• Sweet Country (2017) (SBS OnDemand)Source: SBS OnDemand
These films offer a powerful gathering of insight, history, talent and discovery.
SBS Movies

20 Jan 2021 - 2:45 PM  UPDATED 26 Jan 2021 - 11:44 AM

NITV, SBS and SBS On Demand invite Australians to discover a rich slate of Indigenous filmmaking, acting and storytelling.

Charlie's Country

Australia, 2013
Genre: Biography
Language: English
Director: Rolf de Heer
Starring: David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr, Luke Ford
What's it about?
Living in a remote Aboriginal community in the northern part of Australia, Charlie (David Gulpilil) is a warrior past his prime. As the government increases its stronghold over the community’s traditional way of life, Charlie becomes lost between two cultures. His new modern life offers him a way to survive but, ultimately, it is one he has no power over. Finally fed up when his gun, his newly crafted spear and his best friend’s jeep are confiscated, Charlie heads into the wild on his own, to live the old way. However, Charlie hadn’t reckoned on where he might end up, nor on how much life has changed since the old ways...

2014 Cannes Film Festival: Charlie's Country premieres to positive reviews
2014 Cannes Film Festival: Charlie's Country – Trailer

Charlie's Country airs on NITV Saturday 24 January at 8.30pm  and will stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.


Ten Canoes

Australia, 2006
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Language: Ganalbingu
Director: Rolf de Heer
Starring: Richard Birrinbirrin, Jamie Gulpilil, Crusoe Kurddal
What's it about?
An elder of an Indigenous tribe in the Northern Territory realises a young man in the group covets the beautiful young wife of another elder. To teach him the proper way, the elder tells the youngster a story from the mythical past, about a man who had no wife. Directed by Rolf de Heer (The TrackerBad Boy Bubby).

Ten Canoes Review

Ten Canoes airs on NITV  Saturday 23 January  at 7.30pm. (NOTE: No catch-up at SBS On Demand)


Twelve Canoes

Australia, 2009
Genre: Drama, Omnibus Film
Language: English
Director: Rolf de Heer, Molly Reynolds
What's it about?
Following the success of Ten Canoes, this series of 12 short films paints a compelling portrait of the people, history, culture and place of the Yolngu people whose homeland is the Arafura Swamp of north-central Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Twelve Canoes airs on NITV Saturday 23 January at 8.30pm and will stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast. 
Twelve Canoes


Rabbit-Proof Fence

Australia, 2002
Genre: History, Adventure
Language: English
Director: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Roy Billing, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Clarke, Deborah Mailman, David Gulpilil
What's it about?
Based on the true story of three young Aboriginal girls Molly, Gracie, Daisy (Evelyn Sampi, Laura Monaghan, Tianna Sansbury): in 1931 they were forcibly removed from their families at Jigalong WA and taken to a camp 1500 miles away at Moore River to be trained as domestic servants, all part of official Government policy. Molly leads her younger sister and cousin on a daring escape and in a bid to find her way home, following – on foot – the rabbit-proof fence that cuts across the Gibson Desert and towards Jigalong. But WA’s Chief Protector, A.O. Neville (Kenneth Branagh) does his best to recapture them, with help from black tracker David Moodoo (David Gulpilil).  

Rabbit-Proof Fence Review
Rabbit-Proof Fence: Cheat Sheet

Rabbit Proof Fence airs on Tuesday 26 January at 8.45am on NITV and SBS at 9am and will stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.


Croker Island Exodus

Australia, 2012
Genre: Drama
Language:  English
Director: Steven McGregor
Starring: Eden Thomsen
What's it about?
1941, all white women and children are evacuated from Darwin. Japanese invasion is imminent. On a tiny Methodist mission on Croker Island in the Arafura Sea, the Superintendent and three Cottage mothers are responsible for 95 stolen generation Aboriginal children allocated to their care by the government. The missionaries are given the option of evacuating but how could they leave these children? However food supplies are running dangerously low and no help comes through the long Wet. February 1942, a message by pedal radio, Darwin has been bombed, the missionaries will now have to move the children off the island themselves. So they begin their perilous journey.

Croker Island Exodus airs on NITV Tuesday 26 January at 2:05pm and will stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.

