NITV presents the Always Will Be Festival on 26 January

Thursday, 19 January 2017

News Release

NITV presents the Always Will Be Festival on 26 January
Curated documentaries, VR experience, podcast and more will give Indigenous perspectives on the national holiday

On 26 January 2017, NITV presents the Always Will Be Festival – an array of programming and events that encourage a national discussion on what it means to be Australian today.
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the 26th of January is not a day of celebration.

Through thought-provoking documentaries, films, news and current affairs,  an original song and virtual reality experience, a podcast, public events and more, NITV invites all Australians to hear and interact with Indigenous perspectives on this national holiday.

NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Orman said:

“The 26th of January is a day of mixed emotions for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As Australia’s Indigenous broadcaster, NITV plays a vital role in providing a place for Indigenous voices to be heard on issues that matter to communities, and where all Australians can learn more about the rich cultures of our First Nations people.

“Through the Always Will Be Festival, NITV is exploring Indigenous perspectives on what this national day means for many, acknowledging our history and our survival, and encouraging more Australians to understand that Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land.”

Here’s what to expect from NITV on and in the lead up to 26 January:

Sunrise Ceremony
Brought to you live from North Head in Sydney, Ernie Dingo takes Australians on an emotional journey that expresses Australia's First Peoples' resilience and connection to Country and one another.

The live program kicks off at 5.30am with Dr Dennis Foley simulcast on NITV and SBS, and will include a musical performance and a smoking ceremony as the sun rises on 26 January.

Anthem Sessions
In the weeks leading up to 26 January, some of Australia’s most beloved Indigenous artists have performed pop-up concerts at famous landmarks across the country, playing songs of great significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The songs have already had thousands of likes, comments and shares on NITV’s Facebook page. Artists include Christine Anu, Dan Sultan, Shane Howard, Last Kinnection, Bunna Lawrie, Bart Willoughby, Archie Roach, Joe Geia, Troy and Dean Brady, Rochelle Pitt Watson, and Rrwaun Maymurru and band.

NITV will air the individual recorded performances throughout 26 January, and broadcast an Anthems Sessions hour long special at 8.00pm AEST. See Christine Anu performing My Island Home, Archie Roach bringing an audience to tears singing Down City Streets, and Dan Sultan premiering his new song Drover’s Boy exclusively on NITV.
News, documentaries and films

NITV News will bring live hourly updates from around the country throughout the afternoon, keeping you up-to-date with the day’s activities.

NITV will also air a range of provocative films and documentaries that explore Indigenous identity, including its celebrated Songlines series, and critically acclaimed films such as Ivan Sen’s Beneath Clouds. For a full list of programming, please visit sbs.com.au/nitv/always-will-be closer to the date.

Change the Date song and 360 VR experience
Some of Australia’s best hip hop artists have come together for NITV’s Always Will Be Festival thanks to Elefant Traks and Bad Apples to produce an original song (‘Change the Date’), and an accompanying 360 degree VR experience (produced by Start VR).

It was not until 1994 that Australia Day began to be celebrated on 26 January, and for many Indigenous Australians this date marks a Day of Mourning with some asking, why not change the date? In an immersive 360 world, these iconic artists share their views on why Australia should come to grips with changing the date of Australia Day. 

Artists include: Urthboy (The Herd), Thundamentals (Tuka and Jeswon), L-Fresh the Lion, Ozi Batla, Nooky, Birdz (Nathan Bird), Kaylah Truth,
Tasman Keith, Coda Conduct (Erica and Sally) and Hau (Koolism).

The song and VR experience will be available online on Tuesday 24 January through the SBS VR app and on NITV’s Facebook and You Tube pages.
The SBS VR app is free to download for Apple iOS and Google Android. Information on what it is and how it works (with Google Cardboard) is here: sbs.com.au/topics/vr/virtual-reality 

Join Miss Ellanious, Ernie Dingo, Amelia Telford, Lydia Miller and other high profile Indigenous guests live from 2pm to 6pm on 26 January as they have hearty, live conversations about national identity. Tune into the podcast at 2pm AEST, available through sbs.com.au/nitv/.


Indigenous drag queen Miss Ellanious will take to Sydney Harbour on a speedboat emblazoned in the colours of the Aboriginal flag, Priscilla-style. All the glitter and hilarity will be captured on NITV’s Facebook Live stream.

NITV is encouraging all Australians to join in a discussion around 26 January by using the hashtag #AlwaysWillBe on and in the lead up to 26 January. 
For more information, please contact:

Note to Editors:
About Start VR
Start VR is a cinematic virtual reality studio, creating highly immersive experiences and interactive content. A leader in longer form VR entertainment that resonates with viewers, the company is known for its compelling narratives and best-of-class visuals. Thanks to their in-depth creative know how, and vast technical experience of Start VR’s team, the company consistently turns out unforgettable critically acclaimed experiences.

Start VR’s beautifully made work is designed to spark unprecedented levels of engagement and viewer involvement, pushing the envelope to explore the storytelling capabilities of all major VR and 360 platforms.