18 September 2023

Member for Blue Mountains, Trish Doyle was thrilled to facilitate a meeting in NSW Parliament last week between local filmmakers and NSW Minister for the Arts, John Graham MLC and NSW Minister for Youth and Mental Health, Rose Jackson MLC.


The meeting was arranged so that filmmakers, Kalani Gacon, Riley Saxton and Helena Zadro-Jones could talk to the Ministers about their Mountain of Youth mentorship program and to discuss some of the broader challenges faced by emerging creatives, with a particular focus on the role of youth in filmmaking. The trio also highlighted obstacles faced through funding application processes with anomalies surrounding the distinction between metropolitan and regional classification for the Blue Mountains.


Mountain of Youth is in its second year, after an incredibly successful first run in 2022. The program aims to empower and teach young storytellers, through an immersive process that gives voice to youth from a diverse range of backgrounds and lived experiences.


“I was so proud to be in that meeting with Kalani, Riley and Helena, hearing them speak to the Ministers about the amazing, important work that they’re doing through the Mountain of Youth Program” Ms Doyle said. “Not only does their program provide a platform for creative expression but it’s also engaging youth and tackling some of the serious issues around social isolation.”


Ms Doyle said, “The response from both Ministers was incredibly positive and I could see that they were impressed with the work that Mountain of Youth are doing.”


Minister Graham said, “I was blown away by the creative professionalism of Mountain of Youth and look forward to seeing more of their work!”


The State Government is currently examining NSW Arts and Culture Policy, having invited submissions from individuals and organisations across the Arts and Creative Industries. The principal priority of the Government is to examine what’s currently working and what’s not within the Arts sector, and to look at new ideas that will contribute to growing Arts and Culture in NSW.