Debbie Gilbert has a story to tell. It’s the story of her mother, her land and a goldmine.

Now Gilbert, a first-time filmmaker and proud Dykes on Bikes member, has a chance to spread the word about what she sees as the environmental and social devastation caused by mining in Lake Cowal.

The Wiradjuri Fight To The Bitter End is a five-minute documentary about the effects of mining on Wiradjuri sacred land.

The goldmine at Lake Cowal in the central west is my people’s land, so it’s very culturally significant to us, Gilbert told Sydney Star Observer.

My mother, an elder out there, asked me before she died if I would continue the fight. And the problems of mining in that area are not only cultural, but environmental.

Gilbert was one of the finalists of the Lester Bostock Mentor Scheme, which awarded small grants to first time indigenous film-makers, and appointed mentors to oversee the production process.

Peter Luck, creator of This Fabulous Century, was Gilbert’s mentor, and the two also shared a family connection. Gilbert’s uncle Kevin was a famous writer, artist and photographer, who spent 14 years in jail. Luck’s documentary about Kevin Gilbert was widely acclaimed and screened in Cannes.

I’d had no film experience. The scheme is for people without experience but who have stories, Gilbert said.

I’ve worked in corrections all my life -“ in adult jails and in juvenile justice. It was amazing to get out there and deal with some other issues. They give you a bit of training and a very small budget and that covers your crew and expenses. But a lot of people worked because they were happy to do it.

Gilbert’s film The Wiradjuri Fight To The Bitter End will be shown with three other Lester Bostock Mentor Scheme finalists at the Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, on Tuesday 27 July at 6pm. Bookings are essential on 9361 5318 by Friday 23 July.

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