As Japanese bomb Australia in 1942, children and carers from the Croker Island Mission embarked on a 5,000 mile journey


Australia, 1988
Genre: Biography, Drama
Language: English
Director: Steve Jodrell
Starring: Ernie Dingo, Peter Fisher
What's it about?
Ernie Dingo delivers an outstanding portrayal of Robert Tudawali, the first Aboriginal film star, whose lead role in Jedda is iconic in Australian cinema.  

Tudawali airs on SBS World Movies Tuesday January 26 at 9:30pm and is also streaming now at SBS On Demand: 


Sweet Country

MA15+, CC
Australia, 2018
Genre: Drama, History, Western
Language: English
Director: Warwick Thornton
Starring: Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Thomas M. Wright, Ewen Leslie, Matt Day, Gibson John, Natassia Gorey Furber, Anni Finsterer, Tremayne Doolan, Trevon Doolan
What's it about?
It’s 1929 on the vast, desert-like, Eastern Arrernte Nation lands that are now known as the Central Australian outback. Sam Kelly, a middle-aged Aboriginal man, works the land of a kind preacher, Fred Smith. After an ill-tempered bully arrives in town and Kelly kills him in self-defence, he and his wife go on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down.

Warwick Thornton talks 'Sweet Country'
Warwick Thornton’s 'Sweet Country' comes to SBS and NITV for a special event screening

Sweet Country airs on NITV Thursday 21 January on NITV at 8.3opm and will stream at SBS on Demand after broadcast.



Australia, 1980
Genre: Drama, History
Language: English
Director: John Honey
Starring: Mawuyul Yanthalawuy, Anna Ralph, Phillip Hinton
What's it about?
Through lyrical images, Manganinnie journeys across mountains towards the coast with Joanna, a white girl, in search of Manganinnie's vanished tribe. The poignancy of this film derives from the Aboriginal woman's gradual realisation that her people and the tribal way of life are forever gone. It is the story of the Black Drive of 1830 and the genocide of Tasmania's Aboriginal people.

Manganinnie airs on NITV Monday 25 January at 12:00pm (repeats Friday 12 June, 12:00pm) andManganinnie airs on NITV Monday 25 January at 12:00pm (repeats Friday 12 June, 12:00pm) and will stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.




Australia, 1955
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Action
Language: English
Director: Charles Chauvel
Starring: Ngarla Kunoth, Robert Tudawali, Betty Suttor, Paul Reynall, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
What's it about?
Jedda is an orphaned Arrernte baby who is adopted by a white family. She grows up, confused over her heritage and place in the world. As a young woman, she is mysteriously drawn to go "Walkabout" as people of her tribe have for hundreds of years. The first Australian feature film to be filmed in colour, and nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.

Jedda airs on NITV Friday 22 January at 12pm (repeats 10:10pm)  and will stream at SBS on Demand after broadcast.


Storm Boy

Australia, 1976
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Henri Safran
Starring: Greg Rowe, Peter Cummins, David Gulpilil, Judy Dick, Tony Allison
What's it about?
Mike (Rowe) is a lonely Australian boy living in a coastal wilderness with his reclusive father (Cummins). In search of friendship he encounters an Aboriginal native loner (Gulpilil) and the two form a bond in the care of orphaned pelicans.

Storm Boy: Cheat Sheet

Storm Boy airs on NITV Friday 22 January at 7.30pm (repeats Saturday 23 January, 12:00pm) and is streaming now at SBS On Demand. 


The Tracker

Australia, 2000
Genre: Drama, History, Western
Language: [lang
Director: Rolf de Heer
Starring: David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Grant Page, Damon Gameau
What's it about?
Fanatic (Sweet) is a government trooper heading an expedition to find an Aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman. Others in the expedition are the Follower (Gameau), a greenhorn trooper, the Veteran (Page), and the Tracker (Gulpilil, who won the AFI award for Best Actor in a Leading Role). Directed by Rolf de Heer, who would collaborate again with Gulpilil on Ten Canoes and Charlie's Country.

The Tracker airs on NITV Thursday 28 January 8.30pm and will stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.  

NITV and SBS invite Australia to come together and reflect through a powerful Always Was, Always Will Be programming slate in the week leading up to January 26. Dedicated programs, special events, premieres and news highlights will air across NITV and SBS from January 19-26 with a focus on encouraging greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.