Indigenous Stories, Characters And People #YOUMUSTSEE At Adelaide Film Festival

Indigenous stories form an important part of Australian screen culture. Adelaide Film Festival aims to celebrate these inspiring, intelligent and moving stories with screenings of films about Indigenous peoples and cultures, as well as films made by members of Indigenous communities themselves.

There’s plenty to look forward to this year, including a special screening of audience favourite Samson & Delilah with an introduction from Warwick Thornton; virtual reality experiences that will immerse you in Indigenous culture (such as song and dance), and the World Premiere of She Who Must Be Loved, which tells the epic life story of Freda Glynn. Glynn will also receive this year’s Don Dunstan Award in a special presentation before the Premiere.

Here are some of the Indigenous stories coming to the big screen at this year’s festival.

Backtrack Boys
Backtrack Boys

Backtrack Boys

Rule-breaking jackaroo Bernie Shakeshaft runs youth program Backtrack from his Armidale shed. In the last ten years over five hundred kids have walked through the Backtrack doors and in that same time the local crime rate has dropped by more than 50%. It’s an alternative to detention and succeeds where others have failed. This observational documentary follows Bernie’s legendary dog jumping team, which started out as a way to teach kids self-discipline, but now the dogs have become the national champions. On the road the boys camp out under the stars but the trauma from the past is never too far away. They must constantly step up and push themselves and some days can be hard. Filmed over 2 years, this inspiring coming of age story reveals the challenges these young people face as they try to find their place in the world – all with the help of Bernie and his trusted dogs in tow.

Screenings:
Monday 15 October, 8:15pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Saturday 20 October, 6pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.

Bakala

Anindilyakwa man, Steve ‘Bakala’ Wurramara is afflicted with a profound hereditary neurodegenerative disorder. While modern medicine looks for answers, the stories of an ancient curse and black magic still permeate this remote Aboriginal community in far northern Australia. Bakala enlists the help of his daughter to search for a cure from the traditional bush medicines in the land, desperate to find an answer before she too is diagnosed. As his desperation grows and his disorder takes an ever greater hold, Bakala realises he must fight this ancient curse to unlock the secrets of his Ancestors.

Screens with Ex-Shaman.

Screenings:
Sunday 14 October, 2pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Saturday 20 October, 12pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.

Barbara

Barbara was caring for her grandchildren when her granddaughter Tiara was taken from school by welfare workers. Barbara fought for the next seven months to have her returned and finally won but the consequences of the removal on the family will never go away.

Screens as part of the Animated Shorts Package.

Screenings:
Thursday 18 October, 8pm, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.


Carriberrie

Carriberrie

David Gulpilil introduces this stunning virtual reality journey across Australia in a joyous celebration of Indigenous song and dance – the “first language” of his people. A 360° live-action VR documentary, Carriberrie encompasses the traditional and contemporary, past and present, as it joins Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and modern technology in groundbreaking ways. From the Central Desert to the northern rainforests, from ceremonial creation dances to bush-punk bands, director Dominic Allen has crafted a remarkable experience and affecting journey rich in cultural significance, every bit as soaring as the viewing experience itself.

11 – 21 October at the Jumpgate VR Lounge. Tickets.

Emu Runner

Nine-year-old Indigenous girl Gem Daniels lives in a remote town. Following the unexpected death of her mother, Gem finds solace in the company of a wild emu, unwittingly connecting with her mother’s totem animal. When Gem attracts the attention of a newly-arrived social worker her father Jay Jay faces prejudices from the white community, while also proving himself as a sole parent to his Indigenous family and friends. Emu Runner is a story about respecting difference. It explores underlying racial tensions in regional Australia and the importance of traditional customs in modern Indigenous culture. Fresh from its world premiere in Toronto, Emu Runner represents a triumphant debut feature from director Imogen Thomas.

Screenings:
Sunday 14 October, 4:15pm, GU Film House Adelaide – with Q & A session. Tickets.
Saturday 20 October, 11:30am, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.

Finke: There & Back
Finke: There & Back

Finke: There & Back

The Finke Desert Race has grown from humble beginnings in 1976 into the biggest off-road race in the southern hemisphere. 600 motorbikes cover a punishing course of 500 kilometres from Alice Springs to the Finke River and back again, across what many locals call “God’s Country,” some of the harshest and most beautiful terrain in the world. Among the competitors are local heroes from the Alice, David Walsh and Daymon Stokie, who are battling for the win. Others like Isaac Elliot are out to prove that a disability won’t keep them away from fulfilling their dreams. Together, they will perform what one participant calls a ballet on bikes, taking on the corrugated “whoops” of a country that can break men and machines.

Screenings:
Sunday 14 October, 6:30pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Saturday 20 October, 4pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.

Freedom

Upon completing his six years in jail, after taking the wrap for his brother Chris’s crime, Rick finds his family in financial hardship and he is unable to acquire a job to help provide. In the hopes of finding financial freedom for their family, Rick is lured by Chris into a uniquely well devised and low risk method of bank robbing, and the boys quickly become successful career criminals. Their success is short lived as Rick is unaware that his older brother stole this full-proof method from another career criminal, who is now demanding full compensation, drawing the brothers into a high-stakes conflict for their freedom, family, the money, and redemption.

