Some interesting developments – artificial intelligence, robots taking our jobs, disengaged students, Generation Alpha, words of the year, great new films, TV and books….
Previous presentations about What’s New can also be found here.
Some interesting developments – artificial intelligence, robots taking our jobs, disengaged students, Generation Alpha, words of the year, great new films, TV and books….
Previous presentations about What’s New can also be found here.
Some good films and TV shows coming up – useful for various curriculum areas…
Based on the acclaimed novel by Craig Silvey. Directed by indigenous director Rachel Perkins; screenplay by Craig Silvey. Stars Levi Miller, Aaron McGrath, Toni Collette. A young boy and his friend try to solve the mysterious death of a young girl in their country town. Opens 2 March.
Wake in fright
Based on the book by Kenneth Cook. 2 part series to be directed by Kriv Stenders – a remake of the cult 1971 film, reimagined for new viewers. A young schoolteacher finds himself marooned in a small mining town where a dangerous series of events render him a broken and desperate man.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
6 part adaptation based on the novel by Joan Lindsay. Cast: Natalie Dormer, Yael Stone, Samara Weaving. Still set in 1900, the story will give new forms to the iconic characters.
ABC shows in 2017
Lots of great upcoming programs relevant to the curriculum: http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2016/11/2017-upfronts-abc-highlights.html
ABC programs include:
Blue water empire
3 part series. Stars Jack Thompson, Damian Walshe-Howling and Aaron Fa’aoso. Combines drama with archival footage, digital effects and key interviews, to explore how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage throughout the impact of 200 years of European settlement. The series starts in traditional times, through to the arrival of missionaries, pearling and WW2, to contemporary history and politics, resistance and racism.
Two young indigenous football players from the country are chosen to play in the big league in Melbourne, where their lives are turned upside down.
Bullied presented by Ian Thorpe and Cyberhate with Tara Moss
Airs as part of National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence Fri 17 March. Ian Thorpe helps schoolchildren handle real-life situations and provides mentorship for victims and perpetrators. Tara Moss investigates the effects of cyberhate.
My Year 12 life
14 students were given cameras to document their lives during Year 12 in 2016.
Series 2. Stars Hunter Lochard-Page. Inspired by Aboriginal Dreaming stories and superheroes from pop culture. Set in a futuristic Australia, the newly emerged hero seeks to harness his power and protect others, fighting injustice to the Hairies.
Davis Stratton’s stories of Australian cinema
3 parts. Charts the story of Australian cinema and its creators, via David’s personal reflections and interviews.
New series of arts docos. Includes Shock art, The glass bedroom (Instagram artists), The wanderers (street artists).
Returning ABC shows
Anh’s brush with fame, Glitch, Cleverman, Stop laughing this is serious, You can’t ask that
iView, ABC News
All ABC channels are live streamed on iView. The ABC will double its commitment to digital-first content, with more than 200 hours made especially for iView. ABC News 24 is now ABC News.
Ceremony 26 Feb. There are some good films for various curriculum areas.
All nominees: http://oscar.go.com/nominees
Best picture nominees include:
Based on the book A long way home by Saroo Brierley. Directed by Garth Davies. Stars Dev Patel. Amazing and very moving biographical story of Saroo Brierley, who tries to find his birth family in India. Rated PG.
Based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. Directed by Theodore Melfi. Stars Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer. True story about a team of African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role at NASA in the early years of the space program. Great for STEM, civil rights, sociology and gender studies. Rated PG.
Directed by Mel Gibson. Stars Andrew Garfield. The true story of pacifist medic Desmond Doss, who was the only frontline American soldier in WW2 who did not carry a gun. Rated MA15+.
Based on the novella Story of your life by Ted Chiang. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Stars Amy Adams. Thought-provoking, philosophical and enigmatic sci-fi that deals with time and how we perceive it. A linguist communicates with alien arrivals and makes decisions that will affect her life and those around her. If you knew the future, would you change it? Rated M.
