

Captain Cook never circumnavigated Australia, but in 1802 this Indigenous Australian did
This year a replica of Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavour, will circumnavigate Australia to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival. Meanwhile, the first Australian to circumnavigate the country is left behind.

The initial funding for Cooked came from the Australian National Maritime Museum and Mr Duczynski said the continued support shows that the project is resonating.

"It explores how much national fervor there is surrounding 2020 and the Endeavour replica," he said.

"It asks, is all our history being told? Or have the residual impacts, especially for First Nations people, been dismissed?

"Basically I want to Trojan Horse in there with an animated comedy to make it a bit more palatable for people to digest Indigenous issues, and tell those stories through the proxy of someone who is an icon in this country."

For Mr Duczynski, directing Cooked is a new experience - he said he's worked predominantly as a solo entity and with Cooked, he's working with a huge team as well as consulting with community about what the series should bring to the table.

"I've tried to bring in as many Indigenous perspectives as possible," he said.

"Not just doing the grunt work but from the top down. It's not about a single perspective. I wanted contributions from as many Indigenous people as possible about their response to the re-sailing of the Endeavour.

"It doesn't depend on an individual perspective, we don't all share a single perspective."

Cooked is set to be released later this year.

Ms Tisdell said she's looking forward to seeing how it turns out, and wants to focus on the positives coming out of the series.

"Sometimes it's easy to fall down a rabbit hole looking at all the voices that have something bad to say," she said.

"For me, this is an opportunity to focus on the positives. It's a big thing to focus on the good. I look at who's already on board and it gives me hope.

"There's lots of support out there, if you look for it. It's too easy to focus on the bad and get stuck in it."


New Indigenous languages exhibition features untold story of Cook encounters
During the international year of Indigenous languages, 'Spoken' invites the public to learn about shared history through an Aboriginal lens.