A Rockhampton-based Indigenous filmmaker with a love of telling stories has been awarded the inaugural MediaRING Fellowship at a conference in Melbourne this morning.

Kaylene Butler received the fellowship which is the first of its kind awarded by the Media Reconciliation Industry Network Group (MediaRING) – a network of screen industry organisations focused on enhancing the career opportunities for Indigenous Australians in media.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated Mrs Butler who will receive a one-year professional placement with Screen Queensland and National Indigenous Television (NITV), Australia’s home of Indigenous storytelling.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Kaylene who will spend six months with each organisation advancing her career and supporting the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projects, content and story tellers,” the Premier said.

“We acknowledge and respect the proud story telling traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and want to make sure our thriving screen industry in Queensland is taking our whole community on the journey.”

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said he looked forward to hearing more of Mrs Butler’s stories which would come to life through this fellowship.

“The MediaRING fellowship is one of these steps that will deepen Kaylene’s screen industry skills to tell her own stories and be able to amplify the stories of other Indigenous filmmakers in Queensland,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Mrs Butler said her mix of cultures provided a unique story telling perspective as a proud Iman (Tree people), Gunggarrie Umbie (Woman), First Nation Australian, South Sea Islander (Tanna and Moto Lava Banks Islands) and Chinese.

“I’ve been telling stories throughout my entire career across theatre, community arts, film festivals, and TV, both in front and behind the camera, so this fellowship is another step in honing my screen industry skills and understanding how organisations like Screen Queensland and NITV work from the inside,” Mrs Butler said.

“We all have stories no matter what colour we are, and I can’t wait to help other First Nation Australians tell their stories through film and TV while staying true to our culture and identity.”

The Premier also congratulated Screen Queensland who received the inaugural MediaRING award in recognition of their leadership in advocating and promoting the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories amongst staff, stakeholders and audiences.

“Screen Queensland is creating tangible opportunities for our state’s Indigenous filmmakers and this award is testament to their leadership in championing diversity in the screen industry,” said the Premier.

NITV Channel Manager Tanya Orman said: “The world is in an unprecedented golden era of Television and Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enrich it with an inimitable touch. Kaylene’s appointment represents not only an exciting new effort by the channel to advance our sector, but the rise of a regionally based, female, Indigenous talent; this is critical to sustaining authentic and diverse ideas on the national stage.”

Mrs Butler will commence her first six-month placement with Screen Queensland in January next year before moving to Sydney to work at NITV.

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