The inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival is coming to Melbourne

The BIRRARANGGA Film Festival is a celebration of Indigenous filmmakers from around the world showcasing their unique stories to Melbourne audiences. The festival will take place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) from Friday April 26 – Monday April 29 and will feature over 40 beautiful, raw, inspiring and heartbreaking feature length and short films.

The festival has been curated by Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung)/Yorta Yorta screen creative and actor Tony Briggs (also known for creating box-office hit The Sapphires), and will focus on films that explore the curatorial themes of ‘humanity through family and culture’. First Peoples relationship to the image as a form of expression, particularly in Australia, is connected to thousands of years of cultural practices. This festival honours that history and acknowledges the contemporary currency of the moving image, of film, as an expression of the human experience.

Respected Elder, Aunty Zeta Briggs Thomson has given her blessing to use the name ‘BIRRARANGGA’ for the festival, the Woiwurrung word for ‘river location’. Rivers connect Indigenous people across the world and have fluidity, movement and life, just as films do. And so it is fitting that ACMI on the Yarra River is the venue for the festival.

The core vision for BIRRARANGGA Film Festival is to nurture leadership and provide visibility to global Indigenous filmmakers, whilst facilitating opportunities to forge new international relationships between screen practitioners. To create a dialogue around Indigenous stories and to encourage emerging leaders in the screen industry so more stories can be made and shared by Indigenous artists.

Artistic Director Tony Briggs says "In this year, the International year of Indigenous Languages, it is an honour for us to bring to Victoria the inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival. We are proud to introduce a film festival that unites the stories of Indigenous people from around the globe, highlighting their languages, beauty and the unification of people through the humanity of their cultures. A festival that we hope will contribute to, enlighten, fulfil and enrich our community."

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “The Victorian Government is a proud partner of the first BIRRARANGGA Film Festival to support, promote and celebrate First Peoples creativity. Curated by one of our brightest screen voices, Tony Briggs, the festival will be a place to experience the culture, stories and perspectives of Indigenous filmmakers from across the globe and it will offer emerging filmmakers the opportunity to build their careers and learn from some of Australia’s most respected film industry leaders. It’s already shaping up to be an extraordinary program of screenings, events and workshops and another drawcard event for the creative state.”

Film Victoria CEO, Caroline Pitcher comments “Film Victoria is proud to invest in the BIRRARANGGA Film Festival – an important and exciting new initiative for sharing stories, voices and perspectives from Australia’s First Nations people, and Indigenous people from around the world. Through the power of film, and by hearing firsthand from preeminent First Nations’ leaders and filmmakers at the festival, we look forward to learning from Elders, empowering the next generation of Indigenous filmmakers, and connecting our audiences with cultures spanning thousands of years.”

BIRRARANGGA Film Festival will open on Friday April 26 with the Australian premiere of the Canadian film Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife), the first film entirely made in the Haida Gwaii language - a worthy Opening Night film for the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Made entirely by the Haida Gwaii community, it is a gripping, exciting and visually stunning film, named by TIFF as one of the top ten Canadian films of 2018.

The inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival (BFF) is being produced by Typecast Entertainment in partnership with Film Victoria, Creative Victoria and presenting partner ACMI.

The full festival program will be announced soon. Visit the BIRRARANGGA Film Festival website for more information.