Reconciliation in Film: 12 Films | 12 Months

As a film reviewer, freelance writer, and screenwriter, I am always looking at movies being, well; critical. Analyzing dialogue, action scenes, characters, plotlines and just about everything else.

One thing I have noticed is that First Nations content is on the up and up. Television shows such as Total Control and Mystery Road are doing very well both in Australia and internationally while also addressing issues of representation in front of and behind the camera.

So well that international funding bodies & production companies are starting to take note.

In June, it was announced that the streaming platform HULU had teamed with AMC studios and England based production company See-Saw films to bring the Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country) and Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) concept Firebite to life. The series is a science fiction concept featuring First Nations warriors and vampires and is to be filmed in South Australia.

Aside from television, First Nation film is also rising, with the upcoming Leah Purcell (Wentworth) western The Drovers Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson set to release later this year, First Nation filmmaker Ivan Sen’s (Mystery Road) new film Loveland starring Ryan Kwanton and Hugo Weaving in post-production and there is First Nations content being produced all over Australia.

How did the film industry get to the point where First Nations practitioners are securing international funding for big budget projects, when so many other industries are failing to provide a place for First Nations people, employees, and businesses?

It is an interesting question and one that probably has more than one answer. Is the answer visibility? Is it value? What is different about the film industry than any other?

Over the next 12 months, I will aim to review 12 films with First Nations content that have seen support from the South Australian Film Corporation (as listen on IMDB Pro) to see how content has grown over the decades, I will also add other insights as I find them.

To join the conversation please feel free to send your own insights, comments, or questions to me at travis@reconciliationsa.org.au.

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The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is a highly anticipated Australian film debuting in October 2021.

Molly Johnson’s husband is away droving cattle, leaving her alone to care for their four children at their remote Snowy Mountains homestead. Despite being heavily pregnant, Molly keeps various threats, from nature and other people, at bay. But when Yadaka, an Aboriginal man on the run from white law enforcement, intrudes on the sanctuary she has carved out, the brutal hardships and secrets that have followed them both throughout their lives must be confronted. Starring Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Sam Reid & Jessica de Gouw.