Synopsis and Director's Statement

Written in Chalk: the echo of Arthur Stace - synopsis

'Written in Chalk: the echo of Arthur Stace' relives the most spectacular New Year's Eve Fireworks Australia has ever hosted, and looks at how the final message of the celebrations, ETERNITY, continues to echo in Australia and around the world.

This next chapter of the ETERNITY story builds on the work of internationally renowned cultural and artistic legends Arthur Stace, Martin Sharp, Ignatius Jones, Ric Birch, Lawrence Johnston, Dion Beebe, Sir Jonathan Mills and many others.

ETERNITY is an endearing story which captures the imagination of people the world over; in theatre, music, street art, social activism, tertiary education, climate change, literature, hospitality, and in the everyday.

For some, ETERNITY is an iconic artwork. To others, it's about cultural expression and identity. And to others still, it provides a lens through which we can relive and understand Australia's recent history.

The cast includes Eddie McGuire (Channel 9 Millennium Fireworks TV Host), Ignatius Jones (Millennium Fireworks Creative Director), Ric Birch (Executive Creative Director, Sydney Olympic Games), Amylia Harris (Artistic Director, Darlinghurst Theatre Company), Sulari Gentill (Crime Fiction Writer), Joy Cooksey (Artist), Frank Sartor (former Sydney Lord Mayor), George Semaan (Eternity Café, Town Hall), Roy Williams and Elizabeth Meyers (co-authors, Mr Eternity, the biography of Arthur Stace), and many others.


Director's Statement - Richard Attieh

When I started the journey of making this film, I could not have imagined the diverse and eclectic mix of people who I would be privileged to meet, speak with and interview. 

I started out wanting to tell the life story of Sydney eccentric, Arthur Stace – better known as Mr Eternity or The Eternity Man who wrote the eight letter word, Eternity, in copperplate script on streets, sidewalks and pavements for 35 years and more than half a million times. 

As the project developed and I began to see the wide-reaching impact this one man has had across a broad cross-section of people, vocations, groups and interests in Australia around the world, the story I wanted to tell seemed somehow too small and linear. 

Earlier films by Lawrence Johnston (1994) and Julian Temple (2008) have previously told Arthur’s life story with superb storytelling and creativity, focusing on his early life and influences, his radical conversion to Christianity, and his obsessive writing of Eternity on sidewalks and pavements. 

Throughout the research and writing phases of this documentary, I found myself speaking with television personalities, politicians and social activists, composers, singers, actors and songwriters, clergy, graffiti and street artists, amateur painters, academics, social researchers, teachers, poets and world renowned creative directors and personalities.   

Their passion and enthusiasm for the word Eternity, the impact the word has had and continues to have on them, and their diverse interpretations and presentations of the word took a hold of me.   

I soon realised that this story tells itself, and my role was to strap in for the ride as this story needed to be managed and curated in a brand new way.   

More than 20 years after Eternity was shared with the world at the Sydney millennium celebrations and the Sydney Olympic Games, Arthur’s life story would be best told through the impact he is having today – through the stories of people who are celebrating, using, adapting and re-presenting his story and his copperplate script Eternity to people in Australia and around the world today. 

Written in Chalk is the next chapter of the Eternity story, and builds on the work of Arthur Stace, Martin Sharp, Remo Giuffre, Lawrence Johnston, Ignatius Jones, Ric Birch and Jonathan Mills. 

It has been my privilege to produce and direct this film, to catch the passion and drive of the diverse range of people who I have met , and by the way this eight letter word written in chalk by one individual continues to reverberate through the lives of so many people today. 

Richard Attieh.

Written in Chalk


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