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People’s Republic of Mallacoota Premieres This April on ABC TV

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The People’s Republic of Mallacoota is a six-part character-driven observational documentary series that follows the residents of a divided, disenfranchised, and bushfire-ravaged Australian village as they roll up their sleeves, take control of their own destiny, and rebuild their town.

On New Year’s Eve 2019, Armageddon arrived in Mallacoota. The iconic photos of the distant Victorian coastal community’s residents and tourists huddled on the foreshore as a 200-kilometer-long fire front drew down on them made the secluded Victorian coastal community the international face of environmental disaster. The entire world witnessed Australia’s first climate-change refugees as the Royal Australian Navy evacuated thousands of people stuck on Mallacoota’s beaches.

Weeks later, those traumatised evacuees returned to a bushfire-ravaged hamlet only to be slammed with Covid-19’s double whammy. Mallacoota’s economy is in shambles, its environment has been burnt, and many of its citizens have been displaced. The People’s Republic of Mallacoota tells the storey of a regional community with a strong sense of self-reliance and a deep aversion to outsiders, which ignites a grassroots revolution to save their town.

The series follows an ensemble cast of resolute, charismatic, and forthright regional Australians as they strive to restore their lives, rehabilitate their environment, and re-invent their society in the People’s Republic of Mallacoota. And they’re racing against the clock to ensure that the horrors of the previous bushfire season don’t happen again.

The development of this isolated community also serves as a dramatic microcosm of the critical problems that all Australians face in forging a unified vision of our future from a plethora of competing claims. So, can Mallacoota’s community-led recovery serve as a model for the rest of us? Will this brave experiment in self-determination end in a whirlpool of resentment and confusion, or will it succeed?

Production credit: People’s Republic of Mallacoota is a Renegade Films Production for the ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria. Producers Joe Connor, Lucy Maclaren, and Ken Connor. Director Tony Jackson. Executive Producers Joe Connor and Ken Connor. ABC Documentary Manager Stephen Oliver. Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

People’s Republic of Mallacoota – Tuesday 5 April, 8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview