Cinema Greats on the Future of Indigenous Film

September 12th 2018

Sweet CountryRedfern NowOccupation NativeSpear (via Screen Australia) 

To celebrate 25 years of Indigenous filmmaking at Screen Australia – the funding body behind Australia’s most celebrated films and T.V – some of cinema’s best-known Indigenous filmmakers gathered at Carriageworks to mark the Silver Jubilee. FBi Radio Filmlordes Jack Atherton and André Shannon caught up with a few of the biggest stars.

Until the 1980s Indigenous cinema was made by non-Indigenous people. The Indigenous department of Screen Australia was instated to rectify this by encouraging and funding Indigenous filmmaking by Indigenous practitioners. As a result some of Australia’s most celebrated screen work has been made through the Indigenous Department, we’re talking Sweet Country, Black Divaz, Samson & Delilah and Redfern Now to name a few.

For the full chats check out the 25 years of Indigenous Filmmaking at Screen Australia podcast episode of DANGERFILM, and keep reading to get our interviewee’s hot takes on how to best inspire the next generation of filmmakers to get out of bed and onto set.



Best known for roles in Top Of The Lake (2016), Kiki and Kitty (2017), and Grace Beside Me (2018)

On how to inspire upcoming practitioners

… Keep writing in your journals and just do it, like especially for kids now, you’ve got phones, you know how to point and shoot videos, just do it… The greatest story that is yet to be told is yours. So just do it. And, definitely get on the Internet and look up all the initiatives at Screen Australia because that’s what you know, that’s what it’s all about, the support…”



Head of Indigenous Department at Screen Australia

A call to arms for Indigenous emerging filmmakers

“… A call to arms for young Indigenous filmmakers; we need you, basically. We need this whole next generation of Aboriginal (…) and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers telling our stories, from our point of view. Audiences will never really understand who Indigenous people are unless we continue to grow this industry… In the room today, you know, we have the Warwick Thorntons, the Rachel Perkins, the Leah Purcells (…) they have really built the foundation for the next generation… It’s there for the taking… We desperately need more filmmakers.



Filmmaker, and Visual Artist, known for films Samson and Delilah (2009) and Sweet Country (2017)

On the importance of new filmmakers

“… The way I see it; there is a new voice, and a younger generation of Indigenous people, or just a younger generation of people, who have a different voice (…)And Just because I made a film about old people, or I made a film about the youth of 1996 (…) doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t because your generation has a different point of view (…) The younger generation has a very unique voice that I don’t have, and so they need to tell their stories just as much as I got to tell mine.”



Cinematographer, Artist known for Carry the Flag (2017), Sweet Country (2017)

On the importance of Indigenous voices in cinema

“… The struggle is very real still in this country (…) and our job is not done until Aboriginal culture is truly celebrated, and supported in this country, in the way it could be. In 25 years we’ve come a very long way, and in the next 25 years we will go just as far as we have already come (…) until our programs are in the curriculum and in schools and kids mind sets are being changed to view our country in a more beautiful way, that’s where we’re going. We’re going to a better Australia and it’s our job as storytellers and filmmakers to make that change.”



Actor, Dancer, Director, known for Spear (2015), Cleverman (2016-)

On why the future is exciting for Indigenous filmmaking

“… I’m very excited because we have cards to play. We’ve grown up with mainstream media so we know what cards to play. I always say we have films like Braveheart and Vikings and all these historical shows (…) and we don’t have any films about us. So the world doesn’t know about us, and our story. So, imagine if we had our own Apocalypto version epic to showcase our stories! I’ve always had a fire to put ourselves on the map creatively and historically in a massive way. People still want art!”



Read more from FBi Radio