We Don't Need A Map


The Southern Cross is the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere. Ever since colonisation, it’s been claimed, appropriated and hotly-contested for ownership by a range of Australian groups.

But for Aboriginal people the meaning of this heavenly body is deeply spiritual. And just about completely unknown. For a start, the Southern Cross isn’t even a cross – it’s a totem that’s deeply woven into the spiritual and practical lives of Aboriginal people.

Now one of Australia’s Aboriginal filmmakers, Warwick Thornton, tackles this subject in a film which challenges us to consider the place of the Southern Cross in the Australian psyche.

Imbued with Warwick’s cavalier spirit, this is a thought-provoking ride through Australia’s cultural and political landscape.

Created by Thornton and his filmmaker son, Dylan River, this poetic essay-film features interviews with tattooists, rappers, astronomers and bush puppets.

The film is part of NITV’s landmark Moment in History initiative, launched by NITV and Screen Australia to bring together some of Australia’s most experienced and innovative Aboriginal filmmakers to create powerful, one-off documentaries that reflect on the place of Aboriginal people in the country today.

Featuring tracks by A.B. Original’s Adam Briggs and leading Aussie rock-punk acts such as The Drones, Frenzal Rhomb, The Saints and Rowland S Howard, the film is a bold statement from the first frame.



Dee Madigan
Bill Harney
Baluka Maymuru
Ghassan Hage
Adam Briggs
Bruce Pascoe
Release dates
7 June 2017 - World premiere at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival Opening Night Gala
23 July 2017 - Australia (NITV)
2018 - educational release
Video/DVD release date
27 February 2018
MA 15+ - Mature accompanied
Ronin Films


English and Warlpiri, Wardaman, Dhuwala, Dhuwaya with English subtitles.

We Don’t Need a Map was the Opening Night Film of the 2017 Sydney Film Festival. It was the first time that an Aboriginal film opened the festival.

The bush toys used in the film are desert art from the Ltyentye Apurte and Titjikala communities from Central Australia.

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2020, We Don't Need A Map, <>, retrieved 14 July 2024

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