Australian Cinema > types > Indigenous. See also my presentation on Indigenous Issues in Australian Cinema


Inclusive list of Australian films with significant Indigenous character/theme/director or actor - in alpha order

See further down the page for chronological order.

After Mabo (John Hughes, 1997) documentary

Assigned To His Wife (John Gavin, 1911) In the dramatic highlight of the film, Jack's faithful Aboriginal friend, Yacka, contrives to rescue him with a 'Dive for Life' in which the Aboriginal boy dives 250 feet from a precipice into a river; evidence is eventually found that exonerates Jack and condemns Danvers, and at last Jack is free to return to England with Bess and Yacka

Australian Rules (Paul Goldman, 2002) 98 min. wr. Phillip Gwynne (novel Deadly, Unna?) Paul Goldman, dop Mandy Walker, music Mick Harvey; Nathan Phillips, Lisa Flanagan, Simon Westaway, Luke Carroll, Kevin Harrington, Martin Vaughan, Liz Black

Back of Beyond, The (John Heyer, 1954) documentary; mailman travels the Birdsville Track

Backlash (Bill Bennett, 1986) Eastman colour, 35 mm, 89 min., prod. Bill Bennett for Mermaid Beach Productions, wr. Bill Bennett, with dialogue by the cast, dop Tony Wilson, music Michael Atkinson, Michael Spicer, ed. Denise Hunter; David Argue, Gia Carides, Lydia Miller, Brian Syron

Backroads (Phillip Noyce, 1977) prod. Elizabeth Knight & Phillip Noyce, wr. John Emery, Phillip Noyce & cast, dop Russell Boyd; Gary Foley, Bill Hunter, Terry Camilleri, Zac Martin, Julie McGregor; white drifter (Hunter) and young Aborigine (Foley) careen around outback NSW; brief review of DVD release: Edwin Peters, Empire, 45, December 2004: 112; Sydney, colour, 16 mm, 61 min.

beDevil (Tracey Moffatt, 1993) music Carl Vine; avant-garde trilogy of ghost stories, first major feature from this Aboriginal director

Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002) wr. Ivan Sen, prod. Teresa-Jayne Hanlon; Damian Pitt (Vaughn), Dannielle Hall (Lena), 95 min.; 52nd Berlinale - Berlin Film Festival 2002: Premiere First Film Award, Piper Heidsieck award for Best New Talent - Dannielle Hall. Perth Premiere: 9 May 2002, with Ivan Sen in attendance; Best Director AFI Awards 7 November 2002; Best Cinematography AFI Awards 7 November 2002: Alan Collins

Bitter Springs (Ralph Smart, 1950) wr. Monja Danischewsky, W. P. Lipscomb from story by Ralph Smart, prod. Michael Balcon, dp George Heath, music Ralph Vaughan Williams; Chips Rafferty, Tommy Trinder, Gordon Jackson, Jean Blue, Michael Pate, Charles Tingwell; colonial land rights clash tale from UK's Ealing Studios, with an Aboriginal as a major character: Black Jack (Henry Murdoch) is not a tracker as such, but he is a guide, in physical, social and moral senses

Blackfire (Bruce McGuinness, 1972) possibly documentary; length unknown

Black River (Kevin Lucas, 1993) prize-winning film of Andrew Schultz's opera about black deaths in custody; Maroochy Barambah, John Pringle, Cindy Pan, Clive Birch, James Bonnefin, Bangarra Dance Troupe; according to a Trivial Pursuit™ Genus IV card, this is an "unusual Aussie film" which won the "Grande [sic] Prix Opera Screen '93"

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) music Cezary Skubiszewski, dop Geoffrey Simpson; Robert Carlyle, Charles Dance, Kerry Fox, Colin Friels, Ben Mendelsohn, David Ngoombujarra; first screened at the Sydney Film Festival 7 June 2002

Blackfellas (James Ricketson, 1993) based on Archie Weller's Day of the Dog, music David Milroy, dop Jeffrey Malouf; drama about urban Aborigines starring John Moore and David Ngoombujarra

Bran Nue Dae (Rachel Perkins, 2009) based on stage musical by Jimmy Chi et al., wr. Reg Cribb, Rachel Perkins, Jimmy Chi, original music Cezary Skubiszewski; Phillip Rocky McKenzie, Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo, Deborah Mailman, Ningali Lawford, Missy Higgins, Tom Budge; musical

Burke and Wills (Graeme Clifford, 1985) wr. Michael Thomas, dop Russell Boyd, music Peter Sculthorpe; explorers starve to death among food which they cannot recognise as such and Aboriginals who cannot understand that; 140 min.

Bush Christmas (Henri Safran, 1983) horse race won by Aboriginal boy rider

Cargo (Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling, 2017) wr. Yolanda Ramke, prod. Kristina Ceyton, Samantha Jennings, dp Geoffrey Simpson; Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius, Kris McQuade, Natasha Wanganeen, Bruce R. Carter, Simon Landers, David Gulpilil; zombies

Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The (Fred Schepisi, 1978) wr. Thomas Kenneally (novel) Fred Schepisi, dop Ian Baker, music Bruce Smeaton; Tommy Lewis, Jack Thompson; classic film about a young Aborigine exploding into violence when treated unjustly by whites; 120 min.

