2017 FILMS

Film schedule here



Thursday 23 Nov 7pm | Sweet Country  (SOLD OUT)
 Opening Night Film | Sydney Premiere| Australia
Warwick Thornton’s stunning period Western starring Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Matt Day follows an Aboriginal stockman facing a town’s toxic racist underbelly after he kills a white station-owner in self-defense.


Friday 24 Nov 7.15pm | Waru
Australian Premiere | New Zealand
Eight female Māori directors contribute subtly interlinked vignettes that unfold around the funeral of a small boy who died at the hands of his caregiver.


Sunday 26 Nov 7pm | After the Apology (SOLD OUT)
Closing Night Film | Australian Premiere | Australia  
Four Aboriginal grannies take on the government policies to curb the skyrocketing rates of child removal. Bring their grandkids home. Their grassroots actions spearhead a national movement to bring the kids home.
+ shorts Days like These and From Up North


Sunday 26 Nov 3.45pm | Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance | Canada
Director Alanis Obomsawin presents a nerve-wracking first-person insight into the historic 78-day-long armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army in 1990 over Mohawk land.


Friday 24 Nov 5.15pm | Mankiller
International Premiere | United States
A powerful documentary examining the legacy of Wilma Mankiller, who defied rampant sexism to emerge as the Cherokee Nation’s first female Principal Chief.


Sunday 26 Nov 1.45pm | Out of State
Australian Premiere | United States
After discovering their Indigenous Hawaiian heritage in prison, two men wrestle with inner demons and outside pressures when they return home to start over.


Saturday 25 Nov 12.30pm | Our People Will Be Healed
Australian Premiere | Canada
Veteran director Alanis Obomsawin observes a school in Manitoba, Canada finally beginning to educate its Cree students on their own history and culture.
Friday 24 Nov 3.30pm | The Mayors of Shiprock
International Premiere | United States
An inspiring documentary following a group of young Navajo leaders working to restore hope and change to the once-thriving town of Shiprock, New Mexico.


Saturday 25 Nov 6.45pm | The Road Forward
Australian Premiere | Canada
An electrifying film documenting Canada’s Native Brotherhood and Native Sisterhood, a tiny movement that became a powerful national voice for sociopolitical advocacy.


Brave New Lens in partnership with Māoriland Film Festival
Friday 24 Nov 1pm
+ Dear Little Brother, Black Dog, Hine, Sock Mess Monster, Dance of Lonely Birds


Saturday 25 + Sunday 26 Nov 11am – 9pm
+ Ena Koe, Ka Puta Ko Au, Kia Tau, Uhiwai, Ara, Ra’Satste, Sech’el, Ena Koe, Skoha, Tawhaowhao


Saturday 25 Nov 3pm
+ Frances Dolby, The Boab Carver, Gununa… Seasons Changing,Moving Away, Ornmol (Ochre), , Patjarr (Stories from Country), Pintal Pintal, Purluwala Jila, Turtle Story with Cyril Ninnal, What We Love About Junba, Wurrumba


 International Shorts
Saturday 25 Nov 4.45pm
+ RaeMeke, Ahi Ka, Aurora Keeps An Eye On You, Three Thousand, Holy Angels, Possum


 Shorts from the South
Sunday 26 Nov 12pm
+ Brown Lips, Coat of Arms, Last Drinks At Frida’s, Water, Blight, Kia Tau, Ka Puta Ko Au



Sweet Country (SOLD OUT)
Opening Night Film | 7pm | Event Cinemas George St | $20 (screening only), $35 (screening and after party) | Australia | 2017 | 110 mins | English | Classified CTC
Director: Warwick Thornton | Producers: David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin
Synopsis: Warwick Thornton’s stunning period Western starring Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Matt Day. The Australian western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s, where justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self-defense and goes on the run as posse gathers to hunt him down.

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Brave New Lens in partnership with Māoriland Film Festival | Australian Premieres | 1pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | Classified G
Libby Hakaraia, Director of Māoriland Film Festival

Dear Little Brother
New Zealand | 2017 | 4mins
Director: Benji Timu
Synopsis: A heartfelt message from an older brother to his younger brother on the cusp of his teenage years.

