WINDA Film Festival Starts This Week: Indigenous Films from Under the Milky Way

Scott Wallace
19th Nov 2017

From 23-26 November 2017, the WINDA Film Festival returns to celebrate Indigenous films from under the Milky Way to give voice to a diverse global Indigenous film community.

Now in its second year, held at Event Cinemas George St, the Festival will screen two feature films and seven documentaries, and 31 short films from over six countries, including nine Australian premieres, and two international premieres.

The Festival kicks off with the Venice Special Jury Prize winner Sweet Country, from acclaimed Australian director Warwick Thornton.  Earning rave critic reviews, the majestic outback western features an Australian ensemble cast of Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Matt Day, and follows an Aboriginal stockman who must face a town’s toxic racist underbelly after he kills a white station-owner in self-defence.

Closing the Festival will be a free pop-up outdoor cinema on the UTS Alumni Green, with a community screening of After the Apology from prolific writer and filmmaker Larissa Behrendt, and a sausage sizzle. The landmark documentary explores the community’s response to the removal of Aboriginal children by welfare agencies, which has continued to increase since the Stolen Generations (1905-1969).

“We’re thrilled to bring WINDA back for a second year,” said Festival Artistic Director Pauline Clague. “The international and local films bring audiences together with portrayals of shared celebrations, struggles and stories, and puts us in our place in the universal storylines of Indigenous nations.”

The program also includes four curated nights showcasing Indigenous short filmmaking, including Shorts from the Bush, Shorts from the South, International Shorts, and a selection of films from Aotearoa curated by the Māoriland Film Festival titled Brave New Lens.

The Festival will also feature a series of special events including: a filmmaking masterclass with Indigenous Canadian film veteran Alanis Obomsawin; a workshop on VR / 360 filmmaking through an Indigenous lens, run by leading 360 producers Indigi Lab; an innovative virtual reality media project reimagining Indigenous communities 150 years in the future; and Native Slam I + II, a pop-up Yurt screening short films on the Sydney Opera House Forecourt as part of Homeground.

WINDA Film Festival is made possible in part by generous industry sponsors: UTS: Jumbunna Institute, New Horizon Films, Wurhu Darhuy Foundation, Cushman & Wakefield, 2SER Radio, Event Cinemas George Street, City of Sydney, Creative Content and Sydney Opera House’s Homeground Festival.