La La land
Directed by Damien Chazelle. Stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Sweet and poignant musical about an actress and a musician who fall in love and chase their dreams. Rated M.
Directed by Barry Jenkins. Stars Trevante Rhodes. Coming-of-age story of a young black man’s struggle to find himself whilst growing up in Miami – a timeless story of self-discovery and connection. Rated M.
Best animated film nominees
Kubo and the two strings; Moana; My life as a zucchini; The red turtle; Zootopia.
Foreign language film nominations
Includes Australia’s first nomination in this category for Tanna. Set in Vanuatu, a young couple’s plan to wed is thwarted by rival chiefs. Also includes A man called Ove (Sweden).
Something for everyone!
Ok it had to happen…your bot shopping experience is here! The Kmart Buddy bot will help you with suggestions this Xmas. Search for Buddy in Facebook Messenger. Specify what you want and Buddy presents web pages where you can buy the goods online.
Digital Inclusion Index Report
Produced by Swinburne University of Technology and Telstra in August. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index measures the extent of digital inclusion in Australia – access, affordability and digital ability. No surprise – Australians are spending more time and doing more online. The highest-scoring state is ACT, followed by Victoria. Groups with high digital inclusion include those who speak other languages. Those with low levels of income, education and employment are less included. Indigenous Australians and people with disability have low but improving inclusion. The gender gap is narrow but there is a marked difference in attitudes towards learning new technology. Geography also plays a critical role – inclusion is higher in capital cities than country areas. Access and affordability can be barriers but a person’s digital ability (attitudes, skills, activities, safety concerns) also has a large impact. The Index will help inform and promote policy and programs to enhance digital inclusion in Australia.
Born Digital 2016
Born Digital 2016, the National and State Libraries Australasia conference in August, explored the collection and preservation of digital content via video interviews with experts. Topics included Science and space; Indigenous voices; Digital lifestyles; Video games.
Why it’s important to preserve video games: http://www.nsla.org.au/news/borndigital2016-day-5-play
Truth and history with John Birmingham – libraries need to preserve digital content such as Facebook, blogs and tweets: http://www.nsla.org.au/news/borndigital2016-day-3-truth-and-history
The NBN GranTechie Report: the new wave of silver surfers
This Sept 2016 report shows that access to fast broadband, NBN and smart devices is redefining how older Australians are using the internet and debunks myths that they are not using technology to connect and learn. 72% of grandparents say the internet makes them feel more educated, more purposeful (66%) and more connected (85%). 93% go online every day; 79% use technology to stay connected with family and friends; 59% use the internet for online shopping; 72% couldn’t imagine life without the internet. And 49% of 18-34 year olds believe older generations are just as savvy as them when it comes to technology and the internet. Go Nan and Pop!
Good books and reviews: https://startsat60.com/category/stories/entertain/books
Google Expeditions adds 50 new tours for schools
There are now over 400 virtual reality field trips, with over 100 lesson plans also available. Places include Machu Picchu, Antarctica, coral reefs, the International Space Station and a Viking settlement. Expeditions has been used by over 1 million students and is the app is available in 123 countries. Google Cardboard VR sets make the experience more immersive, but are not essential. Android and iOS.
Google Earth Timelapse
Google has updated Timelapse, their comprehensive picture of the Earth’s changing surface. First released 2013, it now includes 4 additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data from satellites, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016. Watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, glaciers in Antarctica and a river in Tibet.
View Timelapse: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Verbs
This infographic lists verbs used to facilitate technology in the classroom, from lower-order thinking skills (LOTS) to higher-order thinking skills (HOTS).
Bloom’s taxonomy and apps for the iPad: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2016/06/new-visual-on-blooms-digital-taxonomy.html
More Bloom’s and apps: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2016/11/new-blooms-digital-taxonomy-poster-for.html
Netflix shows can now be downloaded and watched offline
Rolled out worldwide last week. Enjoy an offline binge on your smartphones and tablets. Update your Netfix app and choose the downward arrow icon when browsing. Free.
