Film Student Receives Creative First Nations Scholarship, Finds Inspiration From Her Indigenous Heritage

SAE Creative Media Institute
Photo Credit: SAE Creative Media Institute. Supplied.

Chloe Bowen, an 18-year-old Film student at SAE Creative Media Institute in West End has always been fascinated and inspired by the life of her great-grandfather, James Hunham Noade, who was taken from his Indigenous family as part of The Stolen Generations in 1909. 

As one of the recipients of a 2023 Creative First Nations Scholarship, Chloe is making use of film as her medium to tell authentic stories, starting with The Stolen Generations and the Indigenous People.

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‘The Stolen Generations’ encompasses a significant chapter in Australia’s past, a time when Aboriginal children were forcefully separated from their families due to government policies. Spanning from the mid-1800s to the 1970s, this dark period in history had a profound and lasting impact on Indigenous communities across the country.

Stolen Generation children at the Kahlin Compound in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia in 1921 (Photo credit: Public Domain/Peter Spillett Collection/Wikimedia Commons)

Tracing her people’s history wasn’t easy for Chloe. She encountered numerous dead ends in her quest for information. Her great-grandfather was an orphan and the facility that housed physical records about him and other children had unfortunately been destroyed by fire.

Chloe also faced other hardships. In February 2022, South East Queensland experienced devastating floods that left over 500,000 people affected, including Chloe and her parents. 

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“I lived in my family’s house, in the granny flat, and we had to move out because I was coughing so much. I couldn’t breathe due to the mold,” she said. “When we moved, we didn’t have anything. Not even a pillow.”

Flooding on the banks of the Brisbane River, February 2022 (Photo credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Universal Deus/Wikimedia Commons)

Despite being in her final year of high school, Chloe took on casual work to support her family and replace the belongings they had lost in the floods. Balancing the demands of work and education was no easy feat, but Chloe persevered, driven by her unwavering determination to help her family rebuild their lives.

It was around this time that Chloe’s passion for film opened unexpected doors for her. She had the opportunity to collaborate as Assistant Director with renowned Director Josh Hale, who quickly recognised her talent and potential. 

Hale chose Chloe to join him at the prestigious Gold Coast Film Festival in 2022, giving her valuable experience on the set of his upcoming film, Blue Horizon.

“I was eternally grateful for the experience Josh gave me, it was amazing to still be in high school and be involved in that – it certainly helped give me a flavour for what I’m doing now at SAE,” Chloe said.

“I’d love to carve a future career in the film industry as a director or producer. I’m extremely passionate about creating authentic storylines, which inspire audiences.”

SAE Creative Media Institute in West End (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Recognising the significance of supporting Indigenous creatives like Chloe, SAE Australasia General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan, praised Chloe’s talent and determination while emphasising the importance of cross-cultural enrichment within the curriculum of SAE Creative Media Institute.

“SAE is committed to advancing reconciliation in Australia and recognizing 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,” he added.

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“I try to keep reminding myself that I’m still young. A lot of people don’t find out about their heritage until much later in life, and they regret having missed so much,” Chloe said.

A big believer in “hunting down” one’s dream, Chloe is optimistic about the future despite past challenges.

“Bad things happen but you have to look at the life lessons that it’s teaching you. Your only limits are the ones you put on yourself.”

Published 3-July-2023 using materials provided by and sourced from SAE Creative Media Institute.