Documentary bridges tragic past with bright future

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22 June 2023

Year 6 filmmakers from St Augustine’s School, Yarraville, have walked the red carpet at the premiere of their film.

The documentary, Through our lens, is an account of the 1970 disaster during the construction of the Westgate Bridge. Through interviews with family members and community members, the school’s current and 2022 Year 6 students filmed and assembled the personal stories into a compelling account of tragedy, grief and hope.

‘We started making a factual documentary and it became a community-based documentary where the people and their stories became the driving force,’ said the school’s senior STEM teacher Loretta Le Boeuf. ‘We see the bridge from our school, and its history is an important part of our local story here.’

Production of the film and was made possible thank to a $10,000 Bright Futures grant from ExxonMobil. ‘The grant allowed our school to provide an incredible opportunity for our students,’ said Loretta. ‘Materials such as bridge building kits provided engineering experience for all our students, and the purchase of a camera and recording equipment will allow our students to continue to learn about film and photography for years to come.’

Premiere at the Sun Theatre

Held at Yarraville’s iconic Sun Theatre, the premiere was a special event for the students, their families, teachers and guests, including ExxonMobil Operational Manager, John Bourke and Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) Executive Director, Dr Edward Simons. ‘From a little spark of looking at bridges, we’ve allowed the students to run with ideas and go in-depth to apply their STEM learning to a social commentary,’ said the school’s principal Matthew Stead. ‘So many of our families have a personal connection to the tragic events of 1970 and I’m incredibly proud of what our students have done to tell their stories.’

John Bourke, Edward Simons and others at the Premiere