My Life as I Live It

As screened on ABC, SBS and NITV television
Essie Coffey’s Brewarrina 15 years later
55 mins 1993 Rated G

In her second film, My Life as I Live It, Essie Coffey returns to Dodge City where she and the A-Team are running in the shire elections. Inter-cutting between 1993 and 1978, the film presents the fascinating contrasts of a society in transition. Some of the kids we met in Essie’s earlier film now have families of their own and are involved in education, art and sports. Others are drifting, trying to cope with alcohol and depression. Most significantly, community programs offer the possibility of dignity and self-determination.

In this film, Essie shows the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) making a difference. Although subsequently the CDEP came under attack from the federal government, My Life as I Live It portrays the CDEP as providing meaningful work and services to an impoverished remote community. Unusually, this film was originally broadcast on both national public broadcasters, SBS and the ABC.

Screened at the Margaret Mead Film Festival, New York

Produced by Essie Coffey, Martha Ansara and Kit Guyatt

To see clips from the film go to the Australian Screen Online website  

Gary Foley’s Koori website gives more information about Essie Coffey and other indigenous leaders