18 best external storage devices for iPad and iPhone
Very useful when your device is full of photos and videos. Includes Verbatim iStore ‘n’ Go (USB at one end and a Lightning port at the other) and SanDisk Connect Wireless USB flash drive (copies photos automatically straight onto the device).
Lexar JumpDrive (USB and Lightning connectors): http://www.lexar.com/products/usb-flash-drives/Lexar-JumpDrive-M20i-USB-3-flash-drive.html
Some good films coming up for various curriculum areas – fantasy, sci-fi, war, fiction to film…..
Upcoming mystery thriller film based on the acclaimed book by Craig Silvey and directed by Rachel Perkins. Stars Levi Miller, Aaron L. McGrath, Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving. A moving coming of age story about a young boy and his Aboriginal friend who find the body of a girl and deal with racism and other terrible secrets in their small town. Due 2 March 2017.
Biographical war film directed by Mel Gibson. Stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving. Based on the true story of US Army medic Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist conscientious objector who refused to bear arms or kill, but was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 75 comrades during the Battle of Okinawa in WW2. Filmed mostly in Australia, the film received a 10 minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Opens 3 Nov.
Marvel superhero film starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton. A neurosurgeon’s life changes after he loses use of his hands after a car accident. He finds hope in a mysterious enclave who are battling dark forces bent on destroying reality and, as a powerful sorcerer, uses martial arts and an ancient guru to save the world. See it if you fancy Benedict in a “velvety neo-Edwardian uniform with an occult medallion and fierce goatee.…like a glam rock vocalist who yearns to do a magic trick in Vegas”. (Bradshaw). In cinemas now.
The light between oceans
Based on the novel by M. L. Stedman. Directed by Derek Cianfrance. Stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson. A lighthouse keeper and his wife find a baby adrift in a boat and raise her as their own – only to face the consequences of their actions several years later. Filmed in New Zealand and Stanley, Tasmania. Opens 26 Dec.
Red dog: True blue
Prequel exploring early events in the life of the legendary Red Dog. A young boy is sent to a cattle station in the Pilbara and finds a puppy in a flood. Stars Jason Isaacs, Levi Miller, Bryan Brown. Opens 26 Dec.
Rogue One: a Star Wars story
Directed by Gareth Edwards. Stars Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn. A group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. Opens 15 Dec.
Sci-fi thriller directed by Morten Tyldum. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt. A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant planet colony has a malfunction in its sleep chambers and 2 passengers are awakened 90 years early. Opens 1 Jan 2017.
His dark materials (Northern lights)
BBC series based on the award-winning fantasy trilogy by Philip Pullman – an amazing series. Set in a multiverse including Oxford, a young girl embarks on a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. No cast as yet. Series 1 will have 8 episodes. Possible launch late 2017.
Mary Poppins returns
Directed by Rob Marshall. Stars Emily Blunt as Mary, Colin Firth Meryl Streep (Mary’s cousin) and Lin-Manuel Miranda as a new character, a lamplighter. Set 20 years after the original film in Depression-era London, Michael and Jane Banks are grown up and Mary returns to take care of Michael’s children. In the new film, Mary is based more on the character from the series of books. Due Dec 2018.
Big little lies
7 part HBO series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, based on the book by Liane Moriarty. The seemingly perfect lives of a group of suburban mums begin to unravel. The series is set in California, rather than Sydney’s northern beaches. Due Feb 2017.
Good things from the ABC and some good upcoming films…..
iView Arts channel
Art, fashion, books, film, photography, music….
iView Arts programs include:
“A short-form digital complement to The Book Club – where books, reading culture and storytelling collide online”. Videos are 3 to 7 minutes.
Poetry from writers and performers from diverse backgrounds. Videos are 3 to 10 minutes.
Meet the mavericks
Featuring iconic artists, performers, thinkers, cultural leaders and all round troublemakers. It pairs guests from different generations and fields who have aspects of their work in common eg. Tim Minchin and Phillip Adams; Ben Quilty and Warwick Thornton.
