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Number One Fan -
Laurie Nichols


Featuring the music of Joseph Tawadros



In Australia’s first bilingual Arabic/English film, four elders give eye-witness accounts of the tumultuous days of Al Nakba, the catastrophe, May 15th, 1948, and its aftermath. As children and young adults, they and their families were among 750,000 Palestinians fleeing for their lives, in the drive to enlarge the recently created State of Israel.

The stories told by these speakers are poignant, unexpected and sometimes surprising, expressing not only the tragedies but also the small miracles which occur in a human catastrophe of such dimensions. Prevented from returning to their homes, the speakers lived as refugees, eventually making their way to Australia. Their continued longing to see their homeland eloquently expresses the feelings of the dispossessed everywhere, and gives this film a universal dimension.

24 mins PAL digibeta/DVD 2005
Fadia Abboud [Order]
Music Joseph Tawadros  
Photography Dominika Ferenz

Festival Screenings:

Sydney Film Festival
Brisbane International Film Festival
Sydney Arab Film Festival
Flickerfest International Short Film Festival
Chicago Palestine Film Festival
UNHCR Refugee Film Festival (Cambodia-Japan)
Washington DC Palestine Centre Summer Series

Editing Katrina Barker

Martha Ansara

Sohail Dahdal



As broadcast on the ABC and NITV
Screened on National Indigenous Television 2007

In 1978, the ground-breaking documentary MY SURVIVAL AS AN ABORIGINAL (1978) rocked Australia and the world with its presentation of atrocities and hardships committed against Aboriginal people. Winning prizes around the world, the film was broadcast overseas, shown on the ABC and used widely in Australian education. Today it is featured on the Australian Screen website which describes the film as challenging, and says, “"Though a call to justice, it is also tempered with beauty, and the audience is allowed to glimpse the private world of the Essie Coffey and the people of Brewarrina, N.S.W.” Country and Western songs performed by Coffey are also a rich element of the documentary".

MY SURVIVAL AS AN ABORIGINAL directed by Essie Coffey, was one of the first Australian films where an Indigenous Australian was able to decide how she and her community would be represented. It was also the first Australian film directed by an Indigenous woman. Through her films, Essie Coffey's voice reaches across time to continue the ongoing fight for the rights of Indigenous peoples.

49 mins 16mm/video/DVD •- PAL & NTSC - Rated G - 1978
Essie Coffey [Order]
Music Songs include: "Bush Queen" by Essie Coffey
Photography Martha Ansara,

Awards include

Sydney Film Festival - Winner Best Documentary & Rouben Mamoulian Award

Cinema du Reel, Paris - First Prize

Screened on ABC Television and the BBC

Editing Kit Guyatt

Martha Ansara, Alec Morgan

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


As broadcast on the ABC, SBS and NITV
Screened on National Indigenous Television 2007

In her second film, MY LIFE AS I LIVE IT (1993), Essie Coffey returns to her home in 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 the 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 us the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) making a real difference. Although the CDEP has now come 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.

55 mins Digibeta/ VHS/DVD •- PAL & NTSC - Rated G - 1993
A film by
Essie Coffey with Martha Ansara and Kit Guyatt
Editor Kit Guyatt [Order]
Photography Martha Ansara,


Screened on ABC & SBS Television and at the Margaret Mead Festiva, New York

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


It was terrific.
Great memories.
Made me cry."
- Arthur Beetson


Visit Laurie on you tube
to see
a clip from the film.

Don’t forget to come back and buy the DVD!

For three decades until his death in 2000 Laurie Nichols could be seen prowling the sidelines at Tigers games and punching the air in support of the team. Generally wearing nothing but a singlet he became a much-loved part of the team and the atmosphere of game day.
‘You wouldn’t get a person more committed, not even in marriage. This bloke was dead-set ALL Balmain’ Benny Elias
‘Number One Fan’ follows Laurie’s journey from the time he was proclaimed as Balmain’s number one fan following the 1969 grand final, through his still-singleted jaunts to England with the Australian team and into the mountains to his hometown of Springwood.
A renowned mischief maker and larrikin, Laurie’s famous friends recount one of rugby league’s funniest stories involving Laurie, a train seat and a cat in a basket. Finally the film ends with Laurie’s great fight to save the Balmain Tigers during the Super League war.
The thing that kept Laurie going, his reason for living, was the ‘Tiges’, but there were a lot of Laurie Nichols. A lot of people who felt that way, and still do.’ Alan Jones
Laurie died three days before the first game Balmain played as the Wests Tigers. Was it all too much for the one-eyed tiger? Did he die from a broken heart? What happened to the cat?

13 mins DVD •- PAL Rated G - 2007
Jolyon Hoff

Ballad Films • Martha Ansara ABN 52 199 403 779

1 Hampden Street Hurlstone Park NSW 2193 Australia
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