Charlie's Country (Rolf de Heer, 2013) wr. Rolf de Heer, prod. Nils Erik Nielsen, Peter Djigirr; David Gulpilil; 'tragi-comic portrait of one man's struggle to define himself as an Aboriginal in modern Australia'; premiere Adelaide FF October 2013; 107 min.

City's Edge, The (Ken Quinnell, 1983) 35 mm, 91 min. prods Pom Oliver & Errol Sullivan for Eastcaps, wrs Robert Merrirt & Ken Quinnell from novel by W. A. Harbinson, dop Louis Irvin, design Robert Dein, ed. Greg Ropert; Tom Lewis, Hugo Weaving, Katrina Foster, Mark Lee, Ralph Cotterill; love story set against decay of Bondi Beach: lovers lives increasingly dominated by charismatic young Aborigine

Cold Turkey (Steve McGregor, 2003) John Moore, Wayne Munro, Kelton Pell

Come Out Fighting (Nigel Buesst, 1973) play by Harry Martin, dp Byron Kennedy, 50 min.; Michael Karpaney, Joey Collins, Bethany Lee , Cliff Neate, Peter Green (Rocko Garibaldi), Kris McQuade ('Sporting World' hostess), John Duigan (student); indigenous boxer drama

Cooee And The Echo (Alfred Rolfe, 1912) a happy ending is only reached when a 'faithful' Aboriginal boy (played by Charles Woods in blackface) arrives in time to rescue the hero

Coolbaroo Club, The (Roger Scholes, 1996) wr. co-prod. Steve Kinnane, prod. Penny Robbins, 55 min. award-winning documentary on post-war race relations in Australia; for 14 years, from 1946 to 1960, in the city of Perth, Western Australia, the Coolbaroo Club was a meeting place and a community focus for the local Aboriginal community

Crocodile Dreaming (Darlene Johnson, 2007) short; David Gulpilil

Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986) David Gulpilil as Neville Bell

Crocodile Dundee 2 (John Cornell, 1988) Ernie Dingo as Charlie

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (Simon Wincer, 2001) David Ngoombujarra as Arthur

Cross, The (Richard Frankland, in development 2002) not completed

Dan Morgan (Spencer's Pictures, 1911) "Aborigines associated with a bushranger", Malone 1987: 3; Pike & Cooper 29 [cf Mad Dog Morgan, below]

Dead Heart (Nick Parsons, 1996) wr. Nick Parsons, prod. Bryan Brown, Helen Watts, dop James Bartle, music Stephen Rae; Bryan Brown, Ernie Dingo, Angie Milliken, Gnarnayarrahe Waitaire, Aaron Pederson; Bryan Brown as outback cop in story of clash between tribal and white man's law

Deadly (Esben Storm, 1992) prod. Richard Moir, dop Geoffrey Simpson, music Graeme Revell; Jerome Ehlers, Frank Gallacher, Lydia Miller, John Moore, Caz Lederman; review by Karl Quinn in Murray 1995: 336; story about investigation into a black death in custody

Dreaming, The (Mario Andreacchio, 1988) prod. Antony I. Ginnane, dop David Foreman, music Frank Strangio; Arthur Dignam, Penny Cook, Gary Sweet; doctor treats a sick aborigine, who had defied a tribal taboo and visited a sacred cave; she soon finds herself having disturbing dreams and involved in a 200-year-old mystery

Dreaming in Motion, compilation of five short films: Shit Skin (Nicholas Boseley) Black Talk (Wayne Blair) Flat (Beck Cole) Turn Around (Samantha Saunders) Mimi (Warwick Thornton) AFC, SBS Independent

Dreamland (Ivan Sen, 2009) Daniel Roberts; story of UFO hunter set in Nevada; not Australian; not Indigenous theme; Australian Indigenous director's second feature

Dust (Ivan Sen, 2000) broadcast on SBS Friday 2 June 2000 as part of Unfinished Business: Reconciling the Nation; short drama exploring the demons and dreams of five people on a cotton farm

Eliza Fraser (Tim Burstall, 1976) wr. David Williamson, dop Dan Burstall, Robin Copping, music Bruce Smeaton; Susannah York, Trevor Howard, Noel Ferrier, John Castle, John Waters, Abigail, Gerard Kennedy

Emu Runner (Imogen Thomas, 2018) wr. Imogen Thomas; Rhae-Kye Waites, Stella Carter, Mary Waites; lyrical story about the impact a mother's death has on an Aboriginal family living in an isolated community

Exile and the Kingdom (Frank Rijavek, 1994) documentary; Roebourne area; AFC; 147 min.

