EMERGENCE

A documentary about Lismore's recovery

A documentary film, told through the eyes of the community, on the recovery of Lismore following the catastrophic 2022 floods, by writer/director Karenza Ebejer, and cinematographer/filmmaker Annie Benzie.

Will the survivors of Lismore’s worst recorded flood event find a sustainable future in a town built on a flood plain? What will the future of Lismore look like?

This character-led documentary will explore the effects of the 2022 Lismore flood event on the local community. It will focus on a combination of residents, council members and business owners who have been directly impacted by the shocking and devastating flood. Key subjects will also include founding members of the Resilient Lismore and the Koori Mail support teams who will provide commentary on the town’s path to re-emergence and the challenges it faces.

 

Participants will share their personal stories of survival and rescue from the devastating flood and reflect on the lasting effects of this experience. The film will show the struggle and real challenges that come from dealing with such a catastrophic event and the resilience required to move forward.

 

Lismore is known for the power of the people: the fight against CSG mining, people stepping up to support one another around the bushfires and the 2017 floods. But how long can the community sustain itself without major government input into infrastructure, housing and an environmentally aware flood mitigation strategy?

Following the stories of these participants over the next 6-12 months, this film will be a longitudinal study revealing the transformation, both physical and emotional, that will inevitably take place in the town of Lismore.

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DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

Last year, while documenting the opening of Jeanti St Clair's Flood Stories audio walks at the Quad in Lismore, I was moved by the emotional impact of those survivor accounts from 2017. Little did we know that our town would be hit by an even greater flood event within the next year that would break all records in its severity.

 

With the impact of the Lismore 2022 floods, I realised that this would be a moment that would signify a great transition for this town and my community and be the greatest challenge ever faced here. In sharing stories over time, from a place of subjective involvement, the aim is to facilitate a deep listening for the participants and provide a platform for their experience and wisdom to be heard by others.

 

I’m interested in how putting the power back into the hands of the people that live in this town, and care passionately about it, might drive a shift to a more sustainable future here considering the wellbeing of both the community and the land.

 

I’ll be collaborating with cinematographer/ filmmaker and Northern Rivers resident, Annie Benzie to capture the stories as well as gathering footage from other local photographers and documentarians. 

Karenza Ebejer

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS