How to find Aboriginal films
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Find an Aboriginal movie faster with these tips and resources.
Aboriginal films are not always easy to find, especially the short subjects which might be on an extra on a DVD together with the main movie.
Here are a few tips for your search:
- Buy the movie. Check my list of suppliers of Aboriginal movies.
- Borrow the film. You can arrange a community screening and borrow Aboriginal films for that night.
- Watch the film. Find out if it is screened on television, e.g. National Indigenous Television. Alternatively, check YouTube for a list of feature-length Aboriginal movies and documentaries.
- Check your library. Many libraries have copies of movies you cannot get through any other channel. You can search the National Library of Australia or the National Film & Sound Archives.
Where can I buy Aboriginal movies?
Below is a selection of suppliers in alphabetical order.
ABC Content Sales
The ABC screens lots of Aboriginal films and shorts in its Message Sticks program. Content Sales is responsible for the sales and marketing of television programming content both in Australia and worldwide.
All About Movies
Claims to be "Australia's Largest DVD/VHS Database" and also offers a out-of-print service to find older movies. Also available are press books, posters, postcards, photographs, lobby cards, autographs and original working scripts.
One of Australia's largest and oldest DVD websites offering news, reviews, competitions and resources. Aboriginal movies available are mainstream.
DVD Video Planet
A New Zealand-based company offering mainstream DVDs with a good selection of Aboriginal-themed movies.
You can search for best prices of Aboriginal DVD titles in five stores and pick the cheapest one. DVD Plaza provides information and services for Australia's online DVD stores since 1999.
Note: EzyDVD went into receivership in December 2008. Though its website still accepts orders I'm not sure about their ability to deliver goods. Their online catalogue offers many Aboriginal movies though.
Flickerfest is a short film distributor who "hand-picks" quality Australian short films including "the latest collection of Australian indigenous short films". They are able to deliver many shorts presented on CreativeSpirits.info.
National Film and Sound Archive
The National Film and Sound Archive is the national audiovisual archive, collecting, storing, preserving and making available screen and sound material relevant to Australia's culture. A good address if you want to show Indigenous movies to a broader audience (schools, universities, communities).
A large collection of DVDs with many Aboriginal movies among them, even some not found in other stores.
Ronin Films is an independent distributor of non-theatrical films. A list of educational videos is available on the site. They are a very good source for Aboriginal movies and they have a large collection.
Warlpiri Media Association
Warlpiri Media Association is a non-profit community organisation managed by a locally elected indigenous management committee. They have a proud history of independently produced local television. Local Indigenous video operators collect news stories and local events for editing and broadcast to the local community. Warlpiri has also produces a wide variety of programming for national broadcast, including the ground breaking Bush Mechanics.
Where can I watch Aboriginal movies?
Over the last few years Indigenous films have become more and more popular. Watch out for film festivals which either show Aboriginal films along with other films or purely Aboriginal film festivals such as the annual Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival.
National Indigenous Television
The digital Indigenous TV station NITV (National Indigenous TeleVision) broadcasts in the Sydney region on channel 40. Among other material it broadcasts Indigenous documentaries which are usually repeated over a number of days at different times so you get a chance to watch them.
Check out NITV's upcoming movie program.
National Film & Sound Archive
The National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA) runs the Black Screen Program where it provides Indigenous communities and the broader Australian public with access to Indigenous films. You can borrow a compilation of films by Aboriginal filmmakers free of charge. Each DVD compile has a range of Indigenous films, short dramas, comedies and documentaries.
Contact www.nfsa.gov.au to find out how to access DVD compiles.
BeamAFilm is an Australian documentary VOD (video on demand) site that also streams a curated list of films about Aboriginal Australia. You can rent them for 2 days for a small fee or for free if you're a member of selected libraries.
If you don't know the exact name of the film, Screen Australia (formerly Australian Film Commission) offers an advanced search of their database.
Australian Screen Online
Australian Screen Online (ASO) offers public access to a vast collection of excerpts of Australian feature films, TV drama, documentaries, news reels, home movies and other historical material.