In honor of Earth Day, Earth Week and Earth Life, Director Tim Georgeson and editor Toddy Stewart partnered once again to craft an edit for Nowness for their #ReturnToNature programming. Tim is developing and shooting a larger piece on the topic, and this is just the first foray into the project. Jay Atwill provided the music and sound design while Aline Sinquin of Five One Color offered her services for the color. Alex Lukiianov came on board as the assistant editor while Leslie Yoon post produced.

The film was edited, scored, colored and delivered remotely during the 2020 Covid 19 Quarantine.

From Nowness:

In the wake of the worst wildfires in recent Australian history, First Nations people are using ancestral methods to fight fire with fire

Record-breaking temperatures and prolonged droughts precipitated one of the worst bushfires in Australian history, with an area larger than the state of West Virginia burning from June 2019 until March 2020. Australian filmmaker and visual artist Tim Georgeson shares his latest project, Truth in Fire—a visually stunning and deeply moving journey into the world of indigenous fire keepers.

“These fire practices have been used by Australian First Nations people for thousands of years”

In this evocative documentary short, Georgeson uncovers the knowledge of the Yuin First Nations people of Australia who practice Fire-stick farming—also known as cultural burning—to avert disastrous bushfires. A controlled burn replenishes the earth and enhances biodiversity, as well as devouring kindling, such as leaf detritus and dead wood, that leads to uncontrollable infernos.

“These fire practices have been used by Australian First Nations people for thousands of years,” says the director. “This film explores ways to prevent destruction and preserve the delicate balance between plant, animal and human life on Earth.”

“This film hopes to inspire cross-cultural understanding, support international climate movements and give a push for new legislation”

Vivian Mason is a Yuin elder of the Walbanja tribal area who provides the thought-provoking voice-over that penetrates this film. The southeastern Australian state of New South Wales where she resides—which was one of the worst affected by the blaze in the country—has been subject to government policy that ignores traditional ways of averting these forms of natural catastrophes.

“With a global pandemic following the worst wildfires in Australian history, the relevance of this film is very timely. First Nations fire keepers and the Indigenous Council have a much-needed story to tell that benefits all life,” says Georgeson. “By opening that secret world to others, this film hopes to inspire cross-cultural understanding, support international climate movements and give a push for new legislation that allows for First Nations people to participate in important ecological decision-making around crucial survival issues.”