Richard’s career as a film maker commenced in 1993 with his first involvement in film being a presenter in Who Killed Malcolm Smith? That was the start of a now 19 year career which has seen him involved as a writer, producer, director or presenter, and sometimes in some or all of these roles in over 50 films, documentaries and television shows.
Who Killed Malcolm Smith? (1992) is a film about the Royal Commission investigations into the actual death of victim Malcolm Smith. It was screened on the ABC as part of the True Stories series. Richard was associate producer, co-script writer and presenter. Part of his role was to liaise with the families. This film won the 1993 Lemac Award from the AFI for best TV Documentary.
No Way to Forget (1996) tells the story of Shane Francis (David Ngoombujarra), a Field Officer during the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The film was produced as part of the Australian Film Commission’s FROM SAND TO CELLULOID series of Indigenous short films with funding from SBSI and Film Victoria.
No Way to Forget won Best Short Film at the Australian Film Institute Awards in 1996. The film received official selection at the 1996 CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in the category of Un Certain Regard.
No Way to Forget won many awards in Australia and overseas including Best Screenplay and Best New Director at the St Kilda Film Festival.
Richard was Executive Producer on After Mabo, an 84 minute documentary for television which screened on SBS during November 1997 at the height of the Wik legislation debate in Canberra. It explores the Howard Government’s proposed 10 Point Plan and the impact it would have on the Native Title Act and on Indigenous communities throughout Australia.
Produced for SBS Independent and the Australian Film Commission, After Mabo won the OPEN CRAFT AWARD for Visual Design at the 1998 AFI Awards.
Harry’s War, a feature film, was written and directed by Richard in 1999. The film is based on his uncle’s role in World War II on the Kokoda Trail. The film tells the story of Richard’s Uncle, Harry Saunders who fought for Australia in the South Pacific campaign during the Second World War.
In 2000, Harry’s War won Best Short Film at the HOLLYWOOD BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, USA, Best Screenplay at the St Kilda Film Festival, Best Short Film at the 2000 ATOM AWARDS and Best Short Film at the ST TROPEZ FILM FESTIVAL, France.
The Innocents (Part One and Two) - In December 2002 Richard traveled to the Middle East to interview children for a documentary about the impacts of war on family, titled The Innocents. He followed this up with his visit to Chiapas, Mexico, in 2003 to film and interview children and families affected by ongoing violence and the impact of a massacre several years earlier.
Stone Bros (2009) But one of Richard’s most significant accomplishments as a filmmaker is the comedy Stone Bros. This is the first feature film written and directed by an Aboriginal artist. Stone Bros, starring Luke Carroll and Leon Burchill, tells the story of Eddie (Carroll), a young West Australian Aboriginal, and his cousin, Charlie (Burchill) after they decide that they’ve had enough of urban living and go on the road. Frankland’s outlandish brand of comedy takes his audience on a roller-coaster ride of hilarious happenings and through some open doors to Aboriginal culture.
The Convincing Ground is a two part documentary which Richard Frankland, John Foss and Daniel King produced for ABC’s Messagestick in 2006. The programs were broadcast on ABC TV and ABC2 in February, 2007.
The Convincing Ground revisits the history and cultural impact of one of Victoria’s first massacres near Portland in 1834 when a group of whalers attacked and killed members of the Kilkarer Gilga as they feasted on the meat of a beached whale.
This two-part documentary features interviews with Aboriginal elders, members of the Gunditjmara community plus noted historians Ian Clark and Professor Lynette Russell. Judge North made the following statement in the historic Native Title Agreement which gave the Gunditjmara people their land back in March 2007:
“To the Gunditjmara People the agreement vindicates their claim for recognition as the right people for the country. They have a history of defending their country against the settlers stretching back to white contact in about the mid 1830s. Many Gunditjmara people were massacred on Gunditjmara land at the Convincing Ground by whalers bent on protecting their commercial interests. The circumstances of history have forced the Gunditjmara People to defend their culture and their rights. In the early evidence hearing Eileen Alberts told the Court “We’re fighting Gunditjmara. We’ll continue to fight. This is our land. We belong to the land. We don’t own it. We don’t own it; it owns us.” In the 1840s the Gunditjmara People fought the Eumeralla Wars against dispossession by Europeans. That occurred in the very place in which we sit today. John Lovett told how the police camped here at Mt Eccles to quell the uprising. In 1981 Lorraine Onus and Christina Frankland, two Gunditjmara women, fought all the way to the High Court of Australia to protect their cultural rights against damage by the construction of the Alcoa smelter in Gunditjmara country: Onus & Anor v Alcoa of Australia Ltd (1982) 149 CLR 2, and the fight to protect the significance of the Convincing Ground continues today.”
Richard has also worked in television, as a director for three years working on Blue Heelers, and as a script consultant and director of The Circuit. He followed this up in 2006 when he directed and wrote several episodes of the Indigenous children’s drama Double Trouble for CAAMA and the Nine Network.
Richard has produced and directed a number of television commercials, DVDs and Digital Stories as part of the services offered by his company, Koorreen Enterprises. His clients have included DHS, DOH, VACCA, VCAL and Victoria Police and the topics covered included Lateral Violence, Stolen Generation and Family Violence.