What were the stand-out TV shows and movies broadcast in 2016 on NITV in what has been a stellar year for the channel? Who better to ask than the channel manager herself, Tanya Denning-Orman.
Tanya Denning-Orman

23 Dec 2016 - 11:35 AM  UPDATED 23 Dec 2016 - 11:35 AM

Celebrating its fourth year, NITV continues to prove its essential value on Australian television. NITV channel manager Tanya Denning-Orman highlights the best shows put to air on the channel in 2016.

10. Jedda (remastered)

Not long ago I was on the phone to my mum in Rockhampton talking about the remastering of Charles Chauvel’s iconic 1955 film, Jedda. This is the first Australian feature film to use Aboriginal actors in the lead roles (Robert Tudawali and Ngarla Kunoth) and one of the first feature films in colour. The remastered version sustains this ground-breaking cinema, allowing generations to be moved by its story and reflect on the journey of quality Australian filmmaking. 

9. Motorkite Dreaming

This is the ultimately adventure film with four amateur adventurers flying across Australia in – what is essentially – motorbikes with wings. Four amateur adventurers, two second-hand flying machines, and the largest island on Earth – what could possibly go wrong? 

8. Koori Knockout 2016

NITV has screened live action of the Knockout for the last eight years and 2016 was no exception.  It’s the largest gathering of blackfellas in the country; the biggest contemporary corroboree in the world with more than 100 all-Indigenous rugby teams across men’s, women’s and junior tourments coming together for the love of sport and Aboriginality.

The Knockout is exciting, raw and not driven by commercial ideas or corporations and you don’t have to be a league fan to feel the spirit of the community gathering together, the families on the side-lines and the grassroots talent on the field. 

7. Live sports entertainment - League Nation Live and Marngrook Footy Show

What I love about our sports’ entertainment is that you’re only as good as you are on the field, which is where the content comes from. Fortunately, however, there’s a myriad of Indigenous talent in our national NRL and AFL clubs, so every Tuesday and Thursday night we’re seeing some pretty mad skills.   

6.  Colour Theory

The series’ third iteration was just as strong as the previous years and what I about Colour Theory is its exposure of the different artists in Australia and the great work they’re doing. Host Tony Albert is an award-winning artist himself, and he introduces us to some of the country’s most exciting contemporary artists like Frances Belle Parker on Ulgundahi Island and Sydney-based artist Jason Wing.

It celebrates all different art forms and expression and looks at how it’s a significant means of story-telling, which is an essential part of Indigenous culture. It’s great programming for your soul; finding out where art comes from, how it tells a story and the impact it has - Colour Theory will definitely leave you thinking beyond the show’s ending. 

5. Shadow Trackers

Award-winning filmmaker Dena Curtis has created a premise unlike anything ever before on Australian television. Watching actors Hunter Page-Lochard and Zac James attempt to discover the truth behind Indigenous Australia’s scary stories and legends, makes for fun television watching – especially with my 11 year old son, whose too enthralled to realise he’s actually getting a lesson in culture. I love NITV’s growth in factual entertainment and our new real life series Family Rules another staple in my household, no doubt!

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4. Going Places with Ernie Dingo

Well, I mean, how can you not love Ernie? A television veteran who has been entertaining Australia for decades. This captivating three-part series explores Australia’s most iconic destinations; Uluru, Kakadu and the endangered Great Barrier Reef. But what makes Going Places much more than your average travel show, is that Ernie introduces us to the traditional owners and those who live and work within our country’s most popular tourist destinations. Ernie visits some truly amazing places and the stories and scenery are equally breathtaking.


3. Songlines on Screen

Who doesn’t want to know about the land that they walk on? Songlines on Screen gives people an understanding of why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have such an affinity with Australia and allows viewers the privilege of having these communities and their elders sharing 60,000 years of sacred story-telling and belief systems. And importantly the eight short films demonstrate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is not solely historic – it’s the future, and that future is bright and the Songlines are still with us. 

2. Putuparri and the Rainmakers 

It’s very rewarding for NITV to be able to commission a piece of such magnitude, that’s not only gaining attention here, but also internationally. The highly acclaimed, award-winning documentary about the courage of a Wangkajuga man challenged between his spiritual universe and life in the modern society reaffirms that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories are diverse and complex.

Putuparri and the Rainmakers also signifies NITV’s growth as a channel and its ability to share stories with such large profiles, and we will continue to do this even more in 2017.

1. Servant or Slave 

The domestic servitude of Aboriginal women is a largely untold story in the wider media, but a crucial part of Australian history. The documentary follows the lives of five Indigenous women who were stolen from their families and put into domestic training and underpaid servitude, and it gives us an understanding of what many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people went through and where we are today. If more people were aware and could understand our history, the better we’ll be for our future.

This documentary completely kicked arse in the cinemas and on our channel as our highest rated program, and what makes this positivity so special is that it’s an all-Indigenous production. It celebrates where we’ve come as a media movement and with writer and producer, Mitch Stanley as a former NITV employee, I couldn’t be more proud.  

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