Examines screen culture from feature films to web series and video art. Videos are 10 minutes.
Anh’s brush with fame
8 part series from Wed 24 Aug on ABC. Comedian and artist Anh Do paints a portrait of a well-known person whilst getting to know them and learning about their life and formative years. The celebrities also share personal photos and videos. First up is Magda Szubanski, followed by Jimmy Barnes, Amanda Keller, Dr Charlie Teo, Kyle Sandilands, Craig McLachlan, Kate Ceberano and Anthony Mundine. Anh was a finalist in the 2014 Archibald Prize.
ABC3 becomes ABC ME on 19 Sept
“The complete digital and broadcast service designed to reflect and celebrate the lives, interests and diversity of young Australians”. The channel is aimed at school-aged children and will have quality short and long form Australian and international content, with a new app that can be personalised. New programs include News to me (weekly pop culture review show); Prisoner zero (sci-fi action animation) and This is me (short documentary series). Returning programs include the acclaimed Nowhere boys, Little lunch and Behind the news. There will also be new strands that will allow children to share their ideas and opinions. ABC ME will be on Channel 23 free to air.
Good shows on the ABC for the remainder of the year…..
Man up – Looks at the disconnectedness of Australian men, mental health problems and suicide.
Jane Caro’s Compass series explores family relationships.
When TV was awesome – Short ABC archival gems get a comedy-mash-up makeover. Satirical, irreverent and shareable.
You can’t ask that – excellent insights into the lives of marginalised Australians who answer anonymous questions.
Looking forward to Upper middle bogan (series 3)….such a good show!
Some good films….
Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children
Directed by Tim Burton. Based on the bestselling dark fantasy/horror young adult novel by Ransom Riggs, which was illustrated with unusual vintage photos of children. Following a family tragedy, 16 year old Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, leading him to an abandoned orphanage on an island, inhabited by a variety of children with unusual traits and powers. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson. Rated PG. Opens Sept 2016.
The adventures of an orphaned boy who is rescued after an accident by a giant green dragon who lives in a forest. Remake of the 1977 film musical. Stars Bryce Dallas Howard , Oakes Fegley and Robert Redford. “The elemental friendship between boy and beast and a lovely affirmation of family, community, and the preciousness of the natural world” (Tobias). Out now.
Fantastic beasts and where to find them
Prequel to the Harry Potter series, set in New York in 1926; the first in a film trilogy. Based on the book by J.K.Rowling/Newt Scamander (an approved textbook at Hogwarts). Follows the adventures of writer and introverted wizard Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. When Newt visits New York for a conference, a misplaced magical case leads to the escape of some fantastic beasts and an increase in violence, fear and tension between magical and non magical peoples. Directed by David Yates (who directed Harry Potter 5,6,7,and 8). Stars Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell. Opens 18 November.
A monster calls
Based on the acclaimed book by Patrick Ness (a very moving, sad but wonderful story). An ancient yew tree helps a boy cope with his mother’s terminal illness and face the truth about an incident in his past. Stars Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson as the voice of the monster. The trailer looks excellent. Opens Jan 2017.
Some resources for all ages to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority (ACARA) and also for National Reconciliation Week.
National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June
Reconciliation is about building better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. This year’s theme is Our History, Our Story, Our Future.
Reconciliation Australia also links to:
Share Our Pride – an insight into the history, lives and cultures of Australia’s First People.
Recognise – the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and to ensure that it is free from racial discrimination.
