Arts and Culture

Through a compassionate lens

Artist Profile: Matthew Ninnes

Story: April Spadina | Photo: Cody Fox

It took just sixteen minutes for Matthew Ninnes to tell a story filled with nostalgia, melancholy, love, loss and fierce protection, all with the help of a tiny goldfish named Polly.

The short film “But a Giant Leap for Mr Larkin” starring Australian actor Bud Tingwell, tells the simple tale of the friendship between a man and his goldfish and a very unusual event that rocks the quiet household.  The film was so captivating that it found itself shortlisted in the Academy of Short Films and received recognition from Hollywood great Tom Hanks.

It’s his ability to convey emotion in such a way that sets Matthew aside in his field of videography.  His heart is attracted to cultural backgrounds with rich history including his own Palawa indigenous heritage.  Earlier this year Matthew was the recipient of an opportunity to attend the Dreamtime Storytelling Masterclass 2023 at the Winton Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival where he immersed himself in culture and creativity guided by Wiradjuri writer Sue McPherson and Guwa-Koa Elders.  The life-changing experience allowed him to embrace his indigenous identity as he was encouraged to proudly dive deep and share the story of his people, thus embracing his love of his family’s storytelling and yarns from childhood.  He emerged from the weeklong experience spiritually richer with a strong vision for a fulfilling future in film.

As part of his cultural storytelling, Matthew’s current projects include creating edgy music videos for Indian brothers, Victor & Bobbi Boota as they revive their late father Boota Mehraj Wala’s Punjabi folk music into pop culture.  His commercial digital creations are evocative, punchy and dynamic with a fresh, vibrant feel.

He is an observer of life, gentle in his manner and humble in his nature, and it is these qualities that help Matthew see the world through a compassionate lens.  He has dreams of telling the stories of those who have walked this land before him and in his own way, he will continue to be the teller of tales, just as his family did when he was a child, but through the wonders of modern technology, his voice will be heard through his digital pathway.

The creation of this story and photography was funded by Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.


Was this page helpful?