SOME filming for a newly released documentary about an Indigenous woman’s struggle to reconcile two cultures was carried out in the City of Wanneroo while some drone shots were filmed in Muckenburra in the Shire of Gingin.
The Grey Line is about Helen Dywer, also known as Ellen Collard, who was taken from her biological parents when she was a baby and then given to a middle-class family in a Perth suburb.
It was only after a visit from her biological parents when she was 14-years-old that she came to realise the mum and dad she grew up with were her foster parents.
Not white, not black she walked a lonely grey line so it is not surprising the main message Helen wants the film to get across is that children like her were forgotten, excluded from the Redress scheme and some even told they should be grateful they went to a good family.
Helen’s daughter and one of the producers of the documentary, Kayah Wills said her mum did go to a good family but it did not take away the fact that her mum was taken and experienced loss of culture, loss of family, loss of identity and belonging.
Making the film had been confronting for Helen but Kayah said “all this is all she had to help her heal”.
Her mum had felt no-one cared as no one asked about the children affected by the government’s assimilation policy.
“Again, the government had Redress: but, no one she talked to knew or had any answers when she asked back in 2007 when Redress was launched,’’ she said.
They were the ‘Lost Kids’ another secret hidden by the government.
Her mum needed to have a voice for the children who had not been acknowledged.
Kayah said her mum’s land was further inland, the Wheatbelt.
“We chose the areas by the sea and the reserves as the landscape was beautiful and mum connects with land in any area of this beautiful state,’’ she said.
Her mum has lived in the country-bush for 25 years and has been living in Merredin for the past 14 years.
Kayah said the idea for the film came after she was working for a short time at a Catholic school and she wanted to do something special.
“I asked my mum to come and share her story, it was met with so much warmth and care, tears, questions of wanting to know more and hugs.
“Mum was taken aback by the love she received, so I decided to start a business called Ngaala Kwobba (mother/daughter) and I met with a web designer Chris De Marchi.
“He heard mum’s story and knew it needed to be shared, so he introduced me to Ian Hale from Backlot and then he introduced me to Scott Quayle, who came on to produce mum’s story.
“All amazing, caring humans who have taken this story and made it so beautiful.
“It was not something we had on the radar, it was such an organic process that has been so special to be a part of.’’
This is the first time Kayah has been a film producer.
“I have not had any training or experience in this field but have thoroughly enjoyed the process and all that goes into making a film.’’