Some useful videos for National Reconciliation Week:
What is National Reconciliation Week – NITV (4 min.): http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/explainer/what-national-reconciliation-week
2016 National Reconciliation Week (1 min.): http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/resources/nrw-60-second-video/
Who we are (8 min.) – follows the lives of 6 exceptional young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who share their stories about their families and communities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxPWd_0z3Ng
Journalist Stan Grant’s powerful speech about indigenous history in Australia (8 min.):
National Indigenous Television informs, educates and entertains its indigenous and non-indigenous audiences about the issues that matter the most to indigenous Australians. Great documentaries, news, personal accounts and perspectives. Includes Songlines on Screen (stories of indigenous peoples’ connection to land); The point with Stan Grant (current affairs through the lens of indigenous people); Jarjums (children’s shows). http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/
20 inspiring black women who have changed Australia: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2015/03/06/20-inspiring-black-women-who-have-changed-australia
Colour theory season 3 – hosted by artist Tony Albert, starts 12 June. Explores the work of 5 indigenous contemporary artists. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/24/tony-albert-new-host-colour-theory-season-3
Some indigenous works from Google Art Project: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/31/googles-art-project-brings-indigenous-talent-digital-world
SBS On Demand
A changing selection of films, documentaries and newsclips. Films with indigenous themes and issues include: Milpirri, The chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Jedda, Clouded history, The fringe dwellers, Yolngu boy, Manganinnie, When the natives got restless, Toomelah, North of Capricorn. You can also search for “indigenous” and “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” programs.
“Learn about contemporary Aboriginal culture without agenda”. Many resources in many areas including history, arts, people, economy, law and justice, politics and media, spirituality. “Creative Spirits is an amazing collection of history and an inspiring representation of Aboriginal culture”—Michele Hetherington, Aboriginal woman from NSW.
Teacher and student resources: books, movies, music, TV and radio, infographics…
There are some excellent resources listed on the Reconciliation Australia site, including these below: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/resources/
State of Reconciliation in Australia Report (2016) – Highlights what has been achieved under the 5 dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance and makes recommendations for the progress of reconciliation.
Talking to my country (2016) – Stan Grant. “An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity…. what it means to be Australian; the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an Aboriginal man and what racism really means in this country”.
Paddy’s road: life stories of Patrick Dodson (2003) – Kevin Keeffe. Explores “the life and political, cultural and spiritual beliefs of Australia’s first Aboriginal Catholic priest, land rights activist, Royal Commissioner and founder of Australia’s reconciliation movement. From the moment of colonisation in the Kimberley to the era of native title, from pearling to pastoralism, through missions and institutions, this Aboriginal family has survived an uncaring and intrusive state system”. Dodson is now a senator in WA.
Jandamarra (2013) – Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton. The epic and tragic story of Jandamarra, indigenous hero of the Kimberley. “To the settlers, he was an outlaw to be hunted. To the Bunuba, he was a courageous defender of his country. A unique insight into an extraordinary man and a dark but important part of Australia’s frontier history. Jandamarra is story for all Australians”.
Boomerang and bat: the story of the real First Eleven (2016) – Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton. The first Australian cricket team to tour England in 1868 was a group of Aboriginal stockmen. Led by Johnny Mullagh, they wore caps embroidered with a boomerang and a bat and impressed crowds with their exceptional skill.
Stories for Simon (2015) – Lisa Miranda Sarzin. “When Simon unwraps a beautiful boomerang wrapped in an old newspaper, he learns of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations. Who were the Stolen Generations and how can saying ‘sorry’ help? Through a new friendship and a magnificent collection of stories, Simon gains a deep appreciation of the past and a positive vision for the future”.
Films and TV
Cleverman – ABC 6 part series begins 2 June. Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell with an 80 % indigenous cast. In the near future, society fears a minority group living among them, as one young man struggles with his own power and the responsibility to unite this divided world. The series fuses an Orwellian/sci-fi/ superhero world with Dreaming stories. Can’t wait to see this!
Ready for this (2016) – ABC3 teen drama 12 episodes. Follows 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers, all elite in their own field, who have come to Sydney to pursue their dreams, living at performance school Arcadia House and dealing with the challenges of growing up. From the producers of Dance Academy and Redfern Now.
Mugu kids – NITV. Hosted by indigenous actor, writer and director Jub Clerc. The program highlights a number of indigenous languages, including the Arrente language of Alice Springs and Hermannsburg, the Gumbaynggirr language of Nambucca on the coast of New South Wales, and the Gubbi Gubbi language from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Each episode covers a different topic, such as feelings, animals, dreaming and school.