Flood, The (Victoria Wharfe McIntyre, 2020) Alexis Lane, Shaka Cook, Dean Kyrwood

Fringe Dwellers, The (Bruce Beresford, 1986) wr. Nene Gare (novel), dop Donald McAlpine, music George Dreyful; Aboriginal family moves from shack to housing estate; first mainstream film with indigenous actors in all main roles

From Sand to Celluloid, 1996, made in association with SBS Independent for 'Creative Nation'.
Compilation of six short films by Aboriginal filmakers dramatising various aspects of Aboriginal life in white Australia, touching on topics which include Black Deaths In Custody, family life, social interaction and social disadvantage, traditions and racial discrimination.
No Way to Forget, writer, director, Richard Frankland (11 min.)
Fly Peewee Fly, writer, director, Sally Riley (10 min.)
Round Up, writer, director, Rima Tamou (16 min.)
Two Bob Mermaid, writer, director, Darlene Johnson (15 min.)
Payback, writer, director, Warwick Thornton (10 min.)
Black Man Down, writer, co-producer, Sam Watson ; director, Bill McCrow (11 min.)
Shifting Sands: From Sand to Celluloid Continued, 1998
Tears, c. 1997, dir. Ivan Sen; Luke Carroll (Vaughn), Jamilla Frail (Lena)
My Colour Your Kind, c. 1998, wr. dir. Daniel McClean. An albino Aboriginal girl is in a mission run by Catholic nuns
Passing Through, Margie chats with some old fellahs, who want her to go 'out there' to see some land that might contain gold
Grace, 1998, dir. wr. Wesley Enoch. London/Cairns. Grace (Justine Saunders) comes home from London to Cairns for a funeral
Promise, c. 1997, dir. Mitch Torres. Gran remembers her promised husband. They are 'thrown together' and that was 'proper hard'. He looks after her
My Bed Your Bed, dir. wr. Erica Glynn. A promised husband is shown to a young girl at a traditional ceremony, later she takes her bed and goes to him.

Furnace, The (Roderick MacKay, 2020) Ahmed Malek, David Wenham, Baykali Ganambarr; WA

Goldstone (Ivan Sen, 2016) prod. David Jowsey, Bunya Productions, Aaron Pedersen, Jacki Weaver, Alex Russell, David Gulpilil, David Wenham, Tom E. Lewis; spinoff from Mystery Road; shot Winton, Qld

Gulpilil: One Red Blood (Darlene Johnson, 2002) documentary broadcast Channel 2 2030 11 December 2002

Harry's War (Richard Frankland) documentary-drama about the war experience of Frankland's Uncle Harry; short; 35 min. Crossing Tracks 'compilation'

Healing Sound of the Bungarun Orchestra (ABC, 1999) Message Stick program about an orchestra at a leprosarium in Derby; 27 min.

Heart of the Man (David Cook, 2024) Bronte Pictures; Parker Little, David Cook, Roxanne Mcdonald; coming-of-age; premiere 28Feb; boxing

High Ground (Stephen Johnson, 2019) wr. Chris Anastassiades, dp Andrew Commis; Simon Baker, Jacob Junior Nayinggul, Callan Mulvey, Jack Thompson, Caren Pistorius, Ryan Corr, Sean Mununggurr, Witiyana Marika, John Brumpton, David Field; drama; Indigenous themes; set NT, 1930; In a bid to save the last of his family, Gutjuk, a young Aboriginal man, teams up with ex-soldier Travis to track down Baywara, the most dangerous warrior in the Territory, his uncle.

Howling 3: The Marsupials (Philippe Mora, 1987) wr. Gary Brandner (novel) Philippe Mora, dop Louis Irving, music Allan Zavod; Barry Otto, Imogen Annesley, Frank Thring, Burnum Burnum

Jasper Jones (Rachel Perkins, 2017) wr. Shaun Grant from novel by Craig Silvey, prod. David Jowsey, Vincent Sheehan; Hugo Weaving, Matt Nable, Myles Pollard, Dan Wyllie, Levi Miller, Aaron McGrath, Toni Collette, Angourie Rice; 1965 murder mystery; WA; release 2 March

Jedda (Charles Chauvel, 1955) dop Carl Kayser, music Isador Goodman; Ngarla Kunoth, Robert Tudawali, Betty Suttor, Paul Reynall; stolen generations story, with young Aboriginal woman raised by white family and torn between two cultures; colour, 101 min.

Jindabyne (Ray Lawrence, 2006) wr. Beatrix Christian, Ray Lawrence, based on short story 'So much water so close to home' by Raymond Carver, prod. Catherine Jarman, dop David Williamson, music Paul Kelly, Dan Luscombe; three men on a fishing trip discover the body of a murdered young Aboriginal woman; filmed in Kosciuszko National Park; Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, Deborra-Lee Furness, Chris Haywood, John Howard, Max Cullen, Leah Purcell; mystery

Jindalee Lady (Brian Syron, 1992) wr. Briann Kearney, Brian Syron, dop Mark Gilfedder, music Bart Willoughby, Nicolas Lyon; Lydia Miller; Jindalee Lady is the name of fashion label created by designer Laureen who was born on an Aboriginal reserve of that name

Journey (Ivan Sen, 1997) a boy on the road; 20 min.

