Bernard Namok Junior Let It Fly

Let It Fly

Andrew McLellan, 7th November 2019
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Bernard Namok Senior designed the Torres Strait Flag, 27 years ago, but despite its continued use, it’s still not clear who owns the copyright to the design.

Join Bernard Namok Junior as he embarks on a journey to resolve the copyright issues surrounding the flag that his father designed.

Produced by Bernard Namok Junior of TEABBA, Darwin.
Supervising Production by Lynda McCaffery.
 
Broadcasting this on your station? Email crn@cbaa.org.au for audio and cue sheets.
Bernard Namok Junior Let It FlyIMAGE: Bernard flying the flag.
When I first heard that my story was selected to be a part of the National Features and Documentary Series 2019, I was over the moon and went back to the drawing board.

I wanted this piece to be similar, but stand-alone from the documentary film Carry the Flag that I co-produced with Tamarind Tree Pictures a few years back.

Every time I see the Torres Strait Flag, it reminds me of home and family.

Crossroad

June 2019: I was at the Iconic Barunga Festival Live outside broadcast when my phone kept ringing over and over. When I checked my voicemail, I learnt about the Aboriginal Flag copyright story, which had blown up.

The media were calling me to have a say about the copyright of the Torres Strait Island Flag – to which I had only basic knowledge of.

I then had to multitask between being interviewed and covering the festival.

It was really frustrating and I asked myself - why am I doing this? 

This is an area that I don’t have any knowledge around.

Bernard Namok Junior Let It Fly

IMAGE: Bakoi and Bernard Snr at the presentation with the Torres Strait Flag committee.

I know my dad won the Torres Strait Flag competition and got paid $200 and that’s that.

I then decided, right, this is the path I should explore for my feature in NFDS 2019 because surely, I will make a few discoveries!

Stay Focussed

I wanted my piece to be balanced, to have everyone’s input, but a few let me down when it came to the interviews. But I didn’t let that dampen my spirits, because I had a story to tell.

Lynda McCaffrey, my guiding light and wonderful mentor help me to shape the story and supported me when things were starting to get overwhelming for me.

Bernard Namok Junior Let It Fly

IMAGE: Bernard and mentor Lynda McCaffery.

This is my story and continues my journey in life of honouring my father’s legacy and more importantly finding out, after 27 years, who really owns the Torres Strait Flag.

- Bernard Namok Junior

Extra audio
Credits and thanks
  • TEABBA Media Service 
  • CAAMA Radio 
  • TSIMA Radio 4MW 
  • Tamarind Tree Pictures
Songs
  • Remote Area Nurse Original Soundtracks
  • Cygnet Repu Torres Strait
Abbreviations
  • TI – Thursday Island
  • NITV – National Indigenous Television

This piece was made for the 2019 CBAA National Features & Documentary Series, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

Produced with the assistance of the Department of Communications and the Arts via the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

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