Behind the scenes of Bangay Lore: Interview with filmmaker Jahvis Loveday, News

Behind the scenes of Bangay Lore: Interview with filmmaker Jahvis Loveday

Bangay Lore - Best of Australian Shorts 7 - Wednesday 25th Jan, 9pm & Indigenous Spotlight Shorts - Thursday 26th Jan, 6:30pm

Jahvis Loveday is an award-winning 22-year-old filmmaker from the Northern Rivers of NSW. His mob are the Dyirbal speakers of Far North QLD. He completed his Bachelor of Film at SAE Institute in 2020, creating over 12 short films and 200 online videos. His short films have won many awards across Australia including the Best Young Australian Filmmaker of 2020, best film and audience choice awards at Flickerfest’s All Shorts 2021.

We spoke to Jahvis ahead of the Flickerfest World Premiere of his new film Bangay Lore. 


Congratulations on having your short film Bangay Lore selected to screen at the 31st Flickerfest International Short Film Festival. How does it feel?

It feels like a dream come true. For the past couple of years, I have been a part of the Flickerfest’s Byron All Shorts competitions, submitting my previous short films including BAMA and Home, and now, to be a part of the Australia wide competition is amazing! I feel so grateful and privileged that Flickerfest will be sharing my story with the country, and I hope that many people connect with it.

Bangay Lore is a dramatic film and semi-autobiographical and explores themes around the polarity of traditional law and the modern-day laws. What do you like about this genre, and can you tell us why you wanted to share this story?

This true story is derived from my own personal experience navigating my traditional lore, which can sometimes be at odds with the modern-day laws. I think hunting rights are a huge issue that First Nations people struggle to find, and it is so important for us to connect to these lands, waters and skies. 

For me and my family, we feel the only way we ever get to express our culture is when it is on a stage in front of people. Rarely do we get to go out on Country, hunt, explore, learn and share, simply for the fact we don’t have any Country to do that on. It is important for the survival of our culture that we have a balance of both. 

Can you tell us a bit about the discussions, research, and experiences you drew on for the production, and what did you learn while writing the script?

I wrote the script straight after an incident where I was fined for spearfishing in the river. I was so confused, and I was hurt and let down that I couldn’t practice my culture. After I wrote the script, I shared it with my cousins, brothers and sisters, we all workshopped the idea until the story was clearer.

Then I sent it to my Uncle Dhinawan, and he gave me some great feedback, and eventually, taught us the dances for the film, as well as how to make spears and the stories behind them. 

This film was an important steppingstone for my crew.  It gave them the opportunity to be able to work with an Indigenous story, and to learn and understand the protocols around filming and telling these stories. 

Because I already have connections to the elders within my community, it was easy to draw advice from their wisdom and knowledge around the customs and procedures when telling these stories and performing these dances.

As well as writing, directing and producing on the film, this is also your first acting role. How did you find acting?

Acting whilst directing was extremely hard, more so for the fact that I was scared we weren’t getting the right shots that I had in mind. Trying to act whilst being in a directing and producing mindset was a difficult obstacle to overcome but having a crew that I know and trust helped me get over that fear. In future, I want to pursue acting more in my career. 

The film has quite a contemporary look and feel. Can you tell how you worked with your business partner and co-director Kiahma O’Donovan to create this side of the production?

Kiahma is just now stepping back into the realm of film and storytelling.  Together we created Something Deadly, a First Nations-focused production company to celebrate and preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories.

Kiahma grew up learning from the mob up in Ramingining Northern Territory and has been part of our family for as long as I can remember. I knew that I could trust his perspective.  He knew how the film was meant to play out and we worked seamlessly together as co-directors. It was about finding the communication between me in front of the camera and him behind the camera.

Kiama’s response

“It felt great to be able to get back on set.  I have a lot of memories as a kid being on the set of Tracker, Australia, and Rabbit Proof Fence, watching Uncle David Gulpilil. I think this was such an important story to be able to tell today, because this is a current issue, happening right now.” 

What do you hope an audience will gain from watching Bangay Lore? 

I hope people really understand that First Nations culture isn’t going to survive just by performing it on a stage.  We need to see real changes that allow us to have the freedom to express our culture in a meaningful and authentic way. We have lost so much, so many stories, but we can get them back, because they are written in the land, the waters, and our environment around us. 

Your production company, Something Deadly, received a Covid Development Grant through Create NSW. How has the grants assisted you with this project?

The grant from Create NSW was a primary source of funding for this project, and the first time I have ever applied for a grant like this.

As a young filmmaker and business manager it felt incredible to know that there are people out there backing this story, and that there are resources out there for people like me. This grant not only allowed me to make a film and tell my story but pay people to work with me. 

Our whole crew ranges from 17 to 25 years of age, and it allowed us all to professionally progress in this early, yet important stage of our careers. It also allowed my family and I to get up on stage and dance again, after a few years of not being able to perform. It was special that we were able to have a culturally safe space to perform, capture and tell our stories. 

What advice do you have for anyone else thinking of applying to a grant program for the first time?

It isn’t as hard as you think. What you need to know is what grant works for your project. If you are unsure, call the people at the other end of these grants, tell them about your project, ask them what might fit! If you are a young creative and haven’t yet applied for a grant, all you have to do is try.

What’s next for you? 

I am currently about to start production on my newest short film called Nahra; Nahra follows the journey of a young indigenous girl returning home after being taken away nearly eight years ago. She is faced with the struggle of re-identifying who she is, by re-visiting her traumas of the past. 

This film again is based on a true story about my family history and my three little sisters. Nahra is inspired by Euphoria and Everything Everywhere All at Once, and will be a bridge between modern-day coming of age story telling and First Nations voices of our young women. 

Moving into next year we hope to collaborate with many different people and organisations around First Nations content. We are a strong, young crew here at Something Deadly ranging from project managers, music composers, digital artists, web designers, cinematographers, indigenous liaisons and many more roles that occupy our creative minds!


Learn more about Jahvis, Something Deadly and Bangay Lore below.

Bangay Lore Official Trailer



Bangay Lore - Baŋgay Lore, meaning spear in the Dyirbal language of Far North QLD, follows the journey of a young aboriginal dancer as he struggles with the acceptance of his culture outside of the theatre. Faced with a decision, to follow the rules of society placed on him, or to follow the lore of his


Bangay Lore - Best of Australian Shorts 7 - Wednesday 25th Jan, 9pm & Indigenous Spotlight Shorts - Thursday 26th Jan, 6:30pm

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