Black Dog
New Zealand | 2016 | 8mins
Director: Awa Puna
Synopsis: An eye-opening short documentary examining the high rate of male suicide in New Zealand every year.

New Zealand | 2016 | 5mins
Director: Shania Bailey Edmonds, Nathan Williams, Tony Matich, Reuben Love
Synopsis: A young girl attempts to avenge her mother’s death by channelling her spirit, after she struggles to find connection with her father.

Sock Mess Monster
New Zealand | 2017 | 10mins
Director: Nikau Wi Neera
Synopsis: A humorous story of revolution, and the quest to defeat a curse once and for all – all played out with sock puppets.

Dance of Lonely Birds
New Zealand | 2016 | 10mins
Director: Ana Scotney, Ella Gilbert
Synopsis: A film capturing the healing love of female friendship, following the highs and lows of a group of girlfriends across a 21st birthday party in Wellington.

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The Mayors of Shiprock
3.30pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | United States | 2017 | 56 mins | English | Classified G
Director: Ramona Emerson
Synopsis: Every Monday in the small community of Shiprock, New Mexico, a group of young Navajo leaders meet to decide how they will help their community. For over seven years, the Northern Dine Youth Committee has worked to give youth opportunities to directly make changes within their community. But while the NDYC works to make changes, many members also consider their own futures, commitments to family and the world outside of the Shiprock. While they love their community, they all must consider their options both on and off the reservation.

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5.15pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | United States | 2017 | 73 mins | English | Classified CTC
Director: Valerie Red-Horse Mohl
Synopsis: Mankiller examines the legacy of the formidable Wilma Mankiller, who defied all odds, overcame rampant sexism and personal challenges to emerge as the Cherokee Nation’s first female Principal Chief in 1985. This film which reunites the team of Gale Anne Hurd and Valerie Red-Horse Mohl for their third documentary, highlights Mankiller’s humble leadership style and her strength as a uniter, powerfully reminding audiences of the true meaning of servant leadership.

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7.15pm | Event Cinemas George St | $15 | New Zealand | 2017 | 88 mins | English/Maori | Classified CTC
Director: Chelsea Cohen, Ainsley Gardiner, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace Smith, Paula Whetu Jones, Katie Wolfe | Producers: Kiel McNaughton, Kerry Warkia
Synopsis: Eight female Māori directors have each contributed a ten minute vignette, presented as a continuous shot in real time, that unfolds around the tangi (funeral) of a small boy (Waru) who died at the hands of his caregiver. The vignettes are all subtly interlinked and each follow one of eight female Māori lead characters during the same moment in time as they come to terms with Waru’s death and try to find a way forward in their community. In Māori, waru means 8.
Guest: Renae Maihi, Director

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Shorts from the Bush
Saturday 25 Nov 3pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | Classified CTC

Purluwala Jila
Australia | 2016 | 5mins
Director: Dominic Allen
Synopsis: Elder Amy Nugget takes her daughter and granddaughter on a journey to visit her ancestral Jila (permanent water source), a sacred site her family once lived at.

Francis Dolby, The Boab Carver
Australia | 2016 | 5mins
Director: Katie Breckon
Synopsis: Carving a boab tree, Francis Dolby discusses the connection to spirits and country that he carves and paints.

Moving Away
Australia | 2017 | 1min
Director: Darren Wilson
Synopsis: A young person comes to terms with whether they should stay within their community, or move to the city.

Turtle Story with Cyril Ninnal
Australia | 2017 | 2mins
Director: Tom Hearn
Synopsis: Cyril Ninnal in Wadeye discusses country, and the turtle story.

Gununa… Seasons Changing
Australia | 2017 | 7mins
Director: Renee Ngandawarrkirr Wilson
Synopsis: An insight into the life on the Mornington Islands off the Queensland coast, and the ways families adapt to the seasonal calendar.

Patjarr (Stories from Country)
Australia | 2016| 22mins
Director: ICTV crew
Synopsis: Norma Giles tells the story of the Aboriginal community of Patjarr, while Daisy Ward shares the story of Mina Mina – Featherfoot country.

