Directed by Anthony Ash Brennan (WE ARE CONJOLA – OUR FIRE OUR STORY)


Hired Gun TV was established in the year 2000 by Australian filmmaker Anthony ‘Ash’ Brennan.
Ash was raised in Sydney’s western suburbs, a blue-collar, multicultural environment which would shape his views on everything from music to social justice.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Ash spent his days working at Network Ten in Sydney, while moonlighting as a musician in several popular hard-rock bands. His combined music and television skills led to him becoming a Senior Producer with MTV Australia and producing, shooting and editing music videos for numerous bands. Ash honed his storytelling and filmmaking skills by producing, directing and editing short films such as ‘The Conlon’ and ‘Getting Real’. Influenced by the legendary documentarian, John Pilger, in more recent years Ash has started creating political content.
He is a passionate supporter of Australian Indigenous rights and works with the indigenous community, telling their stories through his lens. When friends in a Sydney punk band told Ash of their plans to hold a benefit concert for West Papua, Ash saw the perfect opportunity to combine his music and political interests with his filmmaking skills.
In April 2015, Ash met with West Papuan Independence Leader and two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Benny Wenda. This meeting, along with the punk movement growing in Australia, would provide the catalyst for Anthony ‘Ash’ Brennan’s first documentary feature, ‘Punks For West Papua’.
Whilst winning film festival awards in Australia and the USA, Ash is now the official representative of the Free West Papua Campaign in Australia and still holds screenings and talks around the country to raise awareness for the West Papuan cause. As there is a total media ban in West Papua, these screenings also raise vital funds to help film makers on the ground in West Papua get their stories told to the Human Rights Commission at the UN in Geneva.

Ash followed up the success of ‘Punks for West Papua’ in the same year with his very confronting short film ‘Bad Jesus’, which delves deep into the troubled mind of a drug addict.

His 30 year TV career has seen him travel the globe, working at the worlds biggest sporting events. Football, Cricket and Rugby World Cups, Summer and Winter Olympics as a producer and editor.

On NYE 2019, Ash lost his house in the Australian ‘Black Summer’ bushfires in 2019 / 2020. This tragedy was the inspiration for his latest full length documentary, ‘We Are Conjola – Our Fire Our Story’

Director Statement

WE ARE CONJOLA – DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE

‘2020 has been hard for all of us’.
How many times have we heard people say that this year?
I don’t think they realise how hard it has been for those of us in bushfire affected communities.
NYE 2019 will never be forgotten for the people of Conjola.
The whole world found out about our little paradise for all the wrong reasons.

On my little piece of dirt, Conjola Park on the western edge of Lake Conjola, 89 houses were lost. Including mine.
I wasn’t there on the day. My only solace was a video from my sister in law showing her, my brother and their dog, in a boat fleeing the flames.
A month after the fire, I was having a beer with my neighbor Adam. He told me he and his wife had lost their home plus his life’s work of sculpture, paintings and tools. He said ‘I need to start creating again so I can start to heal’.

That was my light bulb moment.

I then saw that my other neighbor Stepho, posting amazing poems on the recovery page, inspiring the community to write poetry to express their grief.
Then local painters and other writers started creating with the same effect.

It became apparent to me that art was the pathway to recovery, and as an award winning film maker I felt I needed to document this process.
Once I started preproduction, the community, who had previously closed its doors to all media, said to me that I was the one they entrusted to tell their bushfire story.

I suddenly felt an enormous responsibility to get it right. And to tell the communities story, not a story that necessarily aligned with a TV broadcasters agenda.
The result is a 1 hour 46 min documentary ‘We Are Conjola. Our Fire. Our Story’

With the help of a small crew, and the community, I’m proud to say that this film is my greatest work to date. It’s fair to say that’s also been the most personal and emotional.


I only hope for this film, is that it helps heal all who experienced the trauma of Australia’s Black Summer

Thank you for your support

Anthony Ash Brennan

Director

We Are Conjola

By comedyfestival

Film and Writing Festival for Comedy. Showcasing best of comedy short films at the FEEDBACK Film Festival. Plus, showcasing best of comedy novels, short stories, poems, screenplays (TV, short, feature) at the festival performed by professional actors.

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