Australia has always struggled with its own identity - the idea of what a typical Australian is has been under fire since the first immigrant groups arrived on our shores. As the new generation of African-Australians immigrate and are raised in Australia, the media, government and public have focused negative attention on this group, often citing the 'growing crime rate' to 'African Gangs' or as their often referred to ‘Apex Gang’. This documentary challenges these stereotypes by following young African-Australian hip hop artists based in outer-urban Victoria, demonstrating how their stories of empowerment, representation and success transcends the larger Australian understanding of who they are.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
‘Born to Stand Out’ illustrates young African-Australian people, particularly from Sudan, as positive and production members of the Australian community. This is in sharp contrast to how commercial media and politicians use language to show them as ‘gang members’ and prone to crime. Studies have shown that these widely held stereotypes negatively impact the lives of people of colour in Australia - from early education drop-out rates, to low employment opportunities to increased mental health issues. Though lower-economic areas around Australia with high populations of immigrants are often targetted by hate crimes and discrimination, all areas that have immigrants will be greatly affected by racism at some point. The hope is that this documentary will help increase empathy and understanding, and hopefully decreasing negative impact on the younger generations of immigrants and people-of-colour.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
Ultimately the goal of the documentary is to change attitudes and beliefs about young Australian-African people - to create positive representations of this group of people and decrease the consequences that this widespread racism can bring. Subsequently, the documentary will also act as a promotion for the artists involved on a local and international scale. We hope the documentary can help top-down change from policy changes to correct representation in commercial media.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Short Term Goals:
Education - creating attitude shifts through education audiences of facts vs what media/political parties have communicated.
Promotion - of artists in the film, and promote diversity in Australian music industry locally and internationally.
Awareness of effect that racism has had, and continues to have
Provide some advice, feeling of belonging for those affected
Medium Term Goals:
Provide career boost for artists.
Audiences to take action to be more skeptical of political slander and media, and hopefully use accessible means (like social media) to take action.
Encourage other young people-of-colour to pursue creative careers
Build diverse communities
Long Term Goals:
Decrease likelihood of mental health issues for those affected
Reduce violence against those affected
Widespread public dialogue and change of attitude
Media to be help responsible for damaging labels, and hopefully, legislative measure to prevent this in the future.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
We influence politicians through calling out what has been said that’s non-factual, those instrumental in labeling. We show examples and contrast with statistics. We talk to experts and those who hold racist beliefs.
We label media personality and networks that have also used damaging semantics. We approach them and show examples of media.
We influence young people by representing young people-of-colour as being cool, interesting and relatable. We work with cool brands to support this, gain finance and build marketing efforts.
We encourage companies to make more diverse employment decisions by showing information about the current state, show examples of companies who are racist in employee selection, those who are making changes and how it affects people in the long run.
We reach the music industry to be more diverse by showing the artists as being bankable. We show the current state of industry leaders and lack of diversity. We could contrast this with the US.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
We are currently in the process of securing a partnership with Dandenong Council who are extremely interested in working with the team to secure full funding of the project through the State of Victoria grants. As the documentary’s focus on representing young people-of-colour in a positive light is also a key goal of the Council, the partnership will allow the Council to work as the project’s Auspice of our potential large grant funding. They are aware that creative control lies with the filmmakers, but hold an Executive Producer role ensuring they are not liable to information presented in the film. We are also partnering with YSAS and CMY Advocacy groups, and LabCo, a music collective based in Australia and the US.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
The large goal of the documentary is to influence audiences to change negative attitudes and stereotypes held towards people-of-colour and in particular, Sudanese-Australians. We hope the public will make more informed behavioral choices after viewing the film. We also hope that audiences will seek out the music of the artists featured in the documentary.
We are working with local music groups and venues to secure events to promote the film and create opportunities for artists to interact with the public.
On a governmental level, we hope that local and state government bodies will make more diverse choices, with constituents leaning towards issues that encourage diversity.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
Discussion about topics pertaining to the documentary that is linked to the documentary’s social media/online presence.
References to the documentary on blogs/online media/social media/forums
Hashtags used to promote film being used.
Interest from brands/corporate institutions to partner with documentary including financial, in-kind and marketing.
Long term, changes in statistics of the wellbeing of young African-Australians and people-of-colour in Australia
Discussion and possible change of media and political responsibilities to not use damaging slander against affected groups
Audience size, festival acceptance/awards, invitations, a survey of response to the film.
Number of audience members/views
Length of time documentary is viewed
Survey of qualitative data in response to film
Surveying talent before and after the documentary is made