Don’t be a ‘Sugar Man’

Skinnyfish Music has teamed up with members of Gurrumul’s Galiwin’ku community to create a series of videos promoting better health in remote Aboriginal communities.

In total there will be 22 videos uploaded to their YouTube channel, Skinnyfish TV as part of their initiative, with a stand out being The Sugar Man – a four minute video promoting the dangers of excessive sugar consumption.

“The Sugar Man video is part of a bigger project which we call CHOMPS – which means nothing. It has no meaning to it, it’s just that Digital Themed health stories sounds really boring.

“[The Sugar Man] is part of that project and that project was about us working with guys in the bush that we’ve been working with in the bush for 10 years,” managing director of Skinnyfish, Mark Grose says.

After recognising the problem of sugar consumption, which stems from the alarming fact that it’s cheaper to buy a bottle of soft drink than clean drinking water, the Skinnyfish team gathered their resources and sat down with Nigel Yunupingu.

“So then that process developed into people like Nigel sitting down with a film-maker and then developing a script and then filming it,” Mark explains.

“So it’s essentially the community’s ideas, the community’s relief that they, if given the opportunity, can tackle the issues themselves and it’s just rare that people are given that opportunity.

“Usually they have some message imposed on them that’s totally irrelevant to their own life and their own view of the world.

“There’s a whole culture now in remote communities of kids who can just barely walk consuming a very famous brand of cola for breakfast.”

Not only does the film convey an important message; it’s done in a light-hearted and comedic manner with credit to Nigel for scripting and playing the main character.

“We knew when we spoke to Nigel that he would come up with some comedic way to approach this. We knew that as soon as his community saw that he was involved with something it was going to be funny,” Mark says.

“The fact that it’s funny doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a serious message.”

Since its release just before Christmas, health centres from across Australia have been asking for copies of the segments to use in their own communities.

“My view is that what Nigel and Paul, the film-maker, have created is something so relevant to everyone,” Mark says.

“Just because it’s in a remote community doesn’t mean that it’s not relevant to non-Indigenous people in Melbourne and Sydney.

“The message is just straightforward. Too much sugar, too much of those soft drinks, and it’s just going to kill you. The response so far has been fantastic, just absolutely fantastic.”

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