Screens as part of Made In SA.

Screenings:
Monday 15 October, 6:45pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Sunday 21 October, 4pm, Odeon Star Cinema. Tickets.

Parragirls Past, Present
Parragirls Past, Present: unlocking memories of institutional ‘care’

Parragirls Past, Present: unlocking memories of institutional ‘care’

‘Parragirls Past, Present’ is a deeply moving immersive encounter with former residents’ visions of Parramatta Girls Home, a punitive Australian child welfare institution closed in 1974. This collaboration with media artists and Parragirls rewrites the history of the Girls Home, where children were subjected to unwarranted punishment and abuse, as documented in the Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. This work was created over a year and half as Parragirls returned to the Girls Home in Western Sydney. The experience gives emphatic voice to their empowerment and vision to reclaim the institution’s abandoned history. Parragirls bear witness to their traumatic experiences so that such crimes might never happen again. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, Parragirls’ living memories unlock inexplicable realms of institutional ‘care’ as well as hopes for a different future.

On 22 October 2018, at the conclusion of the festival, the Prime Minister will deliver a national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

12 – 20 October at the Jumpgate VR Lounge. Tickets.

Running 62

Can he inspire, drive change in his community or raise enough money? Zibeon Fielding, Aboriginal TSI man and long distance runner is preparing to run a crazy 62 kilometres. Driven by passion to help those he loves, Zibeon will run further than he ever has before in the heart of Australian desert. He is determined to run from Iwantja to Mimili raising funds to create dialysis in the APY lands allowing this health access in the remote APY Lands. We follow him on his journey of training and experience with him the mental and physical preparation required whilst living in one of Australia’s remotest and smallest communities. Training early mornings with the help of the camp dogs, his two year old daughter and his wife and going to Boston Marathon as part of his training plan, Zibeon is a unique and driven man with a positive outlook on life. He wants to bring awareness that making healthy change can give you a healthier, happier lifestyle to live longer and enjoy life.

Screens as part of Made In SA.

Screenings:
Monday 15 October, 6:45pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Sunday 21 October, 4pm, Odeon Star Cinema. Tickets.

Running 62: The Arrival VR
Running 62: The Arrival VR

Running 62: The Arrival VR

Zibeon Fielding is on the edge of achieving his dream, completing an ultra-marathon through the central desert where he lives. Waking with him on the morning of the run we see the determination it will take him to make the distance. Scored by the soulful beats of Electric Fields we follow Zibeon as he makes the final sprint to reach his community. Regardless of whether he makes the distance there is going to be one hell of a party waiting for him.

16 – 21 October at the Jumpgate VR Lounge. Tickets.

Samson & Delilah

Warwick Thornton’s feature debut bowed at Cannes in 2009 to rapturous acclaim from critics and audiences. One of very few films ever to receive five stars from both David and Margaret on At the Movies, its inclusion in My Top 3 adds further weight to its status as a genuine Australian classic. The tale begins in a remote Aboriginal community where dot painting, rock’n’roll and Latino music are part of the landscape. Teenager Samson spends his days in a petrol-sniffing haze. Delilah looks after her nana, a gifted artist being exploited by unscrupulous agents. Samson likes Delilah but like most teenagers he has an awkward way of showing it. In delightfully humorous scenes he eventually gets a little closer. Tragedy brings the teenagers together and propels them on a journey to Alice Springs. Along the way they’re confronted by many of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous Australians. Homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse. One of the most remarkable aspects of this magnificently performed and photographed (by Thornton) tale is the sparsity of dialogue. Samson and Delilah barely exchange 100 words but Thornton’s eye for detail and the expressive faces of Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson say everything. This ADL Film Festival Fund-supported project takes us on a tough and beautifully tender journey to remember – forever.

Screenings:
Saturday 13 October, 11:30am, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.

She Who Must Be Loved

This documentary tells the epic life story of Freda Glynn, 78 year old Aboriginal woman, stills photographer, co founder of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), and Imparja TV, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, radical, pacifist, grumpy old woman, who in equal measure loves the limelight and total privacy. Part bio-pic, part social history, it details the life of a woman born beneath a tree north of Alice Springs in 1939, her childhood living under the Aboriginal Protection policies and the impact, both good and bad they had on her life.

Screenings:
Saturday 13 October, 2pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Saturday 20 October, 2pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.

Wild

When Rosie Fields gets a call that her younger brother Tyson is at the police station, she knows the police are the least of his problems. Already irate at having to leave work, Rosie’s anger is pushed to its limit when she hears what Tyson is in trouble for. Can a cheeky smile and two cowering cops stand in the way of a sister pushed to breaking point?

Screens as part of Made In SA.

Screenings:
Monday 15 October, 6:45pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Sunday 21 October, 4pm, Odeon Star Cinema. Tickets.

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