Frohe Ostern!a 26 minute documentary
The collaged history of a joyful Easter camping ritual celebrates German migrants becoming threegenerations of Australians.
Premiere broadcast on SBS Australia 7:30pm Friday 10th April 2009
Writer & Director Anna Jeffries
Producer Lacey Teh
Duration 26 minutes (26mins 13secs 14frames)
A large group of more than fifty family and friends have camped in thesame spot on Australias Murray River every Easter for the last 40years. Within the very Australian Easter tradition of camping holidays,their own German and unique rituals have evolved. They effortlesslycarry out a fixed routine of activities: nest-making for the EasterBunnys Eggs, an enormous Erbsensuppe (Pea Soup), silly Sundaycompetitions, a decadent formal afternoon tea and a magical lanternwalk on Sunday night.
Started by fourteen young German migrants in 1969, threegenerations have keenly kept these habits up and amidst a socialclimate of dying traditions; the youngest seem likely to maintain them.Time is gently explored and danced with through a goldmine ofmaterial that conveys traditions and people growing and a landscapechanging over 4 decades. Frohe Ostern! (Happy Easter!) is a highspirited micro-history that celebrates migrants becoming Australiansover 40 years and their growing families embracing the Germanheritage.
In 2001 Anna Jeffries graduated from the VCA School of Filmand Television as Outstanding Overall Bachelor Third YearStudent. Her graduating 26 minute drama China Face wascritically acclaimed; recipient of the Film Victoria John HarrisonScript Award, a Dendy Award Finalist at the Sydney Film Festivaland nominated for Best Australian Short by the Film CriticsCircle of Australia.
Now a freelance director based in Melbourne, Anna's workincludes the Australian Broadcasting Corporation minidocumentaryConservation Conscious; short-listed for theprestigious International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam(IDFA 2005). Anna has also been commissioned to makedocumentaries for the Melbourne International Arts Festival,Venice Architecture Biennale and most recently the NationalSports Museum. Anna is currently developing the 1-hourdocumentary Man Overboard and is expanding her career intotelevision drama.
Directors Statement Frohe Ostern! (Happy Easter!) represents the style of film Ivealways imagined and wanted to make. As a director I aminterested in creating both fictional and documentary filmswhere genre is transcended and true life is expressed viaunconventional storytelling.
Frohe Ostern! has well and truly been the most satisfyingfilmmaking process for me to date. From the very first meetingswith the campers through to the supportive and creative postproductionpath, each step of the process has been anenjoyable collaboration and Ive delighted in the learning andmeeting people I never expected to.
Before Easter 2006 I coincidentally met a woman who hadmarried a 2nd generation German camper and who had beenattending the Easter camps for only 5 years. Upon hearing aboutthe tradition, the idea of making a film about the campersEaster holidays captivated me due to the human spirit and visualimagery at its core. Other aspects that implanted themselves inmy imagination were a landscape being the fixed scene of nearly40 years of growing families and friendship and the naturaldevelopment of colourful and magical traditions amidstdiminishing rituals in modern Australian life.
Over the production period of getting to know the campers andtheir histories, poignant tales of migration rose to the surface.Encased in the story of their camping traditions every Eastersince 1969, is the story of the gradual evolution of identity fromGerman to Australian.
Although many tales of migration to Australia are characterisedby hardship and struggle, Frohe Ostern! deliberately celebratesthe positive aspects of migration to Australias multiculturalsociety. With Frohe Ostern! I was compelled to make a film thatis about time, place and above all, people.
Lacey Teh started her film career working as a 3rd Assistant Directoron Rachel Griffiths award winning short film Roundabout. With apassion for filmmaking and a sense of adventure Lacey theninstigated her own projects. First were some short documentaries onthe Victorian Polo Club. Then Lacey produced and starred in the shortfilm; I only have eyes for you, teaming up with Director James Teh.Lacey and James have since worked on many projects such as HarshReality for the Transport Accident Comission and the Little Deathsshort film I Like the Nightlife starring Magda Szubanski. Lacey hasproduced many music videos, the most recent being for bandsGrinspoon and Kisschasy. Lacey has also been collaborating withaward-winning Director Amanda Brotchie on short films The Girl in theWindow and Fortune (in post-production). The Girl in the Window hasbeen screened in film festivals in Melbourne, Kenya and Los Angeles.Frohe Ostern! is her first project with Anna Jeffries.