Three Boys Dreaming
Michael Cordell | Australia 2010 | 80 min
From urban communities to remote desert outposts, Australian Football League (AFL) is both an obsession and a tantalising escape route from boredom and poverty for many Indigenous teenagers. To run onto the field as an AFL player is to achieve success and respect in both black and white Australia.
Three Boys Dreaming begins with a unique football camp in September 2005 that saw 48 of the best young Indigenous footballers from around the country brought together in Melbourne.
The camp provided an opportunity to improve their skills, to hear the wisdom of Cathy Freeman and Michael Long and set them up for an AFL career.
Over the ensuing four years, documentary-maker Michael Cordell followed three particularly talented boys: Daniel (14) from rural north west Tasmania; Western Sydney teen, Daen (15); and Chris, a shy 15 year-old from Perth.
But the road to football stardom is difficult. Many broader social issues resonate in an intimate, emotional drama as the film chronicles the boys’ success and setbacks not just on the field, but in school, at home, and finally, in a white dominated society.
For the barriers that have disappeared on the field are still heavily entrenched off it.
Each boy struggles to keep the dream alive, coping with the usual woes of teenage males and the added pressure of being Indigenous in today’s Australia. The parents and coaches also feature, providing a deeper insight into the boys’ vulnerabilities and life.
Three Boys Dreaming celebrates the dogged and aspirational spirit of Aboriginal Australians. It is a universal story, but also uniquely Australian.
Do you know what tastes even better? Victory!—Cathy Freeman in Three Boys Dreaming, talking about fast food.
Still image of Three Boys Dreaming.