• Uncle Jack Charles opens up about his life away from the cameras. (AAP) (Lisa Tomasetti/ABC)Source: Lisa Tomasetti/ABC
Aboriginal actors and media figures say diversity on screen can help educate Australian audiences about the reality of Indigenous life.
Danny Teece-Johnson

16 Nov 2017 - 2:38 PM  UPDATED 16 Nov 2017 - 3:05 PM

Uncle Jack Charles opened the 2nd annual MediaRING conference in Melbourne yesterday with a Welcome to Country.

Formed in 2008, MediaRING brings together some of Australia’s biggest media organisations to develop and enhance career opportunities for Indigenous Australians in the media.

The group encompasses broadcasters, government media agencies (both State and Federal), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, trade associations and guilds, media buyers and newspaper and new media groups working together to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the media.

Speaking at the event NITV Channel Manager Tanya Orman highlighted the on screen success of the film industry and in particular the role played by Aboriginal actors Steven Oliver and Shari-Lee Sebbens in Taika Waititi’s hit move Thor: Ragnarok.

Orman went on to say: “All Australians need our stories and what a year of amazing storytelling we have had; I think it’s been quite brilliant actually.”

Cleverman actor Tony Briggs said diversity on screen can inspire our children to go on and do great things.

“When I was a kid the only people of colour I saw on screen were the West Indies cricket team. Now I’m a father of three and my kids can see Aboriginal people on TV and believe that they can do it to. It’s a beautiful feeling.”

Head of Indigenous at AFTRS Kyas Sherriff wanted to be an Olympian when she grew up, inspired by black athletes from America. However acting later became her dream and she says the importance to the Aboriginal community of seeing Aboriginal people on TV can lift self-esteem.

“Whether we are in a movie or a documentary, if the community see us, they can say to themselves we can step up and do that”.

In 2012 MediaRING, in partnership with Screen Australia and the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations launched the first stage of a two year Indigenous Employment Strategy. The current priorities are: Employment and education, Raising awareness and sharing knowledge & Advocacy.

We can finally call Briggs ‘Mr. Agenda Setter of the Year’
Rapper Adam Briggs has been announced as GQ Agenda Setter Of The Year at the Australian award ceremony in Sydney.

For more dversity on screen check out an overview of all films being screened at Winda Indigenous Film Festival hereFor special events at Winda click here.