Ask questions: They may become FAQ's !
Q. Why don't you apply for a grant?
A. We operate this way to maintain complete editorial and publishing control over final results, thus honouring the confidence placed in us by the elders being filmed. Frequently in the past they've given their best then been frustrated that their messages (which are both verbal and dependent on subtle body language) have been truncated and convoluted into commercially acceptable consumer packages that look good on TV but lack raw punch. Neither do we travel with a film crew whose mere presence can, unfortunately, destroy spontaneity and/or intimacy.
Q. Who owns Beyond The Dreaming?
A. There's nothing to own. A small committee of vitally concerned people, both indigenous and non-indigenous operate voluntarily and are accountable to each other and to the Aboriginal elders involved, pooling and using their skills, experience and positions to record and publish material which will be of great help to people hungry in the future for true perspectives.
Beyond The Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Association is a tiny, un-profit-motivated group which exists to communicate stories, historical accounts and messages. It's not a business with tangible assets - and although BTD may with discretion consult other groups it is not beholden to other organisations or groups.
Q. Is Beyond The Dreaming open to suggestions? Does it take requests?
A. Ethical and reasonable suggestions and requests will be examined and considered. But we're not like the Leyland Brothers were in the 1960s and 70s, with a budget to produce commercial TV shows and films! Again let us stress, our budget is heavily dependant on incoming donations, and from within we are moderated by deep respect for Aboriginal Law and the elders who carry them.
Q. There are many books and DVDs commercially available. Do we still need to record stories?
A. So many neatly packaged commercially-available consumer documentaries just don't cut it. And too many productions have not only missed the point but contain inaccuracies and misinformation which makes elders wince, and even cry. This is our opportunity to let elders speak directly to the camera, and ultimately to viewers, for themselves - unhindered and without obligation.
Q. If there are no pressures by BTD on the elders, what pressures are there on the project?
A. Disapproval, even in this day and age, from non-indigenous people who don't yet understand the history of white 'settlement' of this country, and the devastating ongoing effect on Aboriginal people by a culture so vastly different - even whilst Aboriginal people are adapting to it.
Q. How did this project start?
A. Beyond The Dreaming came about through a direct request from a senior Pitjantjatjara elder to film and preserve messages and opinions employing this intimate format, while the current group of elders are still alive.
Government and the mining and financial sectors seem barely able to wait for many current elders across Australia to pass away, continually demonstrating keen readiness to be rid of the old ways of respecting the Land, and impatience for assimilation - the de-fusing of Aboriginal culture and the absorption of Aboriginal people into the general mix of the future Australia.
But overwhelming Aboriginal culture is just not right. This is Aboriginal Land: Always was, and always will be. Constitutional inclusion is not appropriate: TREATY is far more appropriate.