Back for its second year, Winda Film Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever, as it continous focuses on Indigenous films from across Australia and the world.
With two feature films, seven documentaries, 31 short films from over six countries, and nine Australian premieres and two international ones.
Festival Artistic Director Pauline Clague, says that the festival provides a platform for Indigenous storytellers and celebrates the growth of the Indigenous filmmaking industry.
“The international and local films bring audiences together with portrayals of shared celebrations, struggles and stories, and puts us in our place in the universal storylines of Indigenous nations,” Ms Clague says.
"What we deliver to our community and to the film industry is really important.”
Executive Director at WINDA, Medika Thorpe, says that making the second year "bigger and better" has been a bumpy ride, but a worthwhile one.
“Having such a small budget and pulling off a huge scale festival has been exceptionally challenging, but we always look forward to the outcome because what we deliver to our community and to the film industry is really important.”
The Gunai-Gureng Gureng woman says it’s important to provide unique opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their work in their very own backyard.
“We had a great program of diverse films which just reiterated how necessary something like this was for Indigenous communities. People jumped on board because they saw the importance of what we were doing and what needed to happen especially in the heart of Sydney.”
Unlike last year, this year WINDA will have a range of free workshops, youth-focused initiatives and special guest talks. Opening night will be Warwick Thornton’s acclaimed Sweet Country and for the grand finale - a free pop-up outdoor screening of Larissa Behrendt’s After the Apology.
Alanis Obomsawin from the Abenaki tribe is a Canadian documentarian filmmaker that has two screenings at the festival. The 85-year-old’s latest film Our people will be healed will be followed by a throw-back to one of her earlier films she directed in the early 90s Kanehsatake: 207 years of resistance. She will be hosting a free masterclass – according to Ms Thorpe, ‘a one in a lifetime opportunity from one of the world’s greatest’.
“It’s the chance to have a conversation where she will discuss 50 plus years of filmmaking and her life journey. It’s a very rare and unique moment to be able to listen to a respected Indigenous pro.”
Another exciting element is a Virtual Reality workshop with IndigiLAB, where Ms Thorpe says gives a chance for people to blend the world’s oldest culture with the newest technology.
“With Indigenous films utilising the virtual reality realm is an indication that we can link culture with the most up to date digital media. It marries up so perfectly and tells a story on a whole other level,” she said.
“We have leading VR and 360 filmmakers in the industry that come from rural and remote communities so were watching them adapt and lead in new spaces.”
Winda will also have a youth focused program, where young people can come and see Brave New Lens - a series of short films from NZ in partnership with the Maoriland film festival; and The Mayors of Shiprock a documentary about a group of young Navajo leaders who meet to help their community.
Ms Thorpe believes that including young orientated programming within the festival is an important element of WINDA as it gives them the opportunity to consider pursuing a career the film industry.
“It’s a chance to help them dream big and we’re hoping to engage with youth in our community while also showcasing what other people are doing in different worlds. It’s nice to highlight these things within the program because young people are doing so great in this area within the industry.”
“From films, dance to culture – all aspects of arts will be covered which is a great way to showcase different Indigenous heritages."
This year WINDA is also collaborating with Homeground – a festival that brings the best First Nations' artists from the globe for music, dance, workshops and markets which will be running on the same weekend at the Sydney Opera House.
“From films, dance to culture – all aspects of arts will be covered during that weekend which is a great way to showcase different Indigenous heritages," Ms Thorpe said.