Kiko and Rosa are ‘blackbirds’. Having been forcefully displaced from their homelands, these Pacific Islander siblings struggle to survive whilst working on an Australian sugar plantation in the late 1800s. As they drift between memories of home and the harsh reality on the plantation, the camera juxtaposes scenic shots of lush Solomon Island landscapes with the wall-like monotony of the sugar cane fields. Shedding light on the little-known history of Australia's ‘sugar slaves’, Amie Batalibasi’s poetic short is a testament to resilience and the will to survive.
by Amie Batalibasi
with Jeremy Bobby, Regina Lepping, Putu Winchester
Australia 2015 Pijin, English 13’ Colour


  • Jeremy Bobby (Kiko)
  • Regina Lepping (Rosa)
  • Putu Winchester (The Overseer )


Written and Directed by Amie Batalibasi
Cinematography Mark Morris
Montage Amie Batalibasi
Music Leon Rodgers
Sound Design Daniel Goh
Sound James Browning
Costumes Sparke Films
Make-Up Latisha Miller
Assistant Director Naomi Ball
Casting Amie Batalibasi
Production Manager Jacob Richards
Executive Producer John Harvey

World sales

Ronin Films

Produced by

Melbourne University Vitorian College of the Arts

Amie Batalibasi

This Australian-Solomon Islander (Kosi/Feralimae) is a writer, director and producer. She was the Sundance Institute’s Merata Mita Fellow in 2017 and participated in Berlinale Talents and the Filmmaker Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. As a mentor and media trainer, she works with Indigenous and culturally diverse communities around Australia and in the Solomon Islands. In 2015, she graduated with honours in her master’s degree in film and television at the Victorian College of Arts, University of Melbourne. Her short films have screened at numerous international festivals.


2010 Tide of Change; short film 2015 Blackbird; short film 2017 AEASI - As far as the eye can see above the sea; VR

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019