Wednesday, 06 Jul, 2022


Raymond Salomonn makes powerful Australia Day film

News Desk |
Update: 2021-11-07 21:02:11
Raymond Salomonn makes powerful Australia Day film

Bangladeshi-Australian team create powerful Australia day DOCO First Nations film “What is Australia Day?” for Canberra Short Film Fest finals.

The amazing and provocative short film about Australia Day and their First Nations people has made the final cut for the Canberra Short Film Festival (CSFF) on November 17.

What is Australia Day? by Raymond Salomonn, starring precociously talented 8-year-old Adrita Akash and featuring the magical vocal soundtrack of Shama Rain – all of Bangladeshi origin – is in the running for a slew of awards to be announced after the screening of finalists at Canberra’s Dendy Cinemas.

Packing a punch at just over four minutes long, the documentary goes right to the heart of the debate about Australian nationhood, annual observance and memories of indigenous persecution that keep us divided as a nation.

And the film is all the more powerful for the immigrant roots of its makers.

The short film has also been nominated as a Wild Cards finalist for the International Changing Face Film Festival (

Sydney-based migration specialist Raymond Salomonn, also a filmmaker, songwriter – and himself a former refugee – says questions about Australia Day “strike at the conscience of humanity”.

“Really it’s easy to ask the most painful question for Australia… but much harder to answer it; in just 4 minutes and 22 seconds we expose the wound of Australia’s bleeding heart. When the nation celebrates its birth in the shadow of centuries of murder and mistreatment, emptiness descends on our conscience. Our dreams of nation-building cannot be achieved by celebrating the imperial theft of Australia from its indigenous people.”

Adrita Akash, a migrant child of 8, learnt about indigenous persecution at school. Growing up in a new country, her own quest for identity remains unresolved as she struggles with the moral dilemma of January 26. In the film she asks the poignant question: “The picture you are painting with Australia Day… shall I paint the same picture too?”

Raymond Salomonn began his career as an aviator in the Bangladesh Air Force, emigrating to Australia in 2003. A UTS law graduate who now practices as a Registered Migration Agent, Raymond studied filmmaking in Australian Film Radio and Television School (AFTRS). He is also an award-winning songwriter and filmmaker, with his first work, the musical film “Baba” on the 1975 assassination of Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman winning 10 awards and nominations at film festivals around the world. Raymond has dedicated the short documentary “to the hundreds of thousands of indigenous people of this land who were subjected to unspeakable mistreatment for centuries”.

Shama Rain (Nafisa Shama Probha) moved to Australia in 2020 from Bangladesh as an international student. She is a singer and vocal artist (singing in multiple languages) and takes private lessons in singing while studying concurrently musicianship at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and law at UTS.

Cinematographer and editor Shimul Shikder studied film at North Sydney TAFE and in the seven years since has more than 200 films to his credit ‘in the can’. His most recent film on the song by Rabindranath Tagore – India’s only Nobel laureate for literature – garnered 19 international awards and nominations.

First Nations film finals bookings and info:

The CSFF runs 10-25 November across three venues. Visit

Raymond Salomonn

Source: FilmInk -It is Australia’s leading and most trusted source when it comes to all things movies and the screen industry, with a foundation and special focus on the Australian film industry.

BDST: 2100 HRS, NOV 07, 2021

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