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Post-production   /  Ivan O'Mahoney

The Folau Effect

A freedoms warrior to some, a homophobic bigot to others - what Israel Folau's case says about Australia


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Nel Minchin

  • PRODUCER Ivan O'Mahoney



When Israel Folau posted his infamous 'gays will go to hell unless they repent' messages to social media, it ended his career, brought Rugby Australia to its knees and divided the nation in the process. Folau, by choice or otherwise, became an instant pawn in the culture wars in which only those with a megaphone are heard.

Many in the Pasifika diaspora were frustrated that their voices - arguably the voices of the people most effected by it all - were entirely dismissed or ignored. In the Folau Effect we will hear from them - rugby players, queer and straight, and other Pasifika voices with much to say about faith, football and sexuality.

It is an effort to combat the simplification of issues at play in Israel's story - in order to improve empathy and understanding on both sides. Because if we don't, then how can we profess to promote diversity and inclusion in the same breath?

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0% funded
  • $133,162.00

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  • November 2022

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

How do we resolve and undo the polarization that can ensue when modern societal values such as inclusion and diversity happen to clash?


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We agree with journalist Amanda Ripley, who in her seminal piece 'Complicating the Narratives,' said that the media have escalated conflict and snuffed the complexity out of the conversation, making our audiences close down in judgment and indignation instead. We have, in essence, abrogated our power to help people out of conflict. When, on the other hand, people encounter complexity they become more curious and less closed off to new information. They listen. That's our impact vision.


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

1) To improve the understanding of Pasifika culture, especially in terms of faith and sexuality, among the public and sporting bodies.

2) To change the wider public's perception that the Pacific Islands and its diaspora are entirely mono cultural, staunchly conservative and lack a diverse set of opinions on matters such as faith and sexuality.

3) The improvement of the quality of the discourse around polarizing issues by encouraging a complicating of the narrative.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

by its broadcast on national television and its wider distribution


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

They have re-affirmed the need to produce this film in a manner that despite its challenging subject matter is respectful of culture, the film's contributors and is made in partnership with the community in as far as possible in order to create a platform of acceptance rather than potential dismissal. We have developed a cultural duty of care statement which is constantly under review and being updated, including as a result of the project's Talanoas.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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


Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

It i snot easy not measure success when the goal is raising greater awareness of issues and a change in the manner that we discuss polarizing matters such as Folau's case. We will closely monitor the discourse following release of the film in the media, online and through social media. We will especially be looking for those 'I had no idea' moments and anything signalling attitude shifts.