Published by: Sydney Film Festival | 13-May-2019
The 66th Sydney Film Festival in partnership with Screen Australia's Indigenous Department proudly continues its celebration of First Nation storytelling from Australia and around the world in 2019.
"The Festival continues a commitment to showcasing First Nation filmmakers and storytelling, from Australia and around the world," said Festival Director Nashen Moodley. "From a portmanteau feature film by nine women filmmakers from the South Pacific, to documentaries on two hugely influential Indigenous screen icons, this year's program of First Nations films is overflowing with diverse ideas and themes, unique perspectives and traditional stories."

"We're proud to continue our partnership with Sydney Film Festival to showcase a diversity of projects from Indigenous filmmakers. It is vital Indigenous people continue to be seen and heard across a variety of storytelling platforms and it's fantastic to see documentaries featured that explore important environmental issues and inspiring individuals including Alfreda Glynn," said Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia.

"Supporting new talent is at the heart of what we do and there is a really exciting crop of emerging filmmakers whose projects will be on display in the Indigenous horror anthology Dark Place, and the five short films from our Short Blacks initiative which we ran in partnership ABC," she said.

Leading the pack of Australian films screening are: Erica Glynn's She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved, about trailblazing Indigenous filmmaker Alfreda Glynn; the World Premiere of two documentaries from Screen Australia's State of Alarm initiative about traditional Indigenous practices in environmental protection, Warburdar Bununu: Water Shield and Saving Seagrass; and, another World Premiere, Dark Place, an Indigenous horror anthology with five twisted short tales from five Indigenous filmmakers.

First Nation stories from around the world are: Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, a portrait of trailblazing Māori filmmaker Merata Mita, reportedly the first Indigenous woman to direct a feature film; and eight-part portmanteau film Vai, about an imaginary figure encompassing every woman of every age, by nine women filmmakers from the South Pacific (both also screening as part of Focus on New Zealand); and from Canada-Norway, feature film, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, about a chance encounter between two Indigenous women on a Vancouver street.

The Festival will also premiere nine short films by Indigenous filmmakers. Australian shorts include Between Two Lines, Doug The Human; Elders; Shed, and Ties that Bind; and New Zealand short films by Māori filmmakers include: The Gravedigger of Kapu; Hinekura; A Matter of Time; and Rū.

Screening in the Festival's Essential Australian Women Directors - 10 Trailblazers Selected by David Stratton program is Bedevil (1993) - the first and only feature by Indigenous artist and photographer Tracey Moffatt.

Attending as guests will be: Erica Glynn (She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved) alongside her mother and film subject Freda Glynn; director Heperi Mita and producer Chelsea Winstanley (Merata: How Mum

Decolonised the Screen); five of the nine directors of Vai: Becs Arahanga, Matasila Freshwater, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Nicole Whippy and Sharon Whippy; and the five Dark Place short film directors: Björn Stewart, Perun Bonser, Kodie Bedford, Liam Phillips, and Rob Braslin.

Hosted by UNSW Arts & Social Sciences, talk The Work of Freda Glynn and Merata Mita will feature filmmakers behind She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved and Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen discussing the ground breaking work of these two trailblazers at the Festival Hub (Friday 14 June, 8:15pm).

The full Sydney Film Festival 2019 program can be found online at

Sydney Film Festival runs 5 - 16 June 2019. Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2019 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit for more information.

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