Jamahl walks the talk
YOUNG filmmaker Jamahl Bennett has his sights set on uplifting indigenous communities around Queensland by enlightening the broader community on issues affecting his people.
The former Gympie State High School student has been helping Queensland Rugby Union set up indigenous development programs across the state.
While studying for a degree in film and digital media, Jamahl followed the Queensland Reds team with his camera as they visited indigenous communities to promote the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program.
He also documented Queensland Rugby's participation in NAIDOC Week celebrations and the inaugural Indigenous Round which coincided with the festivities.
Jamahl was invited to film the first of what will become an annual celebration, and was commissioned to document the under-16 indigenous football team selected from aboriginal communities all over Queensland to play the curtain-raiser for the game.
This footage will be compiled into a documentary and be used as an educational and promotional for the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program.
While the Reds' players were proud to be involved in the first Indigenous Round match, Jamahl - the son of Monica Mitchell and Gympie's Russell Bennett - was delighted to be playing a part in turning around negative perspectives, within both the Australian and aboriginal cultures.
"There's a lot of community development going on throughout indigenous communities of Queensland," he said. "And there's a fair bit of education happening on a corporate level as well.
"I'm trying to do the same through my work in film and media. My goal is to close the gap on indigenous and social issues by turning negatives into positives... I want to be part of this movement in all forms."
On a personal level, Jamahl encouraged Gympie's young indigenous to follow their dreams.
"Don't let anything stop you from doing what you want to do in life."