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Honouring Australian Veterans through factual storytelling

Department of Veterans' Affairs

A series of six Vietnam War and Peacekeeping biographical films that acknowledge and commemorate the service of Australians who served.

  • In this project
  • Heritage interpretation

  • Research

  • Interpretive films

  • Film production

  • Video + Animation

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) regularly produces educational content to acknowledge and commemorate those who served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations. The DVA has published twelve videos under the series title of Stories of Service; covering World Wars and the Vietnam War, published on the Anzac Portal.

DVA was seeking to expand the Stories of Service series with six new stories sharing the experiences of Australians during war and peacekeeping. The first three videos focus on stories of Australians serving in peacekeeping operations to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Peacekeeping, September 2022. The other three videos convey veterans' experiences during the Vietnam war, supporting the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war in 2023.

The historical information primarily aligns with the Australian Curriculum Year 10 History strand; however, the content is adaptable to teach Australian history at other year levels. It also needed to appeal to veteran and general community audiences.

It was paramount that the people whose service stories are told remain at the centre of the narrative of each video. The presentation style in the videos needs to emphasise the 'human' qualities of those at the centre of each story, thus allowing the students to empathise with the people in the stories and explore other responses to experiences involving adversity such as courage, humour, ingenuity, resilience.

Art of Multimedia was entrusted with this task and involved our colleagues at Navin Officer Heritage Consultants in developing the stories, working alongside the DVA team. After extensive research to discover the facts and essence of each veteran's story, we crafted questions for Cheryl Pearce, Donald Barnby and Tony Ey, the three veterans we were able to film for this series. It was a real privilege to meet them and capture their story. Once filmed, we scripted a narrative bringing their perspectives into the broader account of their service and the conflicts which necessitated it. The stories of The Fab Four Nurses, Thomas Henry 'Buddy' Lea and Robert Harold Nimmo rely on expressive narration with extensive archival images and footage and a visually stimulating storytelling approach.

AOM's visual style needed to align with previous episodes, and we also aimed to produce these 5-7 minute factual films to engage the hearts and minds of our student audiences. Spending ample time creating a visual treatment and motion graphics that help illustrate the events, dates and locations and bridge diverse asset styles makes a coherent and engaging outcome.

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