PUBLISHED06 Jul 2021
Our NAIDOC Doc-List 2021
A special selection of films providing insight into the ongoing social issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
NAIDOC is a special week to celebrate the history, culture and fortitude of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year’s theme – Heal Country! – calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.
This special playlist allows you to take a deep dive into the history of the Torres Strait Island; and provides insight into a number of social issues affecting Indigenous communities here in Australia. We encourage you to watch, learn and get involved with their impact campaigns.
Blue Water Empire
Traversing the pre-colonial era through to contemporary times, this compelling history is centred on the key stories told by the men and women of the region, brought to life by dramatic re-enactments from an all-star cast including Ryan Corr, Damian Walshe-Howling, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Jimi Bani, Roy Billing, Geoff Morrell, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Peter Phelps, Merwez Whaleboat, Robert Mammone and Damian de Montemas.With additional stories woven together through artwork, animation and archive material, and set to a soundtrack composed by Torres Strait Islander Will Kepa, the series explores how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage throughout the impact of 200 years of European settlement.The breathtaking beauty of the land and sea country of the Torres Straits features in the series. Stunning aerial cinematography, and magnificent CGI maps, navigate the audience through this vast and remote corner of northern Australia.
In My Blood It Runs
Ten-year-old Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him we see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police. As he travels perilously close to incarceration, his family fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside his western education lest he becomes another statistic. We walk with him as he grapples with these pressures, shares his truths and somewhere in-between finds space to dream, imagine and hope for his future self.
Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra
This powerful documentary recognises Bangarra’s early founders and tells the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers – Stephen, David and Russell Page – turned the newly born dance group into one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies. Through the eyes of the Page brothers and company alumni, Firestarter explores the loss and reclaiming of culture, the burden of intergenerational trauma and crucially, the extraordinary power of art as a messenger for social change and healing.
The inmates of Darwin’s Berrimah Prison are shown in a new light in Australia’s first documentary musical. The inmates share their feelings, faults and experiences in the most extraordinary way – through song.
Berrimah Prison has been described as Dickensian with its dirt, rats, mosquitoes and unbearable heat. If nothing else, it is an old, overcrowded, tropical jail facing closure. When it first opened in 1979, it was designed to hold 115 prisoners. In 2014 it strains to hold more than 800.
The inmates are varied, both men and women, some from good homes, others from dysfunctional families. Many come from remote communities where English is the second or third language spoken and the traditional law of their society is in conflict with European laws. This documentary gives voice to these normally overlooked Australian citizens.
Growing up isn’t easy, especially for Zach who is rapidly making the transition from boyhood to manhood, in both the modern world and his ancient culture. Pressures from his loving, but staunch father, the temptations of city life and the ever present spectre of racism all take their toll. Ultimately Zach must embrace the traditions and knowledge of his ancestors and awaken the warrior within.
Zach’s Ceremony is an extraordinary, feature-length documentary captured over ten years that shows one boy’s journey to manhood in a complex, emotionally driven story. Its themes are universal: that of family and connection, but also explores the fascinating and unique question of what it means to be a modern man belonging to the oldest living culture on earth.
Voices of the River
“When you start looking at the Murray-Darling river system and how that’s been affected by huge development and the fight for water, the river became sick, and from sickness you get dying fish, and from dying fish you get a bad water system… The Fitzroy River is a living system. It has the right to life… It’s a part of me and I’m a part of it, so together we’re gonna protect each other.” – Anthony McLarty, Walmajarri Traditional Owner
The National Heritage-Listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River stretches over 700km from the desert to the sea, and is a site of great cultural significance. However, the river’s cultural and ecological values are now under great threat from Murray-Darling style proposals to pump water from the river and establish an intensive irrigated agriculture industry. Web-series VOICES OF THE RIVER goes out on Country with ten Traditional Owners to share stories of cultural connection and the fight to protect one of the last in-tact river systems in the world.
Learn more about the Environs Kimberley and Traditional Owners’ Campaign to Protect the Fitzroy here.