Journey out of Darkness (James Trainor [born WA], 1967) wr. Howard Koch, James Trainor, dop Andrew Fraser, music Bob Young; Konrad Matthaei (an American), Ed Devereaux, Kamahl; v. Cinema Papers, 129, January 1999: 23; white actor Devereaux blacks up to play Aboriginal tracker, Jubbal, and Kamahl (from Ceylon [now Sri Lanka]) plays an Aboriginal prisoner; when Jubbal dies, the prisoner becomes his captor's guide "out of darkness"

Kabbarli (Andrew G. Taylor, 2002) docu-drama about Daisy Bates

Kadaicha (James Bogle, 1988) aka Stones of Death (US title) wr. Ian Coughlan, dop Stephen F. Windon, music Peter Westheimer; Zoe Carides, Sean Scully; horror, sci-fi

Last Wave, The (Peter Weir, 1977) prod. Jim & Hal McElroy, wr. Peter Weir, Tony Morphett, Petru Popescu, dop Russell Boyd, music Charles Wain; Richard Chamberlain, David Gulpilil

Limbo (Ivan Sen, 2023) wr. ed. dp music co-prod. Ivan Sen, co-prod. David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin, Rachel Higgins, prod. Bunya; Simon Baker, Rob Collins, Natasha Wanganeen; shot Coober Pedy, SA

Loveland (Ivan Sen, 2021) aka Expired; wr., dp., music, Ivan Sen; prod. David Jowsey, Bunya Productions; Keiichi Enomoto, June Yoon, Ryan Kwanten, Hugo Weaving; scifi; shot Hong Kong, Macau, Qld

Mad Bastards (Brendan Fletcher, 2010) drama set in remote Kimberley Indigenous communities; Sundance

Mad Dog Morgan (Philippe Mora, 1976) prod. Jeremy Thomas for Motion Picture Productions, wr. Philippe Mora, book Margaret Carnegie, Morgan, dop Mike Molloy, design Robin Hildich, music Patrick Flynn, ed. John Scott; Dennis Hopper, Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil, Frank Thring, Michael Pate, Wallas Eaton, Bill Hunter, John Hargreaves, Martin Harris, Robin Ramsay, Graeme Blundell, Gregory Apps, Norman Kaye, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Christopher Pate, Grant Page, Bruce Spence; Sydney, colour wide-screen 102 min.

Manganinnie (John Honey, 1980) wr. Beth Roberts (novel) Ken Kelso, prod. Gilda Baracchi, dop Gary Hansen, music Peter Sculthorpe; Mawayal Yanthalawuy, Anna Ralph, Phillip Hinton; first feature film from the Tasmanian Film Corporation

Milli Milli (Wayne Barker, 1994) Aboriginal people in the Kimberley; doco; 53 min.

Moogai, The (Jon Bell, 2024) Bella Heathcote, Toby Leonard Moore, Alexandra Jensen; horror

Moonlite (John Gavin, 1910) an Aboriginal character, Bunda, an Aboriginal "gin" was played by Gavin's wife Agnes in black face

Moora Neya, or The Message of the Spear (Alfred Rolfe, 1911) On a station west of the Darling, an evil overseer makes advances to the station owner's daughter, but Harry Earl, the girl's lover, gives him a thrashing. In revenge, the overseer urges some local Aborigines to kill Harry in his remote hut. After 'a weird and fantastic' corroboree, the tribe departs to capture Harry, but one responsible tribesman, Budgerie, manages to alert the station men by writing a message on a spear: 'Blacks kill Harry tonight 30 Miles Hut, HELP!' The stockmen ride to the rescue and save Harry just as the Aborigines perform a 'Death Dance' around him. The overseer is killed and the lovers reunited. Advertisements claimed that this was 'the first film introducing the Aboriginals in their native haunts and war dances'. Alfred Rolfe and his crew travelled to Brewarrina on the Darling River, in the central north of New South Wales, to film scenes with 'one of the wildest tribes of the Never Never Land'. (Pike & Cooper 1980: 29; 1998: 21-2)

Mourning for Mangatopi: A Tiwi Bereavement Ceremony (Curtis Levy, 1975) documentary

My Life as I Live It (Martha Ansara & Essie Coffey, 1994) documentary; 52 min.

My Survival as an Aboriginal (Essie Coffey, 1979) dop Martha Ansara; documentary; 49 min.

Mystery Road (Ivan Sen, 2013) wr. Ivan Sen; Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, Ryan Kwanten, Tony Barry, Tasma Walton, Damian Walshe-Howling, Siobhan Binge, David Field, Robert Mammone, Trisha Whitton; shot in Winton, Qld

Naked Country, The (Tim Burstall, 1985) aka Morris West's The Naked Country, dop David Eggby, music Bruce Smeaton; John Stanton, Tommy Lewis; examines 1950s land rights clash between Queensland pastoralists and Aborigines

New Black, The; collection of short films

New Boy, The (Warwick Thornton, 2023) wr. dp Warwick Thornton, prod. Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett et al.; Aswan Reid, Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Shane Brady, Tyrique Brady, Laiken Woolmington, Kailem Miller, Kyle Miller, Tyzailin Roderick, Tyler Spencer; SA

Nice Coloured Girls (Tracey Moffatt, 1987) short; Women's Film Fund and the Australian Film Commission; 17 min.

