The true story of the first Aboriginal filmmaker William Bill Onus.
Tiriki Onus sets out to uncover the mystery surrounding a 70-year-old silent movie believed to be made by his grandfather, WilliamʻBillʼ Onus.
Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri man from Victoria, is a truly heroic cultural and political figure who revived his peopleʼs culture in the 1940s and ignited a citizenʼs rights movement in that would, against enormous odds, change the course of history. His enormous talents as entertainer, entrepreneur, theatre impresario, the first Aboriginal filmmaker and television host were all used in service of winning racial equality and justice.
It is little known that Bill generated international support for the Aboriginal rights movement. Music stars like Harry Belafonte, who worked closely with Martin Luther King, visited him. Paul Robeson earned an ASIO file after he spoke out for equality in Australia.
As Tiriki journeys across the continent and pieces together clues to the filmʼs origins, he unearths dark intrigues that shape the story into a real-life thriller about a murky campaign to stop Billʼs rising international influence.
Through never-seen-before archival footage, reimagined events, animation and eyewitness accounts, Ablaze tells a compelling story – part detective story, part contemporary opera – of passionate belief and cultural resilience that resonates across generations.
- G - general
Find "Ablaze" on DVD or BluRay
Other films by Tiriki Onus & Alec Morgan
Explore more Aboriginal movies
Explore movie history with the Aboriginal film timeline.
Take the quiz: Are you an Aboriginal movie buff?