Part of the National Film and Sound Archive – lends DVDs of contemporary indigenous films to individuals and organisations for use at screening events.
More good reads…..
Australian Book Industry Awards
These awards are decided by industry experts who select the best titles published in Australia each year. Last year the top award for Book of the Year went to the childrens’ book The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. This year’s winners include:
Book of the Year and Biography: Reckoning – Magda Szubanski.
General Non Fiction: Island home – Tim Winton.
Literary Fiction: The other side of the world – Stephanie Bishop.
Book of the Year for Younger Children: The 65-storey treehouse – Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.
Book of the Year for Older Children: Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
Publisher of the Year: Allen & Unwin.
Independent Bookseller of the Year: Readings.
Australian Book Industry Innovation Award
Winner: The Best of Friends Social and Emotional Learning Program. The program is aimed at primary school students, with stories and illustrations by Connah Brecon, Barbara Gonzalez and Lisa Diebold. Topics include making friends, social expectations, compromise, empathy, peacemaking, conflict resolution.
The program is part of Quirky Kid Psychology Clinic http://childpsychologist.com.au/
Lots of good fact sheets and info re child psychology and wellbeing: http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/
Books and resources: https://therapeuticresources.com.au/
7 books to read before they hit the screens
The girl on the train – Paula Hawkins. Last year’s bestselling mystery – a woman watches a couple on the train each morning and one day sees something shocking. Emily Blunt to star. Opens September.
Me before you – Jojo Moyes. A young woman becomes a carer for a young man and their lives are changed forever. Emilia Clarke to star. Opens June.
The light between oceans – M. L. Stedman. The award-winning tale of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue a baby adrift in a boat and raise her as their own, with unforeseen consequences. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander to star. Opens September.
Inferno – Dan Brown. Symbologist Robert Langdon must decipher codes within Renaissance artworks in order to save the world. Tom Hanks to star. Opens October.
Fantastic beasts and where to find them – J.K.Rowling. Set 70 years before Harry Potter; the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. Eddie Redmayne to star. Opens December.
The BFG – Roald Dahl. The adventures of Sophie and the giant will be released as a film in June, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Mark Rylance. Opens July.
Big little lies – Liane Moriarty. The lives of a group of middle class women and their partners start to unravel and many secrets are revealed. The HBO series comes out in 2017, starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Some more good films…..sci-fi, fantasy, human rights, environment, history, animated…..
Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell. Created by Ryan Griffen. Stars Hunter Page-Lochard , Rob Collins, Deborah Mailman, Jack Charles, Robyn Nevin. This Australian 6 part sci-fi drama looks excellent. In the near future, creatures from ancient mythology – the Hairypeople – live amongst humans in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy them. Their only refuge is to live in The Zone. The Hairies live for more than 200 years and have a knowledge of land, culture and the past. Two estranged indigenous brothers know that there is one chosen being – the Cleverman – who has the power to bring the worlds of humans and Hairypeople back together before everything is destroyed.
In indigenous culture, the Cleverman is a conduit between The Dreaming and this world. The Hairypeople were inspired by identities in many stories across the country and creator Griffen consulted with elders from many communities. They were designed by Jake Nash, production designer for Bangarra dance company, and built by Weta Workshop (Lord of the rings) in New Zealand. Screens ABC1 and iview on 2 June.
“Cleverman is a thrilling and sophisticated drama filled with conflict, unrest and smart storytelling. The show presents an allegorical view of some of the timeliest and urgent discussions going on our world right now — our collective treatment of minority groups and what common values we share that make us a society.” – Joel Stillerman.
“Cleverman marks a new era for Australia’s production sector, inviting audiences to experience a bold new story-world where Aboriginal storytelling meets high concept genre drama. With an 80% Indigenous cast, Cleverman sets the benchmark for diversity on Australian television and its contemporary themes set in the near future will resonate widely amongst diverse audiences” – Sally Riley, Head of Indigenous, ABC TV.