Night Cries - A Rural Tragedy (Tracey Moffatt, 1989) wr. Tracey Moffatt, dop John Whitteron, music Debra Petrovich; Akira Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Gentle, Agnes Hardwick, Marcia Langton, Jimmy Little; v. Scott Murray article in Cinema Papers, 79, May 1990: 18-22

Nightingale, The (Jennifer Kent, 2018) wr. Jennifer Kent, prod. Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky; Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood; drama set Tasmania 1829; screened VeniceFF 6Sept18, AdelaideFF 13Oct18, and SydneyFF 9 Jun19; released 29Aug19

One Night the Moon (Rachel Perkins, 2001) wr. Rachel Perkins, John Romeril, dop Kim Batterham, music Kev Carmody, Mairead Hannan, Paul Kelly; tragic music-drama adapted from true story about a blacktracker called in to find a missing girl; Kelton Pell; Paul Kelly, Kaarin Fairfax and their daughter Memphis Kelly are cast as the screen family; music by Mairead Hannan, Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody; premiere, Sydney Opera House June 2001

Overlanders, The (Harry Watt, 1946) wr. Harry Watt, dop Osmond Borradaile, music John Ireland; Chips Rafferty; an Aboriginal person as a major character

Pilbara Pearl (Christopher R. Watson, 1999) wr. Sarah Rossetti, WA; short

Putuparri and the Rainmakers (Nicole Ma, 2015) wr. Paul Elliot, Nicole Ma; aboriginal spirituality; doco

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phil Noyce, 2001) wr. Christine Olsen, based on book by Doris Pilkington Garimara, dop Christopher Doyle, music Peter Gabriel; Everlyn Sampi, Kenneth Branagh, David Gulpilil, Tianna Sainsbury, Ningali Lawford, Laura Monaghan, Deborah Mailman, Jason Clarke, Myarn Lawford, Roy Billing, Anthony Hayes, Garry McDonald; based on true story about Aboriginal children escaping custody in the 1930s; shot in SA (partly in WA: the scenery without people), but set in WA; won Best Film, Best Sound, Best Original Score (Peter Gabriel) AFI Awards 7 November 2002; 94 min.

Radiance (Rachel Perkins, 1999) wr. Louis Nowra, dop Warwick Thornton, music Alistair Jones; Deborah Mailman (Nona), Rachael Maza (Cressy), Trisha Morton-Thomas (Mae) story of reunion of three Aboriginal sisters

Robbery under Arms (Charles MacMahon, 1907) production company: MacMahon's Exquisite Pictures, screenplay, scenario, script: Charles MacMahon, from the novel by Rolf Boldrewood, photography: Byers Coates, William Duff, 5000 ft. Jim Gerald (Warrigal), George Merriman (warder), Lance Vane (Inspector of Police), William Duff (trooper), Arthur Guest (curate), Rhoda Dendron

Robbery Under Arms (Kenneth Brampton, 1920)

Robbery under Arms (Jack Lee, 1957) Peter Finch, Ronald Lewis, David McCallum, Maureen Swanson, Jill Ireland; from the novel by Rolf Boldrewood, 96 min. Capt. Starlight has a black offsider

Robbery under Arms (Donald Crombie & Ken Hannam, 1985)

Romance Of Runnibede, The (Scott R. Dunlap, 1928) story was based on only one of the incidents in Steele Rudd's novel, which was published to coincide with the film's release and contained stills from it. Dorothy Winchester returns from school in Sydney to her family's cattle station, Runnibede, in northern Queensland. She finds two equally likeable men eager for her hand in marriage - Tom Linton, the gauche station manager, and the more sophisticated Sub-Inspector Dale of the Queensland mounted police. Some local Aborigines believe that Dorothy is their 'Great White Queen', returned from the dead, and aroused by an evil witch-doctor, they kidnap her. In the ensuing fight, the rivalry of the men for Dorothy's love is resolved when one of her suitors gives his life to save her.

Saltwater Man (Mitch Torres, 2001) short; Saltwater Bluesman is a vibrant and colourful story, a tribute to a talented musician and respected community elder. Uncle Kiddo Taylor plays chromatic harp. He's one of the fathers of the "Broome Sound". He's an old man now, living in a humble house on the coast and supplementing his pension with fishing and shell gathering. It is the first episode from the series "Everyday Brave" which profiles indigenous Australians who have made a real difference to their communities and to society. The series is directed by Broome's Mitch Torres and produced under the Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Macumba Media Enterprises and in association with SBS Independent.

Satellite Boy (Catriona McKenzie, 2012) dp Geoffrey Simpson; Cameron Wallaby, David Gulpilil, Joseph Pedley; Pete, a 10 year old boy lives in the Kimberley with his grandfather in an old abandoned outdoor cinema; when his grandfather's home is threatened with demolition, Pete sets off for the city with his best friend to try and save his home; WA

Samson and Delilah (Warwick Thornton, 2009) wr. Warwick Thornton, dop Warwick Thornton; Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson; official site

September (Peter Carstairs, 2007) wr. Peter Carstairs, Ant Horn, dop Jules O'Loughlin, music Roger Mason; FFC funding, Tropfest backed, prod. Jon Polson; friendship between two 15-yr-old boys - one white, one black - in wheatbelt late 1960s; Australian release 25 October 2007

Serenades (Mojgan Khadem, 2001) wr. Mojgan Khadem, Christine Stevens, dop Russell Boyd, music Davood A. Tabrizi; child result of Afghan father winning night with Aboriginal woman; cultural clash; see Collins & Davies 2004: 88-89

Sissy (Debbie Gittins, 2001) documentary; three gay Aboriginal guys in Northbridge: ? Culbong, Anna Mae (transvestite), Ella Fitzgerald. "We are glamorous, we are here and we are queer'. Sissy is an expression of gay black identity in Perth. CC and Ella are well known socialites and Anna Mae regularly struts her stuff on stage.

