Thursday, 11 May 2017


The 64th Sydney Film Festival (7–18 June) in partnership with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department proudly continues support for First Nation storytelling from Australia and around the world. Leading First Nation Australian directors will premiere their new works at the Festival, including Warwick Thornton’s Opening Night film and Official Competition contender We Don’t Need a Map, and Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell’s highly anticipated second series of Cleverman. 

“Sydney Film Festival is committed to showcasing First Nation filmmakers and storytelling,” said Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “Throughout the Festival audiences will find examples of outstanding Indigenous cinema, from the red sands of Western Australia to the snowy landscapes of the Arctic Circle. These films promise to surprise, provoke and push boundaries.” 

“We're proud to continue our partnership with Sydney Film Festival to showcase these powerful documentaries from the world's leading Indigenous filmmakers, as well as premiere the innovative work of emerging new talent from around the country,” said Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia.

 “We are very pleased to see five films commissioned by NITV take their place alongside such prestigious works from across the world,” said Tanya Orman, NITV Channel Manager. Two important Australian First Nation documentaries will also have their premieres at the Festival. 

Connection to Country, directed by Tyson Mowarin, about the Indigenous people of the Pilbara’s battle to preserve Australia’s 40,000-year-old cultural heritage from the ravages of mining, and filmmaker Erica Glynn’s raw, heartfelt and funny journey of adult Aboriginal students and their teachers as they discover the transformative power of reading and writing for the first time (In My Own Words). 

These ground-breaking documentaries, alongside film We Don’t Need A Map, are part of Screen Australia and NITV’s initiative A Moment In History. 

Two remarkable Canadian First Nations titles will screen as part of Focus on Canada: Angry Inuk from Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, about the anti-sealing movement’s adverse impact on Inuit communities; and a thrilling Arctic version of John Ford’s classic western The Searchers (1956), Maliglutit, directed by Zacharias Kunuk. Screening in the Festival’s retrospective program are two groundbreaking Australian documentaries: Essie Coffey’s My Survival as an Aboriginal, considered to be the first documentary directed by an Australian Indigenous woman, and the 1981 documentary Two Laws, made by the Borroloola Aboriginal Community. 

Two short documentary initiatives from NITV and Screen Australia’s Songlines on Screen will also have their premieres: Finding Mawiranga, directed by past SFF Documentary Australia Foundation Award winner Dylan River (who also shot part of Warwick Thornton’s documentary, We Don’t Need a Map), and Marrimarrigun from Kimberley West. 

Three short films by emerging talents Perun Bonser (Blight), Bjorn Stewart (Last Drinks at Frida’s) and Nakkiah Lui’s Brown Lips – also competing for a Dendy Award – will screen for the first time. The films were funded through Screen Australia and ABC’s Indigenous Departments’ Pitch Black Shorts initiative.

First Nation screenings, guests and talks include: 


 Angry Inuk (Focus on Canada) Saturday 17 June, 2.30pm, Dendy Opera Quays 
 Brown Lips (Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films) Saturday 17 June, 2.30pm, Event Cinemas George St Sunday 18 June, 1.45pm, Event Cinemas George St 
 Cleverman 2 (The Box Set) Saturday 17 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St 
 Connection to Country | Introduced by Australian filmmaker Tyson Mowarin (DAF) Tuesday 13 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St
  Finding Mawiranga (Short - Songlines on Screen) Tuesday 13 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St
  In My Own Words | Introduced by Australian filmmaker Erica Glynn (DAF) Friday 9 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St Wednesday 14 June, 10.00am, State Theatre 
 Last Drinks at Frida’s, screens with Porto Friday 16 June, 6.15pm, Dendy Newtown Saturday 17 June, 2.00pm, Dendy Newtown 
 Maliglutit (Focus on Canada), screens with short Blight Thursday 8 June, 6.15pm, Dendy Newtown Sunday 18 June, 6.30pm, Dendy Opera Quays 
 Marrimarrigun (Short - Songlines on Screen) Friday 9 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St Wednesday 14 June, 10.00am, State Theatre 
 My Survival as an Aboriginal, Two Laws (Feminism & Film Retrospective) Sunday 18 June, 2.55pm, Event Cinemas George St 
 We Don’t Need a Map | Introduced by Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton (Official Competition) Wednesday 7 June, 7.30pm, State Theatre Sunday 11 June, 1.35pm, State Theatre Tuesday 13 June, 4.35pm, State Theatre 


 In Conversation with Warwick Thornton (We Don’t Need a Map) Sunday 11 June, 3.45pm, SFF Hub Town Hall Sydney Film Festival runs 7 – 18 June 2017. 

Sydney Film Festival runs 7 – 18 June 2017. Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2017 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit for more information. 

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