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Search for ancestral lines ignites a passion for authentic storytelling

Joseph Guenzler -

Chloe Bowen is far from your typical Brisbane-based 18-year-old student; her story of perseverance and resilience is nothing short of commendable.

Ms Bowen's great-grandfather was a member of the Stolen Generations, leaving the following generations to pick up the pieces of lost culture and identity.

In 2022 Ms Bowen's family was hit hard by the devastating floods in South East Queensland, resulting in the loss of everything they owned.

In response, Chloe took on a part-time retail job while still attending school to make ends meet.

"In just over 12 months it's been a chaotic time but it's okay - I'm still growing," she told National Indigenous Times.

"I moved out by myself which was a huge step and then started Uni this year."

Ms Bowen studies at SAE in Brisbane's West End, taught by industry pros.

"The lecturers are everything you'd want. They're fun, engaging, and the lecturers have those golden stories about working in the industry, which are just priceless," she said.

"Everything I learn feels like it's preparing me for a future career in film.

"When I researched SAE I realised I could have the best of both worlds. I could go to one of the best film schools in the country, while being supported culturally."

Ms Bowen had her first break after the flood and housing situation where she was offered a role as Assistant Director working with Director, Josh Hale and recently became a recipient of the 2023 Creative First Nations Scholarship.

"I was offered a small position in an Indie film in Australia with Director Josh Hale," she said.

"Then it snowballed into me being his Directors Assistant.

"So, that in itself seriously saved everything, because with out that - I don't even know if I would have went to Uni and wouldn't be here."

Ms Bowen's future is set to flourish as she dives deeper into the tragic story of her great-grandfather, James Hunaham Noade, who was an orphan where the facility which housed all the physical records was burnt down, presenting a series of dead ends for Ms Bowen.

This tale is all too familiar for many as the current generations of Aboriginal people struggle to trace their ancestral lines due to dispossession.

"I'd love to carve a future career in the film industry as a director or producer," Ms Bowen said.

"I'm extremely passionate about creating authentic storylines, which inspire audiences."

"I've always wanted a creative and free sort of career where I can travel and explore the richness and diversities of other cultures around the world.

"Film was a very natural choice for it. I love the behind scenes work and how it takes an army (to produce a film), and being apart of something bigger.

"I love the idea that our art will last as long as the world lasts."

SAE Australasia General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan, commented the importance of SAE supporting Indigenous creatives like Chloe, and providing opportunities for cross-cultural enrichment in its curriculum.

"SAE is committed to advancing reconciliation in Australia and recognising outstanding students, like Chloe, through the Creative First Nations Scholarship," Dr McMillan said.

"SAE has partnered with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to provide SAE students with access to QUT's Oodgeroo Unit and all associated cultural events.

"This relationship gives our students a cultural space to study, build connections and community.@

Ms Bowen strongly urges young mob out there to not only follow your dreams, but "really hunt them down.

"Bad things happen but you have to look at the life lessons that it's teaching you," she said.

"Your only limits are the ones you put on yourself."

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