Spear (Stephen Page, 2015) dp Bonnie Elliott, music David Page; dance film based on Bangarra Dance's Skin, 2000

Spencer, Sir Walter Baldwin: shot anthropological films 1901 in NT

Squatter's Son, The (E. J. Cole (?), 1911) Pike & Cooper 23. "In a climactic horseback escape, the hero is helped by an obedient 'Black Boy' who destroys a bridge to delay the pursuers." Pike & Cooper 1998 [orig. pub. 1980], p. 16. Quotes in Malone 1987: 2.

State of Shock (David Bradbury, 1989) documentary

Stone Brothers (Richard Frankland, 2009) wr. Richard Frankland, William Bainbridge, dop Joseph Pickering, music Shane O'Mara; Luke Carroll, Leon Burchill, Valentio Del Toro, David Page, Peter Phelps; comedy

Storm Boy (Henri Safran, 1976) wr. Colin Thiele (novel) Sonia Bog, Sidney L. Stebel, dop Geoff Burton, music Michael Carlos; white boy befriending a pelican and outcast Aborigine: David Gulpilil as Fingerbone Bill who has been banished by his people, the Kunai [Kurnai?] (recalling the situation of Marbuck in Jedda)

Storm Boy (Shawn Seet, 2019) wr. Justin Monjo, prod. Michael Boughen, Matthew Street; Geoffrey Rush, Jai Courtney; SA

Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton, 2017) prod. David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin, wr. Steven McGregor, David Tranter, dp Dylan River, Warwick Thornton; Bryan Brown, Matt Day, Tremayne and Trevon Doolan, Anni Finsterer, Natassia Gorey-Furber, John Gibson, Ewen Leslie, Lachlan J. Modrzynski, Hamilton Morris, Sam Neill, Sotiris Tzelios, Thomas M. Wright; western

Takeover (David MacDougall & Judith MacDougall, 1980) documentary

Tears (Ivan Sen, 1998) two young people (called Vaughn and Lena, as in Beneath Clouds (2002) - tho with different actors) leave the mish [mission] and head for the bus-stop, possibly to leave town; Luke Carroll (Vaughn), Jamilla Frail (Lena) 15 min.

Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr, 2006) wr. Rolf de Heer, prod. Rolf de Heer, Julie Ryan; was to be co-directed by Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil, but the latter pulled out, dop Ian Jones; performed entirely in the Ganalbingu language of Gulpilil's Yolngu people in Arnhem Land, according to the FFC it is be "one of the few Australian feature films to rely on English subtitles"; surreal tragi-comedy

Thunderbolt (John Gavin, 1910) John Gavin as Thunderbolt; "... he is rescued from a police trap by a half-caste girl ..." (Pike & Cooper 1998: 11)

This Winter (Ivan Sen, tba) prod. David Jowsey, Bunya Productions; Ursula Yovich, Brandon Waters; shot Tamworth; SMH article

Time to Dream, A (Bruce McGuinness, 1972) documentary; length unknown: "It was a film about the first ever national Aboriginal arts seminar, which had been sponsored by the Whitlam Government." Gary Foley

Toomelah (Ivan Sen, 2011)

Top End Wedding (Wayne Blair, 2019) wr. Miranda Tapsell, Joshua Tyler; Gwilym Lee, Miranda Tapsell, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson, Shari Sebbens, Ursula Yovich; comedy; released 2May

Tracker, The (Rolf de Heer, 2002) wr. Rolf de Heer, dp Ian Jones, music Rolf de Heer, Graham Tardif; David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau; David Gulpilil won Best Actor AFI Awards 7 November 2002; his whole speech, before he was cut off: "Yep, I deserved it; thank you Australia to recognise me"; songs performed by Archie Roach; 98 min.

Tudawali (Steve Jodrell, 1987) prod. Paul D. Barron, Julia Overton, wr. Alan Seymour, dop. Michael Edols, prod. design Phil Peters, ed. Kerry Regan; Ernie Dingo, Jedda Cole, Peter Fisher, Frank Wilson, Charles Tingwell, Suzanne Peveril, Bill McClusky, Michelle Torres; WA; made for TV, 91 min. docu-drama about Aboriginal actor, Robert Tudawali

Two Laws (Alessandro Cavadini & Carolyn Strachan, 1981) documentary

Uncivilized (Charles Chauvel, 1936)

