From 20-22 May, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre proudly presents the Melbourne leg of the 2011 Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival, featuring new Indigenous films from Australia and around the world. It's playing at the Capitol Theatre and ACMI and all films are free.
This year – the festival’s twelfth - the Message Sticks family is the largest yet. There are eleven host venues nationally, from the launch at the Sydney Opera House and screenings at Blacktown Arts Centre last week, to outdoor sessions at Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema in August.
Actress, writer and director Pauline Whyman has a role in Here I Am, the headliner film by Beck Cole, and is travelling as MC and host of this year’s festival. She spoke about the unique nature of Message Sticks, which is the only Indigenous film festival in Australia. “What also sets it apart from other festivals is that it’s accessible to anyone and everyone. It takes really great cinema to communities at no cost.”
Message Sticks 2011 promo from Blackfella Films on Vimeo.
Blackfella Films: Message Sticks 2011 tour
YouTube: Beck Cole and Kath Shelper interview about Here I Am at Adelaide Film Festival
The eleventh annual Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival finished its national tour at Melbourne Museum last night. It's the fourth year that we've hosted the festival and it finished with a brilliant documentary called Reel Injun about the portrayal of Native American Indians in films.
Trailer courtesy of Rezolution Pictures.
I was moved by the stories of kids growing up on Indian reservations watching cowboys and Indians films in church hall, cheering for the cowboys and not connecting the Indians on the screen with themselves. There moments that had the audience in stiches, too - snippets of non-Indian actors like Burt Reynolds sprayed in 'redface', or the first time anyone bothered to translate the words spoken in dialect by extras in films. Did you know that the headband was largely a Hollywood creation? According to the film, they weren't really worn by Indians; they were used by costume departments to keep the long black wigs on the heads of actors as they tumbled from horses!
Look out for the Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival in venues around Australia in 2011.