New Years Day 

Type: Documentary Short form (Still in Production)

Year: 2021 - 

Camera: Arri Amira



January 1st 2020 went down on record as one of the worst days in history for summer fires across Australia,& in particular the Shoalhaven region with approximately 80% of the Shoalhaven impacted or burned by fire.Summer fires ripped through properties, closed roads, cut-out all communication channels isolating manypeople, & placing families, & entire towns & terrified communities, in a life-threatening & dangerous situation. 

New Years Day is an intimate portrait of four young people Rosie, Tylah, Cassie, & Tekesa, inter-cut with vignettes of other young people in the community. Through this we examine the collective resilience of thecommunity, humility & courage amidst tragedy. 

In a society often criticized for becoming increasingly disconnected, the bush fire season showed the opposite. Shoalhaven citizens supported and relied on neighbours, volunteers, firefighters, local reporters, community notice pages, & more. They held fund raisers, donated supplies & money, hosted evacuees & thenewly homeless, volunteered, replanted, saved animals & one another’s homes. We hope this film will showcase the interconnectedness & selflessness discovered across the summer. 

Reflecting on the past 12 months & in anticipation of the year to come, what have the young people of theShoalhaven community learnt from 2020 & what will we leave behind - what will we take into the New Year2021.

See below highlight & current production version of the film. 


We (the production team) acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Yuin Nation, the land on which this documentary was filmed.

We pay our respects to their Elders past, present & emerging.


Rossie Riddick, Tylah Emslie, Tekesa Frank, Cassie O'Carroll, Allanah Wright, Charlotte Walker, Jasmine Klimiuk, Lilli Stiff-Mar, Ruby Lea 

Directed: Benny Edwards

Produced: Avalon Bourne, Lincoln Smith

Executive Producer: Katie Barry

Cinematography: Zac Hardaker

Edited: Maia Dal Berger

Sound Recordist: Oliver Brighton

On-Set Photography: Enzo Amato 

Sound Mix: Josh Bartel - Tommirock

Colourist: Joel Black - Tommirock 

Music: Genevieve Chadwick

Special Thanks: 

Shoalhaven Council 

Headspace Nowra 

Sonder Youth

BC Film Aus

NSW Government


NYD Film Screening Launch Event, Ulladulla. Approx. 400 attendees 

It is our hope that this documentary will shine a light on the resilience, courage & hope, that inspire young people to acknowledge & celebrate their own power & contribution to their communities. 

Often a part of mental health recovery is the concept of narrative therapy, where we recognise how important the storiesare that we tell ourselves. 2020 has been a hellish year for many young people & their families in the Shoalhaven, thehorrific fires, only to be followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One year on, we would like to give a perspective that tellsthe story of young people being survivors, not victims; powerful members of their community, not passive observers. 

Short Term Impact: 

~ Uplift young people who have been negatively impacted by the 2019/20 Bushfires & COVID, & unite them to stand together through this tough time. 

~ Increase understanding & awareness of the mental health challenges that young people are facing. 

~ Promote positive stories of young people, in particular women and girls, & demonstrate their resilience, strength & leadership capability. 

~ Shift community attitudes towards young people & their capacity to be powerful agents of positive change. 

~ Encourage young people to share their stories of grief, loss & challenges in the hope that they will work through mental health challenges through narrative therapy. 

Mid to Long-Term Impact: 

~ Demonstrate that young people can be powerful agents of change & that governments, businesses & schools should include young people in policies & activities that are about & for them. 

~ Improve community connectedness to improve the mental health of young people in rural & regional communities

Using Format