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Production   /  Sinem Saban

LUKU NGARRA: Our Law Since Before Time Began

The world was not designed for criminals and dictators, it was designed for people to live in harmony.


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Sinem Saban

  • PRODUCER Sinem Saban



Through the profound leadership of Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra, 30+ years civil rights activist for his people, Luku Ngarra affirms that assimilation is not the solution to Australia’s racial issues. Instead, it asks non-Indigenous Australians to consider stepping out of their own dominant ideology, to see the Yolngu world for what it truly is – profoundly wise, deeply complex and undisputedly important. And with that, to grant it the place it deserves in Australia, as a gift to be acknowledged, included and respected.

Support this project

2.75% funded
  • $250,000.00

  • $6,870.00

  • May 2020

  • 8

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $50.00
Greg and Anne Marks $50.00
Inga Lie $100.00
John Wiltshire-Butler $1,500.00
josephine wolanski $5,000.00
Kelly Richmond $50.00
Danella Connors $20.00
Sandi Ford $100.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Director Sinem Saban sat with Dr. Gondarra in March 2019 and interviewed him over 4 days while Cyclone Trevor poured torrential rain on the earth outside. Deep in his elderhood, wise from decades of life experience and frail from ongoing health battles, the 12+ hours of interview footage with Dr Gondarra has become the backbone of this documentary.

Ms. Saban says, ‘Dr Gondarra has a strong yet gentle way of placing audiences in their heart space, and without condemnation of anyone, has a great power of shedding light on things that are gravely unjust.’

Inspired by his own personal heroes Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Gondarra speaks profoundly about change needing to come from the way we view the world, the environment, the spirit world and each other. He questions the colonial paradigm and asks audiences to consider another way of thinking, seeing, and believing that is not led by power, greed, capitalism and destruction.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The film will give an uncensored platform to Yolngu people of N.E Arnhem Land who are witnessing the colonial impact of the modern world deeply compromise their cultural and spiritual wellbeing. By presenting how and why the two worlds collide, from the perspective of Yolngu themselves, the film will promote a deeper understanding as to why the social issues exist in Yolngu society, and hence how they can be improved.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

To provide a platform for Yolngu voices to be heard.
To dispel misinformation and stereotypes about Yolngu, their culture, the issues they face.
To re-educate non-Indigenous Australians about our history, first contact and the impact it has had on our First Peoples.
To encourage the nation’s capacity to truly listen to the voices of Aboriginal Australia, without judgement.
At screenings, to facilitate a safe space in which respectful dialogue can occur about the issues raised in the film.
To inspire audiences to be pro-active within their own means.
To heal and unify all Australians, beyond our guilts and blockages, in the hope of true harmony and reconciliation that includes justice and equality.
To create an important and inspirational educational resource package for classrooms + universities.
To inspire, educate and motivate the NT and Federal Governments to enter into fair and diplomatic dialogue with the Yolngu Nations Assembly around Treaty.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

The documentary is the fruit of over 10 years of conversations that director Sinem Saban has had with Yolngu law man, Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra as well as many other Yolngu people in N.E Arnhem Land. . The subject matter has come from these conversations.

The issues this film will present are in alignment with the mission of several key organisations and people who share the same message, and whom we are in close contact and alignment with.

Yolngu Member of Parliament Nhulunbuy, Mark Yingiya Guyula is a key adviser and will also feature in the film.

The Yolngu Nations Assembly, founded by Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra, is a key Yolngu body that rightfully represent the 13 clan of the Yolngu Nation.,

Arnhem Land Progress Association, Chaired by Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra, is a Yolngu owned business enterprise, that has provided financial support for this film

Why Warriors, founded by Richard Trudgen, who appears in the film, have over 40 years of experience working with the Yolngu

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. Listen
2. Get informed
3. Reflect
4. Talk with your peers, your family, your school
5. Host a screening, raise awareness
6. Open discussion
7. Download the school package, encourage others to screen in their schools
8. Write to polititians
9. Help with networking ; help us get in front of decision makers
10. Donate to the Yolngu Nations Assembly
11. Spread the word
12. Commit yourself

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

1. Personally engaging with our audiences via after screening discussion, email, social media and in person. The raw emotions openly shared to us by those who watched our previous documentary were a clear indication that we met its aims and objectives.
2. Measure how many community screens it reaches, and in turn, how many people buy tickets; 

3. Measure how it is received at (international) film festivals;
4. Track the uptake of study-guides and downloading for educational purposes
5. Track the number of screenings that we will be able to organise in regional, rural and remote communities;
6. Analyse the sharing of and interaction with ancillary content on social media, especially produced to engage younger audiences.
7. Communication with audiences / email list