Bindjareb dance group stars in Ben Elton's 'Three Summers'

Local culture: Three Summers writer and director Ben Elton (centre) with members of the Bindjareb Middar Dance Group, which features in the locally shot film.

Local culture: Three Summers writer and director Ben Elton (centre) with members of the Bindjareb Middar Dance Group, which features in the locally shot film.

When Three Summers writer and director Ben Elton was looking for a Noongar dance group to feature in his film set at Fairbridge, he didn’t need to look far.

A meeting between Elton, his producers, and Bindjareb Middar Dance Group leader Theo Kearing sealed the deal and will see the local dancers on the big screen when the film is released.

“We are honoured to have the Bindjareb Middar Dance group as an integral part of our Three Summers production and they have done a great job,” Elton said.

“They are the heart of the Peel region and to have local people playing such an important role in the film is wonderful.”

Kearing worked with Australian actor Michael Caton, WA actors Joseph Pedley and Tjiirdm McGuire to teach them several dances.

The Bindjareb Middar dancers feature throughout the production.

“From the get-go we felt like we were part of the production,” Kearing said.

“It was great to be involved from day one through to the end of the shoot.

“We were made to feel part of the family and it was such a great experience for the young boys, all my family, as well as me.

He is a genius and such a generous person. From the first day Ben treated us with such respect and we felt privileged to be part of his film. - Theo Kearing.

“Being able to work with Michael Caton and teach him one of our dances was a real honour.

“He is a genius and such a generous person. From the first day Ben treated us with such respect and we felt privileged to be part of his film.”

From the time Elton started developing the script he has worked with the local Aboriginal community with the storyline.

Terry (Koodah) Cornwall was contracted as the cultural advisor throughout the production and worked hand in hand with Kearing and his dancers.

“To my brother Mark, the executive producer, who got us involved and Koodah, they supported us throughout the whole process making it so much easier to settle into the shoot and know what was needed,” Kearing said.

Cornwall reflected on his journey with the production by saying “Ben and the whole production team have opened their hearts to us and allowed us to share our culture and stories with them”.

“To start the shoot with a fire lighting ceremony, take the actors and key production team on a cultural tour, do kotj (stone axe) making with the main cast and carry out a smoking ceremony during the shoot demonstrated to me the commitment of Ben and the team and their respect of our culture.”

Filming on Three Summers wrapped up in Fairbridge on Friday.

The film is now in post-production and set for release early next year.

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