5 Indigenous Australian Films (and 1 TV series) Everyone Should See

An Indigenous cowboy detective, Jay Swan, returns to his outback hometown, to solve the murder of a teenage girl. Alienated from both the white-dominated police force and his own community, Jay stands alone in his determination to fight back for his town and his people.

The cast includes Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving and Jack Thompson.

Penny’s Take: “Director Ivan Sen is one of Australia’s most talented filmmakers. All of his films raise important questions of identity, race and belonging. The strong characters in this film and the intrigue built around them, combined with the incredible West Australian landscape, has allowed for this story to continue beyond this first feature film. The follow-up feature “Goldstone” also received critical acclaim.

Watch on iTunes, Google Play, FetchTV for free on ABC iview until 30 August.

“Spear” (2016)
Directed by Stephen Page

“Spear” is a contemporary Aboriginal story, told through movement and dance, of a young man, Djali, as he journeys through his community to understand what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world. Spanning from the outback of Australia to the gritty city streets of Sydney, it is a poignant reflection of the continuing cultural connection of Indigenous people.

The cast includes Hunter Page-Lochard (the director’s son) and Aaron Pedersen.

Penny’s Take: “Spear” provided an opportunity for the first-time film director and current artistic director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page, to cross art forms from dance and into film. This film is stunning cinematically, but also significant because of its ability to bring ancient and contemporary stories about Indigenous life in Australia to the screen. Hunter Page-Lochard, director Stephen Page’s son, and Aaron Pedersen deliver exceptional performances.”

Watch on iTunes, Google Play, FetchTV

“The Sapphires” (2012)
Directed by Wayne Blair

Gail, Cynthia, Julie and Kay are sexy, black, young and talented — and they’ve never set foot outside Australia. Until, in the chaos of 1968, they’re plucked from the obscurity of a remote Aboriginal mission, promoted as Australia’s answer to The Supremes and — grasping the chance of a lifetime — dropped into the jungles of Vietnam to entertain the troops.

The cast includes Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Chris O’Dowd.

Penny’s Take: “Director Wayne Blair is an incredibly talented filmmaker and the Indigenous Department is proud to have played a key role in supporting his career development. ‘The Sapphires’ told a uniquely Australian story and helped launch the screen careers of some of Australia’s most accomplished Indigenous actors, including Miranda Tapsell, Shari Sebbens and Jessica Mauboy. This feel-good film also has great music!

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