The short documentary web series, Black As,follows a group of energetic young Aboriginal men through Arnhem Land providing access and insight into Aboriginal culture and community in a remote part of Australia. Their idea was to show the outside world this amazing bush life of hunting and living off the land, stories of survival, adventure, cars and near disasters.
Jerome, Chico and Dino are Yolngu men who live and grew up in Yathlamara, a homeland near the community of Ramingining in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Non-Aboriginal Joe moved to Ramingining as a child and grew up with the others. He was adopted by a local family and is considered part of the community. All four men have gone through Aboriginal customary law and live by all cultural and societal codes expected of them as initiated men.
These guys grew up with “Bush Mechanics”. Now with mobile phones, TV, music and the Internet, a new generation has emerged and the time is right to celebrate life in the bush all over again…but in today’s world. It is neither straight documentary, scripted drama or reality. It is a genre of its own.
Each episode will continue “the journey”, discovering the wonders and secret spots in and around Ramingining, the Arafura Swamp and its wild and inhospitable coastline and rivers. The boys will use all their bush skills to keep cars going, build with bush materials and find innovative solutions to curly predicaments. They’ll travel in broken cars, dinghies, and when all engines fail…take to the foot.. They’ll live off the land with nothing, survive islands infested with crocs and have mystical interventions from greater powers.
Joe is still the “white guy” and the others play on this and tease Joe continually. Joe in turn is often the motivator who keeps them on track and organised. Their combined bush skills and know how are something to behold. Their respect for the elders and landowners is ever present. All four are strongly immersed in traditional cultural life, family and its obligations.
Living in Remote Aboriginal communities is often about a sedentary lifestyle and its associated diseases. Black As celebrates Aboriginal youth culture, bush foods, and a hunter/gatherer tradition. The series is a positive celebration of young people living in a remote Aboriginal community. It embraces life in the bush and all it has on offer.
Watch episodes at the official Youtube Channel.
Dino is the happy go lucky guy that lives for the moment, Joseph is the bridge connecting the Black As boys Yolngu and white worlds, Jerome is the cool cat in the group and the one with the laughs and all the dance moves, and Chico is the quiet leader. But to know more you will have to watch the series. And not to mention a cast of behind the scenes Black As supporters including Buddhi Lokuge, and Lloyd Garrawurra (2nd from right above) an inspiring journalist and organiser of young people in Ramingining.
Episode 1: The Mission
The Black As boys find their beloved Suzuki 4WD smashed to bits by a Cyclone.
Episode 2: Build a Bridge
The boys borrow a dinghy from their Uncle Oppy and promise to bring back lots of fish. It's not long before things start to go belly up. The trailer needs some serious Bush Mechanics.
Episode 3: Three-Worm Hut
While launching the dinghy Joe manages to drown it and now it's crocodile bait. How are the boys going to get out of this one?
Episode 4: Cooking up a bush feed
Chico and Joe make a traditional spear while Dino and Jerome go hunting for mud crab. After cooking up a bush feed they fall asleep and Jerome has a weird dream.
Episode 5: Dinghy push
The tide's gone out, so it's time to save the Suzuki but it’s stuck in the mud...
Episode 6: Happy hunting
The Black As boy’s take the dinghy up a massive tidal river in Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. Always alert for crocodiles, they have their spears at hand, ready to hunt at a moment's notice.
Episode 7: Island of plenty
After arriving at the island the boys catch enough fish to fill the esky. They go exploring around the small island. Along the way they find a turtle.
Episode 8: Bottle of piss
On the deserted island Jerome finds an empty grog bottle. He pisses in it then back at camp presents to the boys. What could go wrong?
Episode 9: The getaway
No water and now, no dinner! Who let their dinner get away?
Episode 10: Trouble at sea
The Black As boat engine goes bust just as the boys are heading home with a massive fishing haul!
Episode 11: Adrift
The boys are adrift at sea. They resort to drinking the urine in the bottle and try paddling with whatever they can lay their hands on.
Episode 12: Lost
The broken down dinghy has drifted into some mangroves, somewhere along the coast. The boys are lost and thirsty! They head off in search of water.
Episode 13: Water
Tired and thirsty, the boys now head for Mangbirri, a remote outstation to get help. They rest near some paperbark trees and find they are full of water.
Episode 14: Bright spark
After filling up on muddy water it's time to make camp and cook the crocs but no matches! Chico produces an electric toothbrush and with some gunpowder from a shotgun cartridge. They get a fire going, cook diner and settle into their camp.
Episode 15: Tin canoes
Faced with having to cross a croc infested billabong, the boys make canoes out of tin.
Episode 16: Help yourselves
At last, the boys reach cyclone ravaged Mangbirri outstation, but it's deserted. They decide to cook their Kangaroo. Joe finds a jerry can of water.
Episode 17: Pimp my wheels
The boys manage to spark up a trashed car and hit the road once again.
Episode 18: Suzi Rescue
The boys return to retrieve the Suzuki and Oppys trailer. They manage to pull both out but the Suzuki is trashed.
Episode 19: Suzi send-off
The poor old Suzuki is cremated and gets a traditional send-off. The boys lament its passing and reflect on what a legendary car it was.
Episode 20: Trailer failure
The boys go on the hunt for for Oppy's dinghy.
- Dino Wanybarrnga
- Release dates
- May 2016 - Australia
- Rebel Films
Music by bands from the region such as Dunganda Street Sounds and the Nabarlek Band.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/blackaswebseries
Watch now or find a DVD/BlueRay copy
Browse a list of Aboriginal film suppliers and distributors
Other films by David Batty
Use the Aboriginal film timeline to discover films you never heard of.
Take the quiz: Are you an Aboriginal movie buff?