HOMEGROWN director Jasmin Tarasin is determined to bring to the big screen more untold stories about Australian women who lived courageous and bold lives.
Tarasin has directed The Story Of Lee Ping, which is set in rural Australia in the 1920s and tells the story of a young Chinese imprisoned exotic dancer planning her freedom.
She meets an Aboriginal stockman Jack, who changes the way she sees herself forever. It was filmed on the Central Coast and near Castlemaine in Victoria.
"I'm really passionate about telling female stories," she said.
"In Australian cinema there's not a lot of women's stories or historical women's stories and I really feel passionate about rewriting history for young women.
"I have a daughter who is five and I want her to know that there were these trailblazers and independent strong women who were building part of our history.
"We're still on the whole James Cook scenario historically and there's so much more to Australian history."
The film will screen as part of international short film festival Flickerfest's Best Of Australian Shorts program, on April 10 at the Civic Theatre Playhouse.
The program - part of a national tour - also includes The Exit Plan, produced by James Buckingham and directed by Angus Wilkinson, who both attended Hunter School of the Performing Arts.
It also includes actress Phoebe Tonkin's directorial debut Furlough, shot in Morisset.
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Tarasin, 45, who now lives on the NSW South Coast, said she was looking forward to screening the film in the city she hasn't lived in for 25 years, but still considers home.
She grew up in Merewether and Broadmeadow, was involved in theatre company 2 Til 5 and attended Newcastle Grammar School and Newcastle High. She studied fine arts at the University of Newcastle, before later returning to study film-making at RMIT.
She has been a full-time director for 17 years, making documentaries for the ABC - including Utopia Girls documenting the suffragette movement in Australia - and SBS, plus commercials.
The Story of Lee Ping was produced by Newcastle raised Jo McNulty.
"We've got a gang of Newcastle people all coming along and it's beautiful because the Civic Playhouse, I saw so many plays there, I was in plays there, it's such a safe, creative place for me, it's amazing."
Tarasin said The Story of Lee Ping is a proof of concept film or backstory for a feature film about a circus star turned bushranger called Jessie Hickman in Denman.
The feature film - which she's been developing for around ten years and will start filming at the end of this year - will be an adaptation of the novel, The Burial, by her friend Courtney Collins.
"I was so intrigued by the story and I really wanted to make a film about it," she said.
"For females at that time there was only a few options and she didn't take any of those options, she carved her own way.
"She wanted freedom on her own terms and that was really interesting for me.
"All these independent strong women, you could be a domestic or a mother or a prostitute or something, it was so limited, but she didn't carve into doing any of those kind of things.
"I just think it's really amazing and would have been so hard. It's an amazing world, the circus in the early 1910s to 1920s and rural Australia and post World War I.
"It's very Australian gothic, it's very stripped back, everyone was traumatised. It's a very unique part of history."
The program also includes animated short Roborovski, which is about a miniature hamster seeking revenge and won the Yoram Gross Award For Best Australian Animation at Flickerfest 2021.
It sees actors Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Dev Patel step behind the camera as directors and was penned by John Collee, who wrote Happy Feet.
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