Bree Evans

Bree Evans

Bree Evans

  • Year completed 2017
  • Area of interest/expertise Documentary filmmaker
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Arts
  • Major(s) Sociology

Bree Evans is a documentary maker and an aspiring teacher. Her motivation to help make the world a better place through her documentaries is what led her to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

Bree had been working on a film about homeless kids in Mongolia for over a year.

“In Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, there are over 200 children living in the streets. In recent years this group of children has become something of an underground community.” Bree Evans explains on her Kickstarter. “The Chief of Child Welfare in Ulaanbaatar estimates that the leading cause of homelessness among this group is not poverty or abuse, but video game addiction.”

Bree felt it was an important issue desperately in need of exposure and the public agreed. Bree was able to raise over $4,000 from private donors to fund the project.

She wanted to do it ethically from the start. The project caught Bree’s eye when a friend who was a researcher at the American Institute of Mongolian Studies invited her the investigate the issue with him. She then collaborated with locals and consultants within the Mongolian community who were actively battling the issue to ensure cultural sensitivity and objectivity in the film. But now she’s questioning whether she has a place in bringing light to a story and situation that might not be hers to tell.

“I mean I went into it a little bit hesitant. I spoke to people about representing children on camera without a parent’s consent. I spoke to journalists and professors about it and it remained ethically grey,” Bree explained.

“But I had all this money at that moment, so I felt like I want to make this film and tell these kid’s stories because no one knows about this problem. But the first time someone got angry at us, I was like I don’t like this, this is giving me a bad taste.”

A few years prior Bree might not have asked the same questions.

During her time at Monash she stirred controversy and won awards over a documentary she made about a friend who was going through a break-up. She was able to flex her creativity and it went to a film festival.

“Some people were really upset about me exploiting this dude’s feelings, they thought it wasn’t ethical and it made people angry,” Bree recalled. “Other people loved it because they thought it was compelling. And I was like this is cool. I can make people feel things. I think my priorities changed, now it is important for me to respect the dignity of those kids."

Making documentaries is a lifelong passion for Bree. She began making them before her time at Monash and largely began her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology to improve them.

For Bree, she realised her ability to create a feature length film wasn’t enough if she wanted to create documentaries that would have a positive impact on the world.

“My brother, he always told me the most dangerous thing is a little bit of knowledge because people who know a little bit, they get so passionate about that bit of knowledge but they don’t understand the complexities of that situation,” Bree said.

“I did my degree because I wanted to make films that are informed, films that were careful because I felt that many documentaries out there were just straight and simple. So, I did an Arts degree to have a better understanding of the topics I was interested in.nIt taught me to be analytical in a more sophisticated way. When I went into my arts degree I was really politically left-leaning but now I'm more moderate and my views are more complex. Now I know that social issues and phenomena are so much more complex than what we get in the news.”

The degree and the knowledge she gained from it also gave her a practical edge.

“It gave me legitimacy, it has definitely helped me to get donors and sponsors for my film projects,” Bree said. "Before I was a person with a camera who had an opinion but now I’m a person that is educated. For me the Arts degree didn't give me a job but if you can be proactive about it and start your own fire and make things happen then Arts degrees will be invaluable.”

She still doesn’t quite know how she will release the Mongolian Street Kids Project. There are strong arguments for and against its publication, but Bree knows she will be careful and critical with her decision.

“Maybe I will figure out a way to tell it so that we release it more widely, but right now I think we will just give it back to the people for them to use.”