Give up smoking or give up fitness

Community Health Videos or ‘CHOMPS’ as it is referred to, is a project devised by Skinnyfish Music that was funded by the Department of Health. It is all about tackling serious health messages throughout remote communities using comedy, music and traditional knowledge.

The result: 22 short film clips addressing issues such as drinking too many sugar drinks, anti-smoking, regular health check-ups, eating healthy food (and more), written by and for people living in remote communities.

One of the latest of the films to be released is Breathe. It follows three young Ngukurr men in their everyday lives from footy to hunting out bush. It shines a spotlight on the serious strain smoking can put on your health and how it can greatly compromise your ability to participate in physical activity.

Skinnyfish Music has a long history of working with remote musicians and their families for more than 15 years. The community health videos were a great opportunity to nurture not only the musical talents from the bush, but also filmmaking and acting.

“I’ve got to say that all of the guys we’ve worked with are just natural actors, they just do such a great job because it’s something that’s important to them.” said Skinnyfish Music Managing Director, Mark Grose.

With help from Skinnyfish Music and filmmaker Paul Williams, the films have been devised and written by people from the remote NT communities of Minjalang, Manmoyi Outstation (Central Arnhemland); Ngukurr, (South East Arnhemland), Galiwin’ku and Milingimbi (North East Arnhemland) and Nguiu (Tiwi Islands). They are filmed in language and subtitled into English.

Each community took a different approach to the filmmaking process with some clips being produced in a documentary format, some are music clips and others short comedy clips.

According to Mark Grose: “The CHOMPS project is Aboriginal people speaking to Aboriginal people about modern health issues, often told through traditional cultural context with an overall message of – ‘get active, eat bush tucker and live longer.’”

In relation to the targeted health issues, filmmaker Paul Williams, asked community members the simple question, “How would you tackle the problem?”

“In all clips, the main participants sat with me and co-wrote the script. Nigel Yunupingu is a local comedian (from Elcho Island) and he knows how much his community love to laugh, so he choose to make his story about ‘Sugar Man’ funny. The result is an immediately engaging story that everyone loves and can relate to.” said Paul Williams.

All 22 CHOMPS films are currently being released by Facebook or the SkinnyfishTV YouTube Channel and are available on USB or DVD on request.

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