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‘Powerful and bold story’: inspiring First Nations documentary wins accolades on the big screen

The Sunshine Coast’s natural beauty and a unique Indigenous story have been honoured after finding their place together on the big screen.

Prestigious US film festival, The Los Angeles Film Awards 2023, has announced that Skate or Cry, starring Coast roller skater Tia Pitman, won the Inspiring Woman in a Film category and received an Honorary Mention for Best Documentary Short.

Pitman said she was excited but humbled by the award.

“It’s so crazy that this Indigenous Australian story has been shared around the world and appreciated by people in Los Angeles,” she said.

“I feel anxious sometimes about sharing my story, but I’ve realised through the love and support I have that it can actually make a positive impact.”

The documentary was a concept by Jacob Lydford and co-directed by David Cook and Wes Greene as part of the Sunny Coast Showdown: a talent incubator where locals win funding, support and mentoring to produce their own film and TV ideas.

Cook said making the film and helping Pitman tell her story was a pleasure.

Skate or Cry is a powerful and bold story,” he said of the film, shot on location in the region.

“Tia is courageous, and sharing First Nations stories is important, especially when it comes to (finding your) identity,” he said.

Co-director Wes Greene said the award helped prove the skills of filmmakers from the Sunshine Coast.

“I’m rapt that the film is succeeding on the festival circuit, in particular in LA – given it’s the epicentre of filmmaking,” he said.

“Likewise, it’s awesome recognition for Sunny Coast Showdown, who have worked incredibly hard and established what I consider the best professional film/TV development opportunity in the country.”

Four of the films made by the Sunny Coast Showdown have been recognised by film festivals around the world.

Skate or Cry also has been officially selected for the Heart of Gold International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival.

The Stripper Trade Off, written by Stephen Walker, won best screenplay at the Rangebow Micro Film Festival.

Slow Dating, by Adam Szudrich, has been officially selected for the Giove International Film Festival and was a semi-finalist at the Miami Short Film Festival.

Bin Day, by Ryan N Butler, has been officially selected for The Indian International Short Film Festival, the Twin Cities Film Fest and the Heart of Gold International Film Festival.

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