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Post-production   /  Jasmine Barzani

Bendigo Street: A Feature Length Documentary

A group of squatters challenges an unjust housing system that has been shaped by dispossession and economic gain.

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Impact areas

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

INDIGENOUS

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Jasmine Barzani

  • PRODUCER Jasmine Barzani

Synopsis

DURATION: 60 MINUTES

In 2016, squatters occupy a row of empty houses that lay vacant in Collingwood while 247 people slept on the streets in Melbourne's CBD. The story of Bendigo Street inspires communities to take action against the forces that have shaped our housing system as we have come to know it.

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1.45% funded
  • $20,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $290.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • 7

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Donations

Massimo Amerena $50.00
Lucy Carman $20.00
Coco Aboukhater $20.00
sam w $50.00
Emily Johns $50.00
Laura Rodriguez Castro $50.00
Nina Storey $50.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In Victoria, 69,000 properties are left unused, whilst 24,000 people are homeless. The highest rates of homelessness are endured by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Rent is unaffordable–$100 more than the weekly income of over 300,000 unemployed people. This is the aftermath of the creation of a housing market which is designed to generate profit. The film deepens our understanding of the flaws in our approach to dwelling, inspiring communities to take action in their own ways.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Generate understanding. Challenge perceptions. Inspire action. Understanding the flaws of a profit-driven society is the first step towards realising a just future where Indigenous people have sovereignty and everyone has a safe place to dwell. The film challenges stereotypes by showing the agency of people with a lived experience of homelessness. After watching our film, we hope audiences will take action by organising their own campaigns or support existing fights for dwelling justice.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short term
-> Shifts away from the dehumanising attitudes towards people with a lived experience of homelessness.
-> Increased knowledge of the inherent incompatibility of our current housing system with a just and sustainable future.
-> Inspire direct action that challenges housing inequality.
-> Awareness of the legacy of colonial possession of land, and the continued dispossession of land experienced by Indigenous people.
-> Increased support for grassroots organisations.
Medium term
-> Increased participation in social movements.
-> Increased government investment in public housing and Aboriginal housing.
-> Significantly increased minimum wage and unemployment benefits.
-> Housing policy reform, such removing negative gearing, introducing compulsory land tax, rent caps, and squatters rights.
Long term
-> Reduced homelessness.
-> Affordable rent and livable wages.
-> All Indigenous people have a life-long safe place to live in their chosen community.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Grassroots organisations fighting for dwelling justice will experience greater interest and participation in their campaigns. Increased activity and support for these organisations will strengthen campaigns targeted at systemic change. We will establish links between the film and the grassroots organisations through:
> Community screening packages – we will offer all partner organisation’s community licensing packages, that will allow them to host screenings of the film. The packages will include a set of digital resources to help promote the events as well as a workshop guide to generate discussion with audiences.
> Sneak preview events – leading up to the completion of the feature length film, we will collaborate with partnered organisations to host screenings of a short version of the film.
> Our website and mailing list – we will share our partner organisations on our website and through our mailing list.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

1) The Institute of Postcolonial Studies: an independent, public, alternative-to-university, free education project. The IPCS offers it’s premises in kind as a space to meet and talk.
2) Dr. David Giles: author and anthropologist, is Research Coordinator for the film to ensure relevant research builds a coherent, informed film.
3) Uncle Larry Walsh: writer, Taungurung Elder and community leader, is the cultural advisor.
4) Rent and Housing Union: Will use their networks and mailing lists to promote the film.
5) Save Public Housing Collective: Libby Porter (RMIT) is collaborating with our team in our shared goal of abolishing housing systems that benefit the wealthy.
6) HUSK: A grass-roots collective that provides housing for people experiencing homelessness is assisting with fundraising.
7) 3CR Community Radio is a community controlled radical radio station who are assisting us with promotion.
8) Save Public Housing Collective (SPHC) are collaborating with us on hosting events

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

> Collectively build political power by joining an active political group or starting your own.
> Learn about radical political economy and anti/de/postcolonial theory by reading books, articles, and zines.
> Attend protests, eviction defense actions, and volunteer in a local group providing support to rough sleepers like Food Not Bombs.
> Support the ‘Pay the Rent’ scheme – a non-profit, First Nations led organisation that redistributes donated funds to address community needs.
> Donate to radical grassroots organisations run by people who are directly impacted such as the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance, and Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees.
> Vote, volunteer for and donate to a political party with a public housing platform.
> Become a member of a housing or trade union that does not collaborate with political parties or bosses.
> Squat an empty property with your mates and stop paying rent.
> Host people who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity in your home.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

A survey will be distributed to people who have watched the film and attended our events. The survey will ask:
Prior to watching the film...
1. Have you participated in a political occupation?
2. Do you support any housing related organisations? How long for and how?
3. How important to you is a political parties housing agenda when choosing to vote?
After watching the film...
1. What’s your opinion about the people who participated in the 2016 Bendigo Street campaign?
2. Did you learn something that you didn’t know before? What?
3. Were you surprised by anything you saw in the film? What?
4. Would you participate in a protest like the 2016 Bendigo Street campaign if it happened now? What would your involvement look like?
5. Was there anything in the film that you researched further in your own time?
6. Did you go to the Bendigo Street website? If yes, did you explore any of the supporting organisations websites? If yes, did you consider supporting any new organisations? Which ones?