Little Lebanon on the hill, a Mediterranean legacy in Tasmania.
Two sisters return to the rural pocket where they grew up, to renovate the family property and regenerate the land on which their father and grandfather planted an olive grove more than three decades ago.
A film about living not just on the land but with the land. A film about deep family roots and keeping cultural traditions alive.
Maggie AbrahamKey Cast
Project Type:Documentary, Short
Runtime:7 minutes 57 seconds
Completion Date:May 14, 2023
Country of Origin:Australia
Country of Filming:Australia
I’m driven to catalyse awareness and positive social change through my work and I intend to inspire people to care more about our planet and its inhabitants.
At this point in my career, I’m focused on discovering and telling stories relating to climate action, preserving the natural world and sustainable living practices.
Collaborating with writer and producer Tom Ansell to build a portfolio of short films and documentaries, including Abraham's Garden. Heading to Northern Thailand in November to direct and shoot a feature length documentary.
Filmmaker and mentor at Big hART, Australia’s leading arts and social change organisation.
Developing innovative and cathartic content, documenting a variety of artistic productions and collaborating with a diverse crew of artists and producers.
Delivering workshops to help young people living in rural and remote communities build personal agency, skills and employment pathways.
Content creator and filmmaker in remote Aboriginal communities with charitable organisation Desert Pea Media.
Co-created 15 music videos and 22 short films during this time.
Freelancing and managing my own film and photography business.
Diploma in Photo-Imaging from Melbourne’s Photographic Imaging College
Shot on one camera (Sony FX6) over 5 days in May 2023.
I wanted to respond to life on the hill rather than manufacture the story. I wanted to capture the raw beauty of the natural landscape, harnessing only natural light. I wanted an organic audio bed specific to the location.
Late May, in a quiet corner of Tasmania outside of Hobart, under the full moon rising, during the first frost of the year with immaculate light and just in time for olive harvest - everything lined up perfectly.
Secluded from the tangle of city life but completely engaged with its rhythms and scenes, I witnessed remarkable resilience and creativity while observing Maggie and Marion’s life up on the hill.
Scouting at dawn for b.roll and audio, the only sounds in the cold air were birdsong and my boots crunching lightly on the silver grass. As the sun rose above the surrounding peaks and the olive trees cast spindly shadows, the landscape resembled an ethereal, frosty Mediterranean and I really began to feel the sense of a Little Lebanon growing out of Tasmanian earth.
A joy to experience a renewed reverence for the tradition of an olive harvest, bringing friends together and connecting with family.
From an empty patch to a thriving kitchen garden, it’s easy to assume that the pace of life out here is slow and sleepy but the reality is quite a different story. The countryside hustle requires muscle and even more so if the purpose is to live not just on the land but with the land, cultivating a self-sufficient, sustainable homestead for generations to come. And it all needs to be done in between deadlines and the demands of creative careers – Maggie the musician, Marion the painter.
As mentioned above, I wanted an audio bed specific to the location, I didn’t use any artificial lighting and I knew even before the post production period that I didn’t want to overcrowd the visuals with talking heads, preferring to extract a conversational narration instead, which came from a single conversation with Maggie during a break from her work in the shell of a timber shack that she’s building on the property.
I also captured audio snippets of the dawn chorus hidden in trees, Pam and Sue the dogs, Liz the pet chicken, conversations at the kitchen sink and the gargle of Lebanese coffee simmering on the old stove. I wanted the audience to be there in the same emotional experience as myself, witnessing tenderness and toughness at once.
Possibly the most captivating experience of the whole process (visually and audibly) occurred when Maggie sat at her piano to explore a recently conceived composition, which she thought might work for the film. It was a spontaneous moment it worked perfectly on all fronts, complementing the sensitive, reflective mood of the film to a tee.
I believe depth of context was gained by being granted access to old family video footage, which significantly shaped the edit and how I designed the story arc. There was about 8 hours of footage to sift through but I carefully selected a few parts that I believe speak to the origins of the property established by the recently deceased Sid Abraham (Maggie and Marion’s father, an eccentric, politically driven, leftfield character) and the way in which Maggie and Marion have reconnected not only with the land but how they’ve stepped into the role of custodians, determined to regenerate the property for generations to follow and honour Sid’s legacy.