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Development   /  Carolina Sorensen

Bridge Man

Bridgeman is on a complex journey to unite his deep connection to his PNG Yuri tribe with the rest of his identity, thro


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Clare Lewis

  • PRODUCER Carolina Sorensen



This is the story of a man who tries, through his art, to bring together two wildly conflicting cultures. Eric Yuri Yal Bridgeman was born to Papua New Guinean and Australian parents. Having lived most of his life in Brisbane, Eric is a gregarious rising star in the contemporary art world. His work is notoriously sassy, camp and racially charged. For ten years he’s been building a meaningful collaboration with his PNG family, creating artwork that unpacks his cultural narrative. A major commission by the Biennale of Sydney will see Eric bring his cousins to Australia for the first time. While building a traditional Haus on Cockatoo Island to stage ceremonies and performances, Eric will bring together the worlds he has been bridging all his life. It is a huge cultural load to bear. A film that is about far more than cultural identity, but cultural reparation and the complexities of truth-telling.

Support this project

20.10% funded
  • $100,000.00

  • $20,100.00

  • September 2019

  • 3

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Felicity Lewis $100.00
Anne Jaumees $10,000.00
Anonymous $10,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Bridge Man is a film that touches on a number of important issues through the story of contemporary artist, Eric Bridgeman and his collective, Haus Yuri Yal. Eric is based between Brisbane and Jiwaka Province, in the Highlands of PNG. Eric has battled with depression over the last decade, and through connecting with his family and art making, has found purpose, cultural connection and healing. We hope to generate valuable discussion about the complexities of living between two cultures, and the huge cultural load that Eric bears through his art practice. The transformative, empowering possibilities of art is an important thread, and through his collaboration with his family, Eric emerges as a community leader, bringing the fascinating world of one of our least known neighbours to life through his compelling story.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Gender and identity politics are a vital area for continued discussion through sensitive storytelling. Eric’s story is essentially one of bravery, he is a man willing to bring his Yuri culture to life for contemporary Western audiences, while creating opportunity and hope for his collaborators in the Highlands. We also hope to raise awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues in contemporary society, reducing the stigma often associated with these conditions.


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

Reduce the stigma of mental health and encourage people to understand better how they can help.
Promote creativity and art as a transformative and healing practice.
Bring a greater understanding of Papua New Guinean cultural practices to Australian audiences.

Through the compelling narrative of this film, we hope to show that art is a powerful and rewarding path for reconciling and exploring cultural heritage, and that it can also hold a healing power for communities and individuals.

We hope to reach as many people as possible through broadcast and film festival screenings, along with targeted community screenings and a series of discussion panels to unpack the subjects it raises.

An extensive Educational Resource kit will be created in conjunction with the film, and this Study Guide will be utilised in schools and universities to expand on the themes the film addresses.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We have opened discussions with major broadcasters, and are in the process of generating the materials required to reach out to festivals, investors and funding bodies to raise finance in order to make the film. We will set up partnerships with some key LGBTQIA+ organisations that also focus on mental health awareness raising, and would value working collaboratively with them to reach key target audiences in this field.

A key part of the process is giving Eric agency in the story telling by bringing him on as a co-director. Eric will create a videoart subnarrative with his family which will be woven in to the documentary. This innovative approach allows issues to be broached with the full support of Eric’s PNG community, with the Haus Yuri Yal collective leading the action. We have also appointed an Executive Producer with extensive experience in storytelling for First Nations as well as diverse LGBTQIA+ audiences and he will ensure cultural protocol is foregrounded in our approach.


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

We are in the early development stages of this film, so partnerships have not been made as yet. We are open to working creatively and collaboratively with our chosen partners, exploring their extensive understanding of the realms of LGBTQIA+ issues and mental health, as well as PNG cultural institutions and art programs.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

We hope they take an active interest in the cultural practices of Papua New Guinea, that they gain important insights into the complexity of living between two distinct cultures, as well as coping with mental health issues. We would hope that the film might generate engagement with a charitable partner.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will stage events, panels and screenings, we will assess the attendance and viewership figures on broadcast and festival circuits. We will also review engagement on other outreach platforms such as Instagram and also take into consideration direct engagement figures for a partner charity.