What We Love About Junba
Australia | 2016 | 2mins
Director: Katie Breckon
Synopsis: A collection of interviews with Mowanjum Community children about what they love about Junba – storytelling through traditional song and dance.

Australia | 2017 | 3mins
Director: Barra West Wind Team
Synopsis: The great white shark of Galpu Clan from North East Arnhem Land.

Ornmol (Ochre)
Australia | 2017 | 9mins
Director: Katie Breckon
Synopsis: The story of the natural clay earth pigment ochre, and its importance to ceremony.

Pintal Pintal
Australia | 2017 | 6mins
Director: Mervyn Mulardy, Trevor Ishiguchi
Synopsis: As Babiduwarrida sleeps, he dreams of a song, coming to him from a spiritual place called Yatangal.

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International Shorts
Saturday 25 Nov 4.30pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | Classified CTC

Canada | 2017 | 12mins
Director: Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
Synopsis: While organizing her seventh birthday party, Rae, a young Mohawk girl and her schizophrenic mom find their roles reversed within their mother-daughter relationship.

New Zealand | 2017 | 8mins
Director: Tim Worall
Synopsis: The arrival of a trainer’s daughter into the midst of backstage preparations before an important boxing match threatens to destroy the precious relationship between fighter and coach.
Guest: Piripi Curtis, Co-Producer

Ahi Ka
New Zealand | 2017 | 8mins
Director: Richard Curtis
Synopsis: A young girl lives off her ancestor’s land all by herself where she comes across some foreign settlers.

Aurora Keeps An Eye On You
Norway | 2017 | 12mins
Director: Sara Margrethe Oskal
Synopsis: The story of a girl who must beg for help from the Northern Lights when her little brother disappears after she takes her family frustrations out on him.

Three Thousand
Australia | 2017 | 14mins
Director: Asinnajaq, also known as Isabella Weetaluktuk
Synopsis: An innovative animation crafted from the National Film Board of Canada’s historic Inuit archives, recasting their past, present and future in a thought-provoking new light.

Holy Angels
Canada | 2017 | 13mins
Synopsis: A healing journey following former captive of Holy Angels Residential School, Elder Lena Wandering Spirit, and a young dancer.

New Zealand | 2017 | 15mins
Director: Dave Whitehead
Synopsis: The relationship between two young brothers is put to the ultimate test when they venture into the woods, hunting a notorious possum named Scar.
Guest: Dave Whitehead, Director

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Our People Will Be Healed
12.30pm | Event Cinemas George St | $15 | Canada | 2017 | 97 mins | English | Classified CTC
Director: Alanis Obomsawin
Synopsis: Children’s rights have been a central theme in much of the work by veteran director Alanis Obomsawin. Her latest film takes her to the remote Cree community of Norway House, Manitoba; where she turns her lens on a school that’s developed an innovative and engaging approach to educating First Nations students.
Guest: Alanis Obomsawin, Director

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The Road Forward
6.45pm | Event Cinemas George St | $15 | Canada | 2017 | 101 mins | English | Classified CTC
Director: Marie Clements | Producers: Shirley Vercruysse, Teri Snelgrove
Synopsis: The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today.
Clements paints an electrifying picture of how a tiny movement, the Native Brotherhood and Native Sisterhood, became a powerful voice for social, political and legal advocacy, eventually effecting profound change at the national level. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. The Road Forward is a rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.

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Shorts from the South | Sunday 26 Nov 12pm

Brown Lips
Australia | 2017 | 12mins
Director: Nakkiah Lui
Synopsis: A family falls apart and two lives change forever, as two cousins from Sydney’s outer suburbs turn their backs on their family for good.

Coat of Arms
Australia | 2017 | 8mins
Director: Dylan River
Synopsis: They’re native, but not as we know it.

