A film that celebrates the love, lives and creative collaboration of artists Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter as they prepare and perform at the premiere of Kura Tungar—Songs from the River, the result of a two-year collaboration with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra. Using footage shot in 2004 of interviews, rehearsals and the opening night, the film is a portrait of artists at the peak of their powers and a cinematic musical journey into the landscape of soul.
BEHIND THE SCENES
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
The film, in celebrating the astonishing talents of two of Australia’s greatest songwriters and performers— Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter—reveals not only the transformative power of music and storytelling but issues that remain at the forefront of Australian society: stolen children, stolen water, and the critically important role of First Nations voices in creating a better future for 21st century Australia. In highlighting social injustice, few voices have resonated more strongly.
The film also documents reconciliation through artistic collaboration. First Nation singer-songwriters Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach and non-indigenous composers and musicians Paul Grabowsky and the AAO come together to create a work of significance for all Australians.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
Through his foundation, Archie Roach has supported and mentored young First Nation’s songwriters and singers, especially those caught in the youth justice system or at a crossroads in their life, to help create meaningful and life-changing opportunities through the arts. We hope this film can be used to support this work.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Our main aim is to make a documentary that honours the magnificent song writing and performing talent of Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach, and invites audiences not only into the world of the rehearsal room but also the stories and issues behind the songs. We hope to connect audiences not only to the thrill of creating music but the specific and unique experiences of Archie and Ruby.
From this, we hope to draw attention to the need for young First Nations artists to be given opportunities to express and explore their life-story, as well as develop their craft and artistic practice.
This inspiration and practical support will result in more opportunities and outlets for First Nation music – through live performance and streaming.
There will be a greater appreciation for the significance and importance of these stories – to inform and heal and to celebrate Indigenous artists and instil pride in the culture and creative output
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
We are in discussion with Archie Roach and the directors of the Archie Roach Foundation to support their existing work. We hope to work closely with them throughout the development of this project. Archie Roach is an Executive Producer of the film and cultural consultant.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
1. Listen to music by First Nation artists – starting with Kura Tungar and Archie and Ruby’s back catalogue. Play this music in your home and with your friends. Understand the stories and talk about them with your family.
2. Donate to the Archie Roach Foundation so other young Indigenous artists can develop their storytelling and music making skills.
3. To develop education resources and promote these to schools and communities – ask them to download and use these materials to help promote a conversation about the value and power of Indigenous storytelling through song.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
By increased donations to the Archie Roach Foundation; creation of workshops and programs with the Foundation; uptake of resources created for communities and schools.