Emu Runner is seen through the eyes of Gem, a 9-year-old girl growing up in the isolated community of Brewarrina. When Gem’s young mother dies unexpectedly, she copes with the loss by bonding with a wild emu, while her father struggles to keep his family of three children together.
As Gem connects with her ancestors’ totem animal – a male emu rearing its chicks – her behaviour attracts the attention of an over-eager social worker who may misinterpret grief for parental neglect.
Emu Runner is a tale of sorrow and redemption, but its central message is about respecting difference. The film explores underlying racial tensions in regional Australia and the importance of traditional customs in contemporary Aboriginal culture.
- Rhae-Kye Waites – Gem
Wayne Blair – Jay Jay
Rob Carlton – Stan
Georgia Blizzard – Heidi
Sandra Murphy – Aunty Joy
Letisha Boney – Valerie
Mary Waites – Daphne
Lindsay Waites – Wes
Sunny Orcher – Uncle Albert
Christiana Ferreira – Paramedic
Stella Carter – Tessa
Rodney Boney – Ecka
Annie Wright – Gloria
The majority of the cast are Brewarrina locals.
- Release dates
- 7 September 2018: World Premiere in the Discovery programme at the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival
14 October 2018: Australian premiere at the Adelaide film festival
7 November 2019: Australian general release
- Video/DVD release date
- 5 February 2020
- PG - Parental guidance
- Peter Michael Davison, Ben Fink
Emu Runner is Imogen Thomas' first feature film.
Positioned near the banks of the Barwon River, Brewarrina is home to a large Aboriginal community. It is the traditional land of the Ngemba, Murrawarri, Ualari, Weilwan and Baranbinja people and was a traditional meeting place for these groups to come together for important ceremonies and to enjoy the abundant fish the river offered. Traditional stone fish traps have been used on the river for over 40,000 years and are still visible. The river continues to hold great significance as as a source of nourishment for the community.
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