Melbourne International Film Festival, (MIFF), the largest film festival in the Southern Hemisphere, kicked off on Thursday 3 August and will run until Sunday 20 August.
The documentaries include Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy and The Song Keepers, and immersive VR expansion project The Hunt of Yidaki.
Ben Strunin’s Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy tells the story of Djalu Gurruwiwi, an ageing elder who is running out of time to pass on the Yidaki Songlines entrusted to him for the future of his people. He fears that his sons and community, struggling to come to terms with the consequences of colonisation, are lost. When Djalu breaks with his 60,000 year long tradition to try and save it, world famous musician Gotye becomes an unexpected assistant, helping to heal Djalu’s sons and amplify his songs to the world.
Ben Smith’s The Hunt of Yidaki is an immersive VR expansion project and a companion piece to Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy. The project follows Yolngu man Larry Gurruwiwi, and the selection, creation and performance of the ancient instrument known to Yolngu as the Yidaki, also commonly known as the didgeridoo.
The Song Keepers directed by Naina Sen explores the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir as they preserve ancient Aboriginal language, sacred poetry and baroque music. With the help of their charismatic conductor, the choir embarks on a historic journey taking the hymns that were given to their great grandparents by German missionaries, now sung in their own Aboriginal languages, back to Germany. Together they share their music and stories of cultural survival, identity and cross-cultural collaboration.
NITV Channel Manager Tanya Orman says it’s important to share Indigenous stories with all communities.
“NITV is dedicated to showcasing stories from local communities and it is with great pride that we share these incredibly important documentaries with audiences at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival.”
The festival will also see NITV Senior Commissioning Editor, Mary-Ellen Mullane who will be speaking at the MIFF Accelerator Lab Creative Tension: Managing your Stakeholders – On the cutting room floor on Thursday 1 August at 9.30am. As well as NITV Producer Ben Smith and NITV Digital Producer Luke Briscoe, who will be speaking at the Real World VR Film Session on Tuesday 15 August at 6.30pm.