Community attend local documentary screening

More than 60 community members and bird lovers poured into Fenwick Cinema to view the screening of Esperance-based documentary ‘Secrets at Sunrise’.

The film, by local documentary film makers Dave and Jennene Riggs, follows the protection efforts of Western Australia’s rarest bird and sheds light on the work by a team of scientists trying to safeguard the remaining Western Ground Parrot population at Cape Arid.

Ms Riggs said she was especially happy to see such a large turn-out considering the film had been screened in Esperance twice before.

“It was great and I was really happy with the turn out and the amazing comments and feedback I received afterwards,” she said.

“I just really enjoy standing among people from my own community and getting their feedback.

“It’s just a really nice feeling.”

Reflecting on the documentary, Ms Riggs said it featured intense highs and lows.

“Especially with the zoo breeding program, there were a lot of setbacks and they encountered a lot of teething problems because the species had never really been kept in captivity before,” she said.

“There are some really low points in the film and it’s just a huge emotional roller coaster for the Zoo, the team and the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot.” 

The film ran for 80 minutes, concluding with a short question and answer session with Ms Riggs and team member Steven Butler.

With the program having faced a number of financial difficulties following the completion of the film, Ms Riggs said funding was desperately needed to keep safeguard efforts for the bird happening.

“It’s not a good position to be in because all of these wonderful, dedicated and determined staff members of Parks and Wildlife, some of which have been working on this program for 10 years, have now been laid off,” she said.

“It seems to me that the environment is considered of the least importance when it comes to government funding and I don’t know how much more of a dire situation an animal would have to be in for it to be taken seriously.”

DVD copies of the documentary went on sale this week, with 50 per cent of all sales going back to the Western Ground Parrot recovery program.

Ms Riggs said the support of the public was invaluable.

“It all goes towards that $80,000 target they’re trying to reach and every little donation counts, it all adds up and they will get there because they are just such a dedicated and determined team,” she said.

Ms Riggs said she was very grateful to the State Natural Resource Management Program for the grant allowing her to pursue the documentary.

Secrets at Sunrise can be purchased on DVD at www.western-ground-parrot.org.au , with digital downloads soon available via www.riggsaustralia.com