Her Sound, Her Story is a creative documentary style film highlighting Australian female musicians and their unique experiences working as women in the music industry. Released on September 20th, the film hopes to inspire young femme, queer, and gender diverse musicians and aspiring music professionals to follow their dreams and let their voices be heard.
Presented in a visually striking, multi-interview format, the film begins with old interview footage of renowned Australian icons like Kylie Minogue, Wendy Matthews and Christine Anu, each discussing their experiences as young women in a largely male-dominated industry. Opening with this blast from the past offers us some insight into the goings-on of the industry all those years ago while providing a great foundation for the ensuing exploration into the feminine side of the modern-day music industry as it unfolds before us.
"The concept for this project was originally a small photographic series focusing on a well- reported gender imbalance within the Australian music industry. When Claudia came on board with a view to making a documentary, we didn’t have any thoughts of what we might find. We simply determined to ask and listen to each woman’s individual experience.” - Producer Michelle Grace Hunder
Fast-forward to the present day and we are immediately greeted with the first song of an inspiring all Australian, all femme soundtrack followed by an interesting segue into the first topic of discussion and the overarching theme of the documentary; sexism in the Australian music industry. This poses a question; “Why is the importance of women so often recognised as a trend instead of a source of lasting impact?”
The film goes on to discuss a diverse range of topics affecting women in the industry through the sharing of individual stories and experiences, with brilliant Aussie artists such as Julia Stone, Tina Arena, Jen Cloher, Banoffee, Missy Higgins and more opening up about their personal struggles, motivations and triumphs throughout their careers.
"Through these conversations, I observed time and again the exquisite quality that every woman possesses. That is their flawless capacity be beautiful, broken, graceful, courageous, vulnerable and messy all in the same breath.
Not afraid to tackle the tough subjects, this documentary uncovers stories of sexual harassment, gender inequality, discrimination and ageism as well as issues facing indigenous Australian women and women from multi-cultural backgrounds within the context of the Australian music industry.
"The process of making this film was often confronting and heartbreaking, revealing my own inability to celebrate the parts of myself that were innately feminine. Realising I had never invested the time to form strong bonds with women, I became driven to listen and ingest their wisdom. I wanted to break my own preconceived ideas of what is to be a woman.” - Director Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore
As demonstrated, many of the experiences spoken about are unique to female-identifying and gender diverse people. It is anticipated that the distribution of these stories through this documentary will help educate both men and other women on the struggles faced in the industry and there is hope that it may inspire people to make the necessary changes to combat inequality and lift each other up.
Directed by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore and produced by Michelle Grace Hunder, the original concept of the film was born in 2014 from a small photographic series by Michelle which focused on a ‘well-reported gender imbalance within the music industry.’ Realising that the story could not be sufficiently told through portraits alone, Hunder approached her film-maker friend, Claudia, to interview and document their stories over a two-year period. Hunder states that there was no agenda prior to filming but, rather, they simply set out to ask and listen to each individual’s experiences.
"I found solace in all the women standing together in their collective, unspoken pain. They inspired me, offering me strength to see the film through. I knew that if hearing their stories could change my life, perhaps the film would offer refuge to others like me.
Dalimore is well known as a multidisciplinary creative artist working in film, photography and dance in Melbourne, Australia. Known for her diverse range of skills in film production from art direction, editing, producing, cinematography, as well as choreography, costume and set design. Her longstanding relationship with non-for-profit organisation Multicultural Arts Victoria has engaged her with a diverse community of artists locally and internationally.
See the film online and see more from the contributors, creators and follow their mission here: http://www.hersoundherstory.com
Words by Bianca Birt.
Bianca is an Australian independent sound engineer, creative and music industry journalist based out of Melbourne, Victoria, where she operates her own boutique sound studio Blackbone Studios, working with heavy bands and is a regular contributor to the Hyperviolet Collective blog. For more of Bianca’s articles, join our group on Facebook or follow Blackbone Studios.