News 26.11.21

FIRST NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: EDITOR, KIM WEST

West Australian editor Kim West has worked across a diverse range of formats including drama, documentary, short form and commercials. Kim chatted to Screenwest about learning the ropes in Broome, his favourite projects, and the importance of ongoing first nations representation on our screens.

Kim West in the editing suite on The Heights Season 2

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I’m a Noongar man who grew up in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, where I’ve lived for most of my life. I’ve always been interested in the screen industry as a way of telling stories, especially the important stories that need to be told. My passion for the screen industry can be expressed in my career as an editor.

How did you get started in the Screen Industry?

Straight out of high school I got a job with Goolarri Media Enterprises, a 100% Aboriginal owned and operated Broome-based organization that began as a radio station in 1991 and has since diversified into television, film, digital media, events and more. My first job was on a crew of three that filmed and edited as much as we could to fill the 24-hour programming for our local TV channel that broadcast to the town of Broome. I then went to Sydney to gain a qualification in television editing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and since have worked at Goolarri Media with occasional stints interstate and overseas on various projects.

What projects have you worked on? Do you have a favourite or highlight?

I’ve directed and edited a heap of short-form content for Goolarri TV as well as TV commercials, short dramas and documentaries.

I was an editor for the 30-part serial drama The Heights Season 2 for the ABC and NITV’s Our Stories: Yulleroo, as well as documentary series Talking Country and documentaries Niminjarra, The Life and Tides of Roebuck Bay, Return to Country and Characters of Broome. I’ve also edited short films Maap Mordak, The Lost Crystals of Jessica’s Room and Fishing.

I’ve been an assistant editor on SBS documentary series First Australians, feature film Bran Nue Dae and The Mary G Show, worked on ABC’s Mystery Road Season 2 and have directed short films In The Air, Muster Up, Elizika, High Tide, Naji, Marrimarrigun, and Riiji Carver.

First Australians and The Heights are probably the top highlights for me.

Kim West directing Marrimarrigun on location in Roebuck Bay, Kimberley

What bought you to editing?

It started out as a necessary skill I developed in the early days – because I worked with such a small crew, we all needed to learn to do everything. I soon realized I loved editing in particular because I found myself fascinated by the different ways you can construct a story in the edit and how you can lead the audience on the emotional journey.

What /where/ who do you draw inspiration from?

As well as being thankful for the more established First Nations creators that inspired me back when I was younger, these days I also draw a lot of inspiration from younger Indigenous filmmakers, the stories they come up with, and all the different innovative, new, and creative ways they tell a story.

What advice would you give emerging First Nations Filmmakers?

If you have a story, don’t give up and TELL IT. There are so many ways to get your story out there these days – film, television, blog, vlog, podcast, social media, and the list goes on. If you need help with pretty much any part of telling your story, go and see your state’s Screen Agency.  Also, get in touch with other First Nations filmmakers if you need help or advice.

What changes would you like to see in the Screen Industry in the next 10 years?

More First Nations stories and faces on mainstream platforms and screens, so that everyone in our country and internationally can benefit from the richness of the storytelling.

From L-R: Diane Appleby, Jodie Bell, Kim West. at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Toronto

Favourite First Nations Film or TV Show?

It would have to be the SBS “First Australians” doco series, because of the importance of the story of Australia being told.

What are you watching right now?

I’m pretty much a stream-surfer and watch a variety of programs on different platforms but I gotta say I’m hanging out for the next Mystery Road series to drop!

Favourite place in Australia?

I don’t really have a favourite place. As long as my family is with me then just about anywhere is fine for me…although (and it could just be the wet season talking) I could go for some cooler temperature right about now!


Watch the official trailer for First Australians