Science fiction-drama. Directed by Jeff Nichols. Stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst. A father and son flee a religious cult in Texas, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special otherworldly powers. “Jangling, darkly addictive and super-mysterious…” -Tim Robey. Sounds intriguing! Rated M. Out now.
Free state of Jones
Directed by Gary Ross. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Brendan Gleeson. Based on the life of Southern farmer Newton Knight, who, after surviving an American Civil War battle, led a group of farmers and slaves in an armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Mississippi. He later married a former slave and established a unique mixed community in the south which seceded from the Confederacy – the Free State of Jones. Opens June.
Alice through the looking glass
Directed by James Bobin and produced by Tim Burton; sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, the voices of Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry, and Sacha Baron Cohen as Time (a part human, part clock creature). After travelling for 3 years, Alice returns to Underland via a magical looking glass and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Rated PG. Opens May.
Fantasy adventure directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the book by Roald Dahl. Stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Rafe Spall. Sophie befriends the Big Friendly Giant who is treated as an outcast by other giants because he refuses to eat children. Trailer looks amazing! Opens July.
Sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Written and directed again by Andrew Stanton. Stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brookes. After suddenly recalling her childhood memories, Dory sets out with Nemo and Marlin to find her family in the ocean near California. The film’s ending was revised after executives viewed Blackfish (orcas in captivity) and characters now have an option to leave a marine park. Nemo is now voiced by a younger actor than the original. Opens June.
The legend of Tarzan
Directed by David Yates. Stars Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson. After living in London, Tarzan returns to his jungle home to investigate activities at a mining camp. Rated PG-13. Opens July.
Kubo and the two strings
Animated fantasy action-comedy. Directed by Travis Knight. Stars Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara. In ancient Japan, a spirit from the past ignites an old vendetta. Gods and monsters chase young Kubo, who must locate a magical suit of armour once worn by his legendary Samurai father. Opens August.
And there’s also Captain America: Civil war and X-Men: Apocalypse. And that means battle scenes. Lots of them. Early reviews of X-Men say that it has reverted to too much CGI destruction and loss of life, rather than developing the humanity of the superheroes. Disappointing, as there is a great cast – James McEvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Lawrence. Captain America: Civil War has received great reviews, as the superheroes question their powers and the collateral damage they have caused. And if you haven’t seen Deadpool….you must…hilarious…but forget about Batman vs Superman.
Some good films….useful for biography, global studies, music….
The man who knew infinity
Biographical drama based on the book by Robert Kanigel. Directed by Matthew Brown. Stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. Srinovasa Ramanujan, a young man from Madras with almost no formal mathematical training, earns attendance at Cambridge University during WW1, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor. “Mathematics plays a key role in the story, but in a way that is entirely accessible, allowing the viewer to comprehend the advances that Ramanujan made and why his legacy remains so important almost a century after his death.” (Allan Hunter). In cinemas now.
Eddie the Eagle
Stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. The story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British ski jumper who represented Britain at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Although he finished last in his events, he became famous for his perseverance and as an “heroic failure”. He was also totally self-funded and needed to wear thick glasses under his goggles. Hugh Jackman plays his fictional coach. Eddie the Eagle was actually a good downhill skier, narrowly missing selection for the 1984 Games – he changed to ski jumping to better his chances at selection in 1988. Rated PG – a great feel-good movie. In cinemas now.
Where to invade next
Documentary by Michael Moore, who explores how countries such as Finland, Tunisia, Italy, France and Portugal deal with social and economic challenges – usually very differently to and more successfully than the US. Moore plans to “steal” these good ideas and bring them back to the US. In cinemas now.
Wide open sky
Directed by Lisa Nicol. The inspiring story of a group of children in the remote outback of NSW who follow their dream to sing in the Moorambilla Voices choir under the leadership of Michelle, a choir director with high expectations. Set in a beautiful landscape, the film explores how the children learn about themselves and their talents and also shows the exceptional teaching of Michelle. Winner Audience Award Best Documentary, Sydney Film Festival. Out now.
The jungle book
Live-action CGI film directed by Jon Favreau, inspired by Disney’s animated film based on Kipling’s stories. Mowgli sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the tiger Shere Khan. Features the voices of Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. The story is a balance between the Disney version and Kipling’s works. The film is not a musical but includes several songs from Disney eg. The bare necessities. Critics’ consensus at Rotten Tomatoes: “As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch…it is the rare remake that actually improves its predecessors”.
“An unusual blend of lifelike imagery and otherworldly animal action. The visuals are compelling, as is the story. Kudos to director Jon Favreau (Iron Man)” (R. Roten). In cinemas now.
Biographical political thriller directed by Oliver Stone, based on the books The Snowden files by Luke Harding and Time of the octopus by Anatoly Kucherena (Snowden’s Russian lawyer). Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Follows the life of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, revealing numerous global surveillance programs and invasion of privacy. Some see Snowden as a hero, others as a traitor. Stone met with Snowden multiple times in Moscow and made the film outside of the US. Opens late 2016.
The happiest refugee
The bestselling autobiography by Anh Do will be made into a film to be directed by Russell Crowe. Crowe is a big fan of the book, which tells the story of Do’s family coming to Australia as Vietnamese refugees.
Good news for STEM in Australia…..
The new National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA)
Malcolm Turnbull’s $1.1 billion innovation package (the Ideas Boom) was released yesterday at CSIRO in Canberra – “inspiring Australians to be innovative” and to take risks. The government will spend $48 million over the next 4 years “inspiring” Australians in digital literacy and STEM areas. This includes funding to upgrade teachers’ digital skills, educational apps and $13 million to boost the participation of girls and women in STEM. The government will spend $51 million over five years targeting coding activity in schools including online computing challenges for Year 5 and 7 students, ICT summer schools for Years 9 and 10, an annual ‘Cracking the Code’ national competition for years 4 to 12 and support for teachers to increase IT-related activity in the classroom. This fits well with the AC Digital Technologies.
CSIRO and other science research projects will enjoy more funding and a renewed focus, businesses will get more support for innovation and universities will get increased funding for research. The Australian Synchroton (bright light beams for research) and the Square Kilometre Array (largest radio telescope) will get $800 million over 10 years.
Tech Girls Are Superheroes
The Tech Girls Are Superheroes campaign was started by the Tech Girls Movement (TGM) in 2014. Founded by Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, TGM promotes positive female IT role models to encourage and raise awareness of STEM career options for girls. The free booklet Tech Girls Are Superheroes has 26 stories from talented women in IT, each with their own avatar. Available here:
The winners of the 2015 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero were announced last month. See their work here:
Entries are now open to all girls in years 4-12 for the 2016 Next Tech Girl Superhero. Students submit technology-based solutions for different challenges according to their year group eg. building body confidence, increasing cybersafety, reducing environmental impacts. Winners receive funding and mentoring for their idea. Entries close 1 July 2016. http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/superherosearch/
Google’s best of 2015 lists
Take a look at what has been popular in Android during 2015 – apps; games; top-selling music, movies, books, news sources; favourite movies and TV…
Click on each category to see the full list – all with links to buy now! (hmm thanks Google).
Favourite books include: Go set a watchman – Harper Lee; Fates and furies – Lauren Groff; The buried giant – Kazuo Ishiguro; Between the world and me – Ta-Nehisi Coates; Carry on – Rainbow Rowell.
Favourite movies and TV include: Paper planes; The secret river; Ex machina; Mr Robot; Fargo; Outlander; Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries; Inside out; Mad Max: Fury Road.
Favourite music includes: 25 – Adele; Currents – Tame Impala; Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit – Courtney Barnett; Fire and the flood – Vance Joy.
Best apps include Skype, Catch of the Day, Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Microsoft Word.
Google Trends – check out what we’re searching for: https://www.google.com.au/trends/