Unfinished Business: Reconciling the Nation
As It Happened: New Norcia. Broadcast on SBS Saturday 3 June 2000 as part of Unfinished Business: Reconciling the Nation. A film documenting the suffering of young Aborigines at a West Australian mission, reconstructed from the memories of those who "took refuge in, and were tormented by" this particular institution.
As It Happened: Stolen Generations. Indigenous filmmaker Darlene Johnson. Broadcast on SBS Saturday 27 May 2000 as part of Unfinished Business.
Confessions of a Headhunter. Broadcast on SBS Saturday 3 June 2000 as part of Unfinished Business. An unusual tale of the different meanings myths and symbols hold for black and white Australians. Kelton Pell is the support for the white (?) actor playing a man who discovers he is Nyoongar and beheads public statues as revenge for the beheading of the statue of Yagan.
Cry from the Heart. Broadcast on SBS Friday 26 May 2000 as part of Unfinished Business. A child taken from his mother grows up angry, violent and despairing, yet succeeds in his struggle to come to terms with his traumatic life.
Dust (Ivan Sen, 2000) broadcast on SBS Friday 2 June 2000 as part of Unfinished Business: Reconciling the Nation; short drama exploring the demons and dreams of five people on a cotton farm
Land of the Little Kings. Broadcast on SBS Sunday 28 May 2000 as part of Unfinished Business. Archie Roach travels Australia to share tales of survival by members of the stolen generations in this feature-length doco.
My Mother My Son. Broadcast on SBS Saturday 27 May 2000 as part of Unfinished Business. A young woman's journey attempting to visit her child in foster care.
Unfinished Business. Broadcast on SBS Saturday 3 June 2000 as part of Unfinished Business. A moving drama of a separated mother and her child. Ernie Dingo and Aaron Pederson.
Where Two Rivers Meet, dir. Ken Kelso. Broadcast on SBS Friday 2 June 2000 as part of Unfinished Business. Drama of two boyhood adversaries (Kelton Pell and Geoff Kelso) brought together by coincidence in adulthood, who seek to reach a mutual understanding. To do with a corrugated iron canoe. The two rivers are the Canning and the Swan.

Until the End of the World (Wim Wenders, 1992) dop Robby Müller, music Graeme Revell; Solveig Dommartin, Pietro Falcone, Chick Ortega, Eddy Mitchell, William Hurt, Adelle Lutz, Ernie Dingo, Sam Neill, Ernest Berk, Christine Osterlein, Rüdiger Vogler, Elena Smirnova, David Guliplil, Jeanne Moreau, Lois Chiles, Lauren Graham, Max von Sydow, Jimmy Little, Bart Willoughby, Justine Saunders, Kylie Belling, Rhoda Roberts, Paul Livingston

Vacant Possession (Margot Nash, 1995) wr. Margot Nash, dop Dion Beebe, music Alistair Jones; Pamela Rabe (Tessa), John Stanton (Frank), Toni Scanlan (Joyce), Linden Wilkinson (Kate), Rita Bruce (Auntie Beryl), Olivia Patten (Millie). Millie provides the commentary on the actual relationship of white and black. John Stanton, the father, has PTSS or 'shell-shock', following WW2 air crash with loss of crew; 95 min.

Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) wr. James Vance Marshall (novel) Edward Bond, dop Nicolas Roeg, music John Barry; Jenny Agutter (Girl), Lucien John [Roeg] (Brother), David Gulpilil (Aboriginal boy) UK production about two white Australian children stranded in desert and helped to safety by young Aborigine, played by David Gulpilil; 100 min.

Warm Strangers (1997) Jess reunites with his estranged father; 6 min.

We of the Never Never (Igor Auzins, 1982) wr. Mrs Aeneas Gunn (novel) Peter Schreck, dop Gary Hansen, music Peter Best; Angela Punch McGregor, Arthur Dignam

When the Natives Get Restless (Adrian Wills & Albert Hartnett, 2007) the Gordon estate in Dubbo; doco; 28 min.

Where the Green Ants Dream (Werner Herzog, 1984) Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen; wr. Werner Herzog, Bob Ellis, dop Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein, music Wandjuk Marika; Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett, Norman Kaye, Ralph Cotterill, Nick Lathouris

Wind (Ivan Sen, 1999) short, wr. Ivan Sen, prod. Graeme Isaac; tracker theme; in 1857 a young black tracker and his elderly sergeant follow the trail of a killer; Crossing Tracks 'compilation'; 35 min.

Windcatcher (Tanith Glynn-Maloney, tba) Stan/ACTF; Jessica Mauboy, Lennox Monaghan, Max Turner, Coco Greenstone, Kelton Pell, Pia Miranda, Ngali Shaw, Lisa Maza; children's

Women of the Sun (James Ricketson, David Stevens, Stephen Wallace & Geoffrey Nottage, 1982) mini-series wr. Sonia Borg, Hyllus Maris, dop Ian Dewhurst, Nino Martinetti, music Red Symons

Wrong Side of the Road (Ned Lander, 1981) wr. Graeme Isaac, Ned Lander, dop Louis Irving; two bands: Us Mob and No Fixed Address are the "stars" of the film

Yolngu Boy (Stephen Johnson, 2001) wr. Chris Anastassiades, dop Brad Shield, music Mark Ovenden; Sean Mununggur, John Sebastian Pilakui, Nathan Daniels, Aust. dist. Palace

Feature films (mostly) with significant indigenous character/theme/director/actor, in chronological order

Moonlite (John Gavin, 1910)

Thunderbolt (John Gavin, 1910)

