Each year the Smugglers Of Light Foundation gives out a training fellowship to a well deserving member of the community, who we feel would benefit from gaining additional skills to further their career in media, music or arts.
Matthew Priestley
Matthew Priestley2009 Recepient
Matthew Priestley is a Kamileroi artist from Moree, NSW.

He is a director of Desert Pea Media, an innovative muti-media company dedicated to archiving indigenous culture, and educating and supporting aboriginal communities to evolve
and sustain cultural protocol.

Desert Pea have yeilded an impressive body of media based outcomes within marginalised Aboriginal communities.

Matt’s docu-drama ‘Hurt’ (1998) has garnered numerous awards & mentions at Film Festivals around the globe, including an AFI
& ‘Best Documentary’ at the 11th Australian International
Short Film Festival in 2000.

He has also directed and produced parts of the mini series ‘Knot @ Home’ for SBS TV.

An experienced and skilled community artist, with an intrinsic understanding of indigenous community and youth issues,
Matt has an impressive track record in film making, having produced and directed numerous documentaries and music clips
for Desert Pea Media in collaboration with his production partner Toby Finlayson. Smugglers of Light believe that our support of Matt’s application to AFTRS is a step toward the empowerment of Indigenous culture and story-telling through the media of film.

We wish Matt all the best in taking his skills and experience to the next stage.

Isaac Parsons
Isaac Parsons2010 Recepient
I’m a 24 year old Aborigine man from Brewarrina (Ngeamba nation) and I want to know more about making documentaries to be able to tell mine and my peoples stories better.

I have gained some valuable experience in recent years and I feel ready to take the next step up in documentary production.

I have had a successful career during the past few years as a break dancer (Bboy2ezy) winning numerous awards including the 2009 DEADLY AWARD for Dancer of the Year.

As a dancer I have toured nationally with Vibe Australia & this has given rise to the opportunity to film festival, cultural & sporting events.

I want to pursue film making as this career path will provide me with a strong voice to tell stories about my culture.

The SOL 2010 Training Fellowship was presented to Isaac Parsons at the Annual Deadly Awards at the Sydney Opera House

In November 2010, Isaac successfully graduated from the Australian Film Television & Radio School in Graduate certificate in Documentary

Natasha Lawrence
Natasha Lawrence2012 Recepient
Hi, my name is Natasha Lawrence.

I’m from the Bundjalung & Bidjara people. (Bundjalong is NSW, Bidjara is Queensland.)

I aspire to the achievements of Rachel Perkins, Warwick Thornton and Ivan Sen, but also I want to build and expand on their work by being part of a next wave of fresh, ambitious and provocative Indigenous filmmakers.

I have the passion and commitment to bring to the screen contemporary and historical stories of the First Australians.

I also aspire to tell stories from the broader community that reflect my own vision as a passionate Indigenous woman.

I am also particularly interested in the stories of everyday people, not just celebrities or those who are very successful.

Despite the many obstacles I have in my life, with my job and 3 children who I continue to raise on my own, I have demonstrated an unwavering passion to pursue my dreams and have worked tirelessly toward achieving my goals.

At the end of the day I’m just following my dreams to create and tell stories, make moving pictures and make my dreams come true by doing so.

I have now finished my Graduate Certificate in Documentary at the Australian Film, TV & Radio School and have been accepted for the Graduate Diploma in Documentary (1 year full time) as I continue to follow my dreams to become the best I can. I want to tell stories for the world to see.

Smugglers of Light wish Natasha the very best for a great year at film school. We are proud to be able to offer Tash some support as she takes the next step toward building an exciting career in the film and television industry.

Keep your eyes on this girl….she’s going places!