Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival Sydney 2008

Sydney is host to the Indigenous Film Festival since its inception in 1999. The festival premiers a fine selection of Aboriginal films in drama, documentary, comedy and shorts, often followed by a short question and answers (Q&A) session. Many of the film reviews you find on this site come from my visits to the Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival which is very popular.

Aboriginal filmmakers have used the lens to capture the feelings and thoughts of our people, talking about their lives at a turning point in Australia's history—Darren Dale, Blackfella Films, co-host of the film festival

9th Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival program

Venue: Sydney Opera House, Playhouse. The festival then tours nationally.

What’s new this year? For the first time, the festival will also include two days of special screenings for secondary students on July 2 and 3.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Gala Opening Night and Party | 8pm
Featuring River of No Return, the premiere of the short film Yolngu Guya Djamamirr, and the Bob Maza Fellowship Award. All tickets $50

Saturday, 5 July 2008

River of No Return

Darlene Johnson | 52 min | 11am - 12.30pm
A touching story of change and transformation, this fascinating film follows Frances Djulibing (Ten Canoes) as she strives to achieve her dream of becoming a Hollywood movie star.
Followed by an artists talk with the movie’s star and director.

Film: River of No Return

Spirit Stones

Allan Collins | 52 mins | 1.30pm - 2.30pm
This beautifully filmed film uncovers uncanny real-life phenomena from the 1940s and 50s.

Film: Spirit Stones

Australian & International Shorts

Various directors | 3.30pm - 5pm
Yolngu Guya Djamamirr
One River All Rivers (not in official program)
Who Paintin’ Dis Wandjina?
Bollywood Dreaming

Panel Discussion: When Film Intervenes in Life

6pm - 7pm
The panel of speakers includes Marcia Langton, Tom Zubrycki and filmmaker Julie Nimmo. They discuss the politics of representation using clips from Julie’s unfinished documentary The Intervention which details the Government’s controversial move into remote Aboriginal communities.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

When Colin met Joyce

Rima Tamou | 52 min | 11am - 12.30pm
A profile of political activist Joyce Clague and her husband.

Film: When Colin met Joyce

Mad Morro

Kelrick Martin | 52 min | 1.30pm - 2pm
A powerful and dramatic story about familial love follows James Morris as he returns to Taree after 13 years in prison.

Film: Mad Morro

Wanja: Warrior Dog

Angie Abdilla | 26 min | 3.30pm - 4.15pm
Aunty Barb has been living on the Block in Redfern for 12 years and Wanja was her dog for 6, attacking and chasing the police, keeping them at bay from her family.

Film: Wanja: Warrior Dog

Courting with Justice

Debbie Carmody | 26 min | 4.15pm - 5pm
A former Norseman pub manager was charged with the manslaughter of an Aboriginal man, but found not guilty. The dead man’s partner searches for justice.

Film: Courting with Justice

Warlpiri Media

5.30pm - 7pm
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the invention of Aboriginal Television.
Hosted by Rachel Perkins in conversation with Warlpiri Media’s Francis Jupurrula Kelly, Simon Japangardi Fisher, Simba Jupurrula Nelson and Connie Nakamarra White.

More Aboriginal films

Explore hundreds of Aboriginal movie reviews or check out one of the past film festivals:

Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival - A panel of directors and actors in discussion with the audience. Message Sticks Film Festival. The audience gets the chance to have questions and answers with the film makers at the end of each film.