FEM&IST Film Festival 2018 Fem&Ist Films presents

Aboriginal Feminism

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This year's Fem&ist Film Festival opens with three films from the Karrabing Film Collective.

Karrabing are an Indigenous media group from the Belyuen Community on the northwest coast of the Top End of the Northern Territory. They use filmmaking to interrogate the conditions of inequality for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and to retain connections to land and their ancestors. The collective brings together an intergenerational mix of more than thirty community members, along with anthropologist, activist and gender studies professor Elizabeth Povinelli, who has worked with the community since 1984. Together they have sought to create a model for Indigenous filmmaking and activism; an infrastructure of communal thinking and experimentation that seamlessly blends fiction and documentary traditions.

Joining us for post-film Q&A will be founding members of the Karrabing Film Collective; Cecilia Lewis and Linda Yarrowin. Cecilia Lewis is an Emmiyangal woman, with family connections stretching through the Roper River region. She features as an actress in When the Dogs Talked (2014) and Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams (2016). Linda Yarrowin is an Emmiyangal woman from the saltwater region of Mabuluk, and features in all six Karrabing films as an actress.

Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible, with accessible public transport nