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A short documentary film

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NOMINATED FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT - Indie Short Fest Los Angeles - 2021 (1).png
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Spirit Orphan is an internationally award-winning short documentary film about Gold Coast Hinterland resident Jenna Robertson’s recovery from bushfire through the creation of a new chamber opera.  A night alone in an evacuation centre creates questions of connection to place and provokes a deep exploration of her Scottish migrant identity and ancestry. Director Salvador Cantellano's short documentary Spirit Orphan is a moving film that invites questions about belonging, identity and recovery.


Director: Salvador Cantellano

Writer and Producer: Jenna Robertson

Composer: Dr Corrina Bonshek

Interviewees: Jenna Robertson, Alexandra Dunn, Dr Asmaa Khadim and Dr Corrina Bonshek

Cinematography, Editing and Sound Design: Salvador Cantellano

Production: Studio Luma, Currumbin, Gold Coast

Sound Post-Production: Folklore Studios

Re-recording Mixer: Ben Stewart

Soundtrack: The Mountain’s Soul (aria in development, 2020) from Spirit Orphan

Performers: Jenna Robertson (soprano), Adrian Head (conductor), Alison Paris (chorus soprano), Talia Garrett-Benson (chorus soprano), Regan Flor (chorus mezzo soprano), Jacque Prior (chorus mezzo soprano)

Music Recording Audio Engineer: Geoff McGahan


A Short Chamber Opera

Concept by Jenna Robertson

Music and Sound Design by Dr Corrina Bonshek

Libretto by Jenna Robertson

Additional Libretto by Alexandra Dunn and Beechmountain Community participants


Thank you to Dr Mary Graham and the Beechmont and Lower Beechmont community members who participated in the community research for this project. 

Second Stage Development of Spirit Orphan is made possible by support from Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Australian Government's Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia, and the Regional Arts Development Fund, which is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. Second stage is enabled through support from private donors and arts organisations: Brisbane Music Festival, World Science Festival Brisbane, QPAC, Opera Queensland, Folklore Studios, Home of the Arts, Gold Coast and Making Good Alliance. First stage development of Spirit Orphan was supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and Opera Queensland. Research and development phase was supported through Generate GC: a City of Gold Coast initiative delivered in partnership with Situate.


Audience feedback from 2021 screening of Spirit Orphan at the
Experimental Music and Film Festival, Los Angeles:

The short film, Spirit Orphan:

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