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.