Squatter's Son, The (E. J. Cole [?] 1911)

Moora Neya, or The Message of the Spear (Alfred Rolfe, 1911)

Assigned To His Wife (John Gavin, 1911)

Dan Morgan (Spencer's Pictures, 1911)

Cooee And The Echo (Alfred Rolfe, 1912)

Romance Of Runnibede, The (Scott R. Dunlap, 1928)

Uncivilized (Charles Chauvel, 1936)

Bitter Springs (Ralph Smart, 1950)

Back of Beyond, The (John Heyer, 1954) doco

Jedda (Charles Chauvel, 1955)

Robbery under Arms (Jack Lee, 1957)

Journey out of Darkness (James Trainor, 1967)

Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971)

Mourning for Mangatopi: A Tiwi Bereavement Ceremony (Curtis Levy, 1975) doco

Eliza Fraser (Tim Burstall, 1976)

Mad Dog Morgan (Philippe Mora, 1976)

Storm Boy (Henri Safran, 1976)

Backroads (Phillip Noyce, 1977)

Last Wave, The (Peter Weir, 1977)

Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The (Fred Schepisi, 1978)

My Survival as an Aboriginal (Essie Coffey, 1979) documentary

Manganinnie (John Honey, 1980)

Takeover (David MacDougall & Judith MacDougall, 1980) documentary

Two Laws (Alessandro Cavadini & Carolyn Strachan, 1981) documentary

Wrong Side of the Road (Ned Lander, 1981)

We of the Never Never (Igor Auzins, 1982)

Women of the Sun (James Ricketson, David Stevens, Stephen Wallace & Geoffrey Nottage, 1982) mini-series

Bush Christmas (Henri Safran, 1983)

City's Edge, The (Ken Quinnell, 1983)

Where the Green Ants Dream (Werner Herzog, 1984)

Burke and Wills (Graeme Clifford, 1985)

Naked Country, The (Tim Burstall, 1985)

Robbery under Arms (Donald Crombie & Ken Hannam, 1985)

Backlash (Bill Bennett, 1986)

Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986)

Fringe Dwellers, The (Bruce Beresford, 1986)

Howling 3: The Marsupials (Philippe Mora, 1987)

Nice Coloured Girls (Tracey Moffatt, 1987) short

Tudawali (Steve Jodrell, 1987)

Crocodile Dundee 2 (John Cornell, 1988)

Kadaicha (James Bogle, 1988)

Night Cries - A Rural Tragedy (Tracey Moffatt, 1989)

State of Shock (David Bradbury, 1989) documentary

Deadly (Esben Storm, 1992)

Until the End of the World (Wim Wenders, 1992)

Jindalee Lady (Brian Syron, 1992)

beDevil (Tracey Moffatt, 1993)

Blackfellas (James Ricketson 1993)

Black River (Kevin Lucas, 1994)

Exile and the Kingdom (Frank Rijavek, 1994)

Vacant Possession (Margot Nash, 1995)

Coolbaroo Club, The (Roger Scholes, 1996)

Dead Heart (Nick Parsons, 1996)

From Sand to Celluloid (various, 1996)

After Mabo (John Hughes, 1997) documentary

Journey (Ivan Sen, 1997) a boy on the road; 20 min.

Tears (Ivan Sen, 1998) short

Shifting Sands: From Sand to Celluloid Continued (1998)

Radiance (Rachel Perkins, 1999)

Wind (Ivan Sen, 1999) short

Dust (Ivan Sen, 2000)

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (Simon Wincer, 2001)

One Night the Moon (Rachel Perkins, 2001)

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phil Noyce, 2001)

Saltwater Man (Mitch Torres, 2001) short

Serenades (Mojgan Khadem, 2001)

Sissy (Debbie Gittins, 2001) documentary

Yolngu Boy (Stephen Johnson, 2001)

Australian Rules (Paul Goldman, 2002)

Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002)

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002)

Gulpilil: One Red Blood (Darlene Johnson, 2002) documentary

Kabbarli (Andrew G. Taylor, 2002)

Tracker, The (Rolf de Heer, 2002)

Jindabyne (Ray Lawrence, 2006)

Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr, 2006)

September (Peter Carstairs, 2007)

Samson and Delilah (Warwick Thornton, 2009)

Stone Brothers (Richard Frankland, 2009)

Bran Nue Dae (Rachel Perkins, 2009)

Dreamland (Ivan Sen, 2009)

Mad Bastards (Brendan Fletcher, 2010)

Toomelah (Ivan Sen, 2011)

Spear (Stephen Page, 2015)

Goldstone (Ivan Sen, 2016)

Jasper Jones (Rachel Perkins, 2017)

Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton, 2017)

Emu Runner (Imogen Thomas, 2018)

Top End Wedding (Wayne Blair, 2019)

Furnace, The (Roderick MacKay, 2020)

Flood, The (Victoria Wharfe McIntyre, 2020)

Loveland (Ivan Sen, 2021)

Limbo (Ivan Sen, 2023)

New Boy, The (Warwick Thornton, 2023)

Windcatcher (Tanith Glynn-Maloney, tba)

Garry Gillard | New: 24 February, 2002 | Now: 9 February, 2024