• Rabbit Proof Fence for Australian (Left) and US (Right) audiences. (Cinematerial)Source: Cinematerial
Aboriginal stories may be told overseas, but the people telling them are hidden.
Sophie Verass

1 Feb 2017 - 1:55 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2017 - 1:55 PM

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives are responsible for some of Australia's best cinema.

Actors like Deborah Mailman, Jamie Gulpilil and Mark Coles Smith not only bring their unique talents to the screen, but improve diversity in character roles and tropes - one that cannot be found in films abroad. So why are international film industries culling them from the movie's promotional material?

While Australian film posters will often put Indigenous actors at the forefront of the image, in many cases, their international counterparts are covering their faces, placing them in the background or removing them all together.


Samson & Delilah - AUS vs. US

As well as photoshopping the rugged scenery of country with something more green, the faces of the two protagonists (Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibbon) are also modified. Or else, McNamara and Gibbon are undefined. 


The Last Cab to Darwin - AUS vs. KOR

Spoiler Alert: Despite what Korean cinema might have you think, leading character, Rex (Michael Caton) didn't actual journey the entire way to from Broken Hill to Darwin alone. He had the company of supporting character, Tilly (Mark Coles Smith) through the entire film.  

Ten Canoes - AUS vs. UK & GER

While Jamie Gulpilil takes centre stage in his role as Dayindi in Australia, for international audiences, he's demoted in the backdrop of a lake scene. 


Rabbit Proof Fence - AUS vs. UK & US

First you see leading cast, Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury and Laura Monaghan - and now you don't.  


Bran Nue Dae - AUS vs. International

While most of the film's promotion - Australia included - used the 'international' poster, the marketing material had many variations.  


The Sapphires - AUS vs. US

What's the best way to promote a incredible biography of four Aboriginal woman? With one white dude, of course.


Walkabout - AUS vs. UK & JAP

Lots of material has been made for this 1970s film over the years, with variations of film posters, VHS and DVD covers. Most of it includes David Gupilil, who is a central character - except in Japan's case. 


Jedda - AUS vs. UK & DEN

UK's copywriting sounding more like a sentence from your racist white Grandad... 

Australia - AUS vs. US... 

A simple colour change,

... FRA, CZE & JAP

and David Gupilil is going, going, gone. 

Australian and world-Indigenous films are available On Demand including, Jedda

Read these too
100 years of the Darwin Buffaloes - the first Aboriginal NT Football Club
In its 100 years, the historic Darwin 'Buffaloes' Football Club has been through the Aboriginal Ordinance Law, World War II, Darwin's multicultural 'boom' and plenty of premiership grand finals.
10 things you should know about Advance Australia Fair
Whether or not you stand or sit for it, there's much more to composer Peter Dodds McCormick's patriotic song than getting bums off seats.
Erasing Indigenous Heritage
Like Australia, Canada has its own stolen generations. First Nation's children were taken from their families by the government and placed in boarding schools intended to assimilate them into Western culture.