Last Drinks At Frida’s
Australia | 2017 | 12mins
Director: Bjorn Stewart
Synopsis: A soldier finds himself in Aboriginal speak-easy bar Frida’s, and is instantly seduced by the sounds of jazz singer Tilly De Frida.
Guests: Bjorn Stewart, Director + Kodi Bedford, Director

Australia | 2017 | 12mins
Director: John Harvey
Synopsis: Set in 2047 with strict population controls in place, the film follows a heavily pregnant woman who manages to evade authorities but finds herself stranded on a dry salt lake with little water.

Nobody’s Child
Australia | 2017 | 9mins
Director: CJ Friday
Synopsis: A spirited child searches for the identity of her parents and comes face-to-face with the imminent loss of her sister.

Australia | 2017 | 12mins
Director: Perun Bonser
Synopsis: Aided by a female Aboriginal tracker, a constable hunts a band of dangerous criminals on Australia’s western frontier in the early 1900s.

Kia Tau
New Zealand | 2017 | 10mins
Directors: Chris Malloy, Michelle Latimer, Yamin Tun
Synopsis: The spirit of the departed lingers long after death leading a young woman to strikes up an unusual friendship with a Māori man. Also screening as part of Native Slam II
Yamin Tun, Director

Ka Puta Ko Au
New Zealand | 2017 | 11mins
Directors: Amie Batalibasi, Kelton Stepanowich, Renae Maihi
Synopsis: A young woman has to risk her life travelling through enemy territory in order to save her people. Also screening as part of Native Slam II
Renae Maihi, Director + Libby Hakaraia, Executive Producer

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Out of State
1.45pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | United States | 2017 | 101 mins | English | Classified CTC
Director: Ciara Lacy
Synopsis: Exiled three thousand miles away from their tropical home to a private prison in the desert of nowhere Arizona, two inmates discover their fierce, indigenous Hawaiian heritage from a lifer sentenced to 120 years in jail. Now, eager to prove to themselves and to their families that this experience has changed them forever, these two men return home to Hawaii to start over. However, life is anything but easy as they wrestle with inner demons and outside pressures. OUT OF STATE uses beautiful visuals and a lyrical style to craft a piercing, intimate story asking: can you ever truly go home again?

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Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance
3.45pm | Event Cinemas George St | $10 | Canada | 1993 | 119 mins | English | Classified M
Director: Alanis Obomsawin | Producers: Alanis Obomsawin, Wolf Koenig, Colin Neale
Synopsis: On a hot July day in 1990, an historic confrontation propelled Indigenous issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Québec, into the international spotlight and into the Canadian conscience. Director Alanis Obomsawin endured 78 nerve-wracking days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Québec police and the Canadian army. A powerful feature-documentary emerges that takes you right into the action of an age-old Indigenous struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades, providing insight into the Mohawks’ unyelding determination to protect their land.
Guest: Director Alanis Obomsawin

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After the Apology (SOLD OUT)
Closing Night Film | 7pm | UTS Alumni Green | FREE | Australia | 2017 | 82 mins | English
Director: Larissa Behrendt
Synopsis: Suellyn thought FACS would only remove children in extreme cases until her own grandchildren were taken in the middle of the night. Hazel decided to take on the FACS system after her fourth grandchild was taken into state care. Jen Swan expected to continue to care for her grandchildren but she was deemed unsuitable by FACS, a shock not just to her but to her sister, Deb, who was, at the time, was a FACS worker. The rate of Indigenous child removal has almost doubled since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the apology to the ‘stolen generations’ in 2008. These four grandmothers’ find each other and start a national movement to address the rising number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. They are not only taking on the system, they are changing it.
Guest: Larissa Behrendt, Director
+ shorts Days like These and From Up North

Days like These
Australian | 2007 | 5mins
Director: Martin Leroy Adams
Synopsis: With Days Like These Martin Leroy puts the viewer into the shoes of Dan, a young Aboriginal man trying to find work. As we follow him through the day we get a feeling of what it means to be black and to cope with disappointments and social stereotyping.

From Up North
Canada | 2017 | 13mins
Director: Trudy Stewart
Synopsis: From Up North is a short, poetic, documentary on the director’s experience recording Indian Residential School survivors’ stories for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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