17 Jul 2017 - 9:50 AM UPDATED 17 Jul 2017 - 10:22 AM
Australians are invited to find their bearings with You Are Here - a series of powerful documentaries premiering in the month of July.
You Are Here explores the place of Indigenous people in Australia today through documentary films, which all capture moments in time that have the power to shape our history. From national issues to personal battles and triumphs, each story inspires a sense of place and allows viewers to discover new perspectives on the Australian spirit through Indigenous storytelling.
A Nation's Conversation
NITV and Screen Australia have collaborated together with You Are Here, a slate of compelling and powerful documentaries, which reflect the current conversation of the Country about Constitutional Recognition. A topic that Indigenous leaders and politicians have been in conversation about for over a decade.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 ‘Yes Vote’ referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo Native Title High Court decision. This series of documentaries examines the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australia today.
The four documentaries surprise, provoke, push boundaries and inspire change in various ways. Each film explores a variety of themes, from mainstream patriotism to conserving Indigenous country and the power of knowledge. Through innovative storytelling, Indigenous filmmakers reinforce the power of documentary to capture this conversation for Australians now and in the future.
You Are Here
You Are Here explores the place of Indigenous people in Australia today through documentary films, which all capture moments in time that have the power to shape our history. From national issues, to personal battles and triumphs, each story inspires a sense of place and allows viewers to discover new perspectives on the Australian spirit through Indigenous storytelling.
The title You Are Here, was chosen because the original moment in history initiative between screen Australia and NITV felt that it was too historical and that it might not engage with a broad audience. The final four projects selected weren't all historical documentaries; instead, they focus on a range of content, so You Are Here enables any person to participate with the material.
The Southern Cross has been a part of Australia’s Indigenous cosmology for millennia. Source: Sydney Film Festival
You Are Here is an inclusive title that invites an audience to participate in the conversation, debate and journey so far of Indigenous people and Australia's history. It is also a play on various Australian Indigenous notions of place and country that were here at this moment in history. The documentaries are eclectic which meant there needed to be a broad brush stroke title to sit on both SBS and NITV platforms. The main focus is about engaging with a wider audience. The artwork was created playing on the notion of where you are, with the utilisation of a map to suggest
The artwork was created playing on the notion of where you are, with the utilisation of a map to suggest location, identity, past, present and future with colourful Indigenous elements.
Documentary selection process
The series will see films such as Warwick Thornton’s We Don’t Need a Map, Erica Glynn’s In My Own Words, Tyson Mowarin’s Connection to Country and Trisha Morton-Thomas’ Occupation Native.
The four documentaries were chosen in part of a lengthy call process. There were more than 25 applications submitted by Indigenous film directors. The requirements were left open ended to enable Indigenous filmmakers to be more creative and come to the topic without too many restrictions. The four documentaries selected were intended to be inclusive as possible, with one from Western Australia, one from the Northern Territory, one from New South Wales and another working in NSW with an NT filmmaker.
National review of Indigenous education released. Source: NITV News
The films were commissioned as part of NITV’s work on the impending referendum on recognition. That's where it started however it evolved into a national discussion and an opportunity for Australia as a nation, to think about the place of Indigenous people in our country - both in the past, certainly in the present, and looking into future opportunities. To do that there had to be an eclectic set of voices as the Indigenous community is not just one community, it is a range of voices and that needed to be represented. There’s a mix of old and young filmmakers, but the most important thing was that they came with a fresh idea and something they were passionate about reflecting. Each individual had something they wanted to show, not just Indigenous people, but all of Australia. They also had to be able to turn content around quickly in case there was a referendum at the time.
The four filmmakers all came to NSW to attend a development workshop in Kangaroo Valley with the highly acclaimed Mexican director, Guillermo Arriaga, who helped guide each person on their individual projects. The first film to go into projection was Erica Glynn’s In My Own Words, Warwick Thornton followed after that then it was Tyson Mowarin’s film and the final one for production was Trisha Morton-Thomas. All films share really important values and ask important questions in very different ways, with the hope that people will gain a better understanding of Australia through Indigenous eyes.
Trisha Morton-Thomas’ Occupation Native captures moments in time that have the power to shape our history Source: NITV News
Some of the films have a tight focus on small groups of people in the community, while others focus on the whole nation, ensuring something for everyone through each film. Some are quite provocative and others are quite gentle and quietly heroic. As a national broadcaster, it’s important to offer a smorgasbord of content for a wide audience to engage all people in the conversation.
The selection process behind the films was focused on the current national conversation. As a nation, we are at a really important moment where things are changing. There’s an opportunity for us all to move forward and have a mature discussion. The time is right for these documentaries to be launched for the rest of the world. The films are expected to entertain, educate and engage with as many Australians as possible to make people really think about where we are as a nation.
We Don’t Need a Map
We Don’t Need a Map
Sunday 23 July at 8.30pm on NITV and SBS
Filmmaker Warwick Thornton's film We Don't Need A Map takes a journey through Australia's cultural and political landscape.
We Don’t Need a Map is a feature length documentary about Australia’s complex relationship to the Southern Cross. It is the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere and ever since colonisation it’s been claimed, appropriated and hotly-contested for ownership by a radical range of Australian groups. But for Aboriginal people the meaning of this heavenly body is deeply spiritual, and just about completely unknown. Warwick Thornton, one of Australia’s leading film-makers, tackles this fiery subject head on in a bold, provocative and poetic essay-film.
In My Own Words
Sunday 30 July at 8.30pm on NITV and SBS
In My Own Words follows the journey of Aboriginal students and their teachers as they discover the transformative power of reading and writing for the first time. The documentary focusses on a classroom in Brewarrina, a rural northwest NSW town with a majority Aboriginal population. Research reveals that 45-65% of Aboriginal adults are functionally illiterate. Filming every day of the 13-week Literacy for Life Foundation course, Erica Glynn captures the women and men, the poverty and hardship, behind the sobering statistic.
Connection to Country
Connection to Country
Sunday 6 August at 8.30pm on NITV and 9.30pm on SBS
Connection to Country follows the Indigenous people of the Western Australian Pilbara’s battle to preserve Australia's 50,000-year-old cultural heritage from the ravages of a booming mining industry. The Pilbara region sits in the Burrup Peninsula (or Murujuga) and is host to the largest concentration of rock art in the world, dating back over 50,000 years. It's a dramatic and ancient landscape so sacred that some parts shouldn't be looked upon at all, except by Traditional Owners. Tyson Mowarin shows the waves of industrialisation and development that threaten sites all over the region, and how he and the people of the Pilbara are fighting back by documenting the rock art, recording sacred sites and battling to get their unique cultural heritage recognised, recorded and celebrated.
Sunday 13 August at 8.30pm on NITV and 9.30pm on SBS
Filmmaker Trisha Morton-Thomas dishes up a fresh look at our colonial past. Exploring everything they never taught you at school but should have. It’s Australian history, but not like you have you ever seen or heard before. Trisha decides it’s time to go looking for answers, and along with actor Steven Oliver and several historians the film is a satirical recount of our untold history.
You Are Here kicks off on Sunday 23 July at 8.30pm on NITV and SBS.