The unique, home-grown phenomenon of the Knitting Nannas has already gone national – and global. What next? A documentary about them, of course.
In a movie that has been chosen to screen at the popular Flickerfest short-film festival, filmmaker Rani Brown tells the story of this most unlikely social-change movement.
First formed during the early protests against coal seam gas in the northern rivers, the group began knitting yellow triangles in the shape and colour of the Lock the Gate signs.
Soon they began making regular weekly appearances outside the office of their local member, Lismore MP Thomas George, which they continue to do to this day.
Then they began sitting and knitting at protests across the region. They would often ‘yarn bomb’ the gates and fences with their yellow triangles and countless other curiosities.
The Nannas knit beanies, tea cosies, creative, quirky objects. Knitted chickens for Chooks Against Gas are also popular at protests.
The Nannas come from all walks of life: some are from dyed-in-the wool farming families while others are more tie-dyed alternative lifestylers.
Their colourful actions have got them plenty of media attention as well as followers around the country – and now the world.
The unique thing about the Nannas is not so much their skill with the needles as the calming influence they seem to have on fellow protesters.
During the height of protests in the northern rivers Nannas would regularly attend police stations and bail hearings to help out people who had been arrested.
In recent times the Knitting Nannas movement has spread internationally with branches in the UK and US. The Nannas now boast an extensive national and international membership and are savvy with social media networking.
Rani’s documentary is a great, colourful yarn, much like the Knitting Nannas’ own woolly output.
Like a great quilt, this funny and moving film pieces together the stories behind some of the Nannas. We learn about what motivates them to join together and why they are prepared to put themselves on the frontline for a cause.
Knitting Nannas will screen as part of Flickerfest International Film Festival, Bondi Beach on Sunday January 19 and closer to home at The Byron All Shorts Film Festival, in Bangalow on Saturday January 25.