Chloe’s search for her Indigenous People drives her passion for film

Chloe Bowen isn’t your average 18-year-old. The SAE film student's story about overcoming adversity makes it worthy of any Hollywood script.
Young woman poses with film camera on her shoulder.

Chloe is now writing her future, studying the Bachelor of Film at SAE, as the recipient of the 2023 Creative First Nations Scholarship.

Studying film

In the heart of Brisbane’s West end, Chloe is absorbing every moment around her teachers, who have been there and done it in the industry.

“The lecturers are everything you’d want,” Chloe said. “They’re fun, engaging, and they have those golden stories about working in the industry, which are just priceless. Everything I learn feels like it’s preparing me for a future career in film.”

The 2023 SAE scholarship recipient is delighted to have found a higher education institute which matches her values.

“When I researched SAE I realised I could have the best of both worlds. I could go to one of the best film schools in the country, while being supported culturally,” she said.

“I’d love to carve a future career in the film industry as a director or producer,” Chloe added. “I’m extremely passionate about creating authentic storylines, which inspire audiences.”

Photo credit: Alice Walker
Indigenous heritage

Chloe’s heritage is significant to her, as her great grandfather, James Hunham Noade in 1909 was one of The Stolen Generations of Indigenous children. With James being an orphan and the facility which housed all the physical records being burnt down, it has been a series of dead ends for Chloe to uncover more about her People.

“I’m a little lost at the moment, because I don’t know what mob I’m from,” Chloe shared. “At high school, I was the MC for the NAIDOC Week celebrations, and I got the script and it asked me to state my name and my People – I just didn’t know what to say!

“I try to keep reminding myself that I’m still young,” she said. “A lot of people don’t find out about their heritage until much later in life, and they regret having missed so much.”

Brisbane floods

In February 2022, floods devastated South East Queensland with more than 500,000 people being affected. Chloe and her parents were a part of those who felt the heartache of the destruction.

“I lived in my family’s house, in the granny flat, and we had to move out because I was coughing so much. I couldn’t breathe due to the mold,” she said. “When we moved we didn’t have anything, not even a pillow.”

Despite being in her last year of high school, Chloe started to do casual work to support her family and pay for the items they’d lost in the floods. “With everything going on in my life that was hard to do, but it had to be done because we didn’t have anything.”

Working with award-winning director, Josh Hale

Chloe is a big believer in the energy you put into the world, so later in 2022, her faith was repaid when she was selected by award-winning director and producer, Josh Hale to join him at the Gold Coast Film Festival, and experience life on set on his upcoming film, Blue Horizon.

“I was eternally grateful for the experience Josh gave me, it was amazing to still be in high school and be involved in that – it certainly helped give me a flavour for what I’m doing now at SAE.”

SAE advancing reconciliation

SAE General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan commented on how important it is that SAE supports Indigenous creatives like Chloe, and provides opportunities for cross-cultural enrichment into its curriculum.

“SAE is committed to advancing reconciliation in Australia and recognising outstanding students, like Chloe, through the Creative First Nations Scholarship,” Dr McMillan said.

“SAE has partnered with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to provide SAE students with access to QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit and all associated cultural events,” Dr McMillan added. “This relationship gives our students a cultural space to study, build connections and community.”

SAE student working behind the scenes at an event. Stage lighting and film equipment being bumped into production set

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