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Sun. May 19th, 2024

Internationally acclaimed short film Rola [Stone] will have its Australian premiere in Armidale on Thursday the 30th of March. Already gaining international attention, this unique film is the product of a collaboration between the University of New England (UNE) and local Anaiwan Elders and knowledge holders.

Rola is the Anaiwan word for stone and the film primarily seeks to educate viewers on the unique and vital connections that exist between geology, landscape and culture. 

The film is the brainchild of UNE geologist and palaeontologist Dr Marissa Betts. Dr Betts was inspired to make the film off the back of the destruction of the Juukan Gorge sacred site by Rio Tinto in 2020. 

The film is very much a team effort with a group of local experts assisting Dr Betts in achieving her directorial debut. 

Firstly, local Aniawan Elders Steve Ahoy and Les Ahoy both aided with local Aboriginal knowledge and Anaiwan Dreaming stories for the film. This traditional knowledge was then matched with scientific data regarding the geology of the Northern Tablelands from UNE geologists Dr Luke Milan and Dr Tim Chapman. Finally, the visually stunning cinematography that forms the backdrop for all of this information is the work of UNE staff member and professional filmmaker Mike Terry. 

Rola is destined to become a key component of UNE’s geoscience program. By emphasizing the importance of the relationship between local culture and science, Dr Bett hopes that the film will impart vital knowledge to future geoscientists so that disasters such as Juukan Gorge are not repeated. 

Rola has seen international success and recognition after winning the 2022 Geoscience Professionals film award at the Earth Futures Festival. The festival is hosted by UNESCO, IGCP and IUGS and aims to promote international awareness about the importance of earth and geoscience in future environmental sustainability. 

The premiere event will occur at Belgrave Cinema. Starting with drinks and nibbles at 5:30 pm, the film will screen at 6:30 pm. There will be a panel discussion occurring after the film concludes. 

Tickets to the event are free but are limited in number. To find out more or to book visit the UNE Event Facebook page.