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Post-production   /  Pat Fiske

Tiger on the Rocks

The Tasmanian Tiger once roamed throughout Australia, leaving lasting connections with the land and its first people.


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Cathryn Vasseleu

  • PRODUCER Pat Fiske



The Tasmanian Tiger twists and turns depending on how it’s seen. Sheep-killing beast, or tragic victm of human-induced extinction. Ancient painting on a rock or vivid spirit ancestor. Lost forever, or a timely reminder to respect the connection between human and animal, culture, nature and country. In stunning landscapes across Australia where Thylacines once roamed, people from wide-ranging traditions share their experiences: Indigenous artists, rangers and custodians; biologists, bone hunters and archaeologists. Multiple insights coalesce to throw light on Australia’s most wanted animal.

Support this project

9.78% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $4,890.00

  • 5

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $200.00
Denise Haslem $200.00
Denise Jepsen $1,000.00
11 Donors $3,270.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinctions on earth. The ‘Tassie Tiger’ is Australia's most famous lost species. Like the Passenger Pigeon and Great Auk, it inspires compassion for endangered species around the world. Many people know something about Thylacines and their tragic fate in Tasmania. TIGER ON THE ROCKS takes audiences on a journey around Australia, posing questions about the Thylacine’s 25 million year old past, when it lived across the continent and showing how Australia’s largest surviving marsupial predator co-existed with Australia’s First People for many thousands of years. Unlike most ‘Tassie Tiger’ documentaries, this one isn't searching for a missing species, it's searching for its missing story. This is the first documentary to tell the Thylacine’s story from the perspective of Indigenous groups, as well as scientists and archaeologists. Its story resonates with issues facing environmentalists and Indigenous groups today.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We want to give people a unique way of appreciating Australia’s time-honoured natural and cultural heritage. We want to inspire audiences to want to know more about both. With a companion study guide we can provide tools for students and teachers in high schools to talk about the interconnections between nature and culture, art and science, Indigenous and non-Indigenous world-views. Study resources will reflect Indigenous knowledge of an iconic Australian animal.


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

This documentary moves debate beyond the disastrous legacy of colonial attitudes towards ‘exotic’ predators and resonates with issues facing environmentalists and Indigenous groups today. Audiences will see the Tasmanian Tiger with new eyes. They will come away with a greater understanding of what scientists and Indigenous groups are working to achieve and why it is so important. We also want to create study resources that will reflect Indigenous knowledge of an iconic Australian animal.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We will create a website for TIGER ON THE ROCKS that will have links to partner organisations and similar groups around the world, simultaneously promoting the documentary‘s message and encouraging active engagement with their campaigns and strategies for generating new ways to live in harmony with other species. There will be a study guide that is written for the Australian School Curriculum and promoted through the Australian Teachers of Media. We will design a comprehensive media strategy using social media, print media, environmental film festivals, and online journals to gain the largest possible international audience for the documentary.


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

From inception to completion the project will engage with environmental and conservation networks, Aboriginal community organisations, research institutions, and rangers’ programs, national parks and natural history museums, and archaeological research groups committed to the study and preservation of Indigenous rock art.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

Volunteer to help save endangered species. Donate to research campaigns. Sign up to petition politicians about environmental and indigenous issues. Spend time in the bush appreciating Australia’s rich ancient heritage. Teach students the full story about Australia’s unique Tasmanian Tiger.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Measures of success would include numbers of visitors coming to the website to learn more about Thylacines, invitations to film festivals, broadcast and distribution offers, promotion and screening requests by special interest groups, social media chatter and published critical commentary, interest in and designing of related programs by schools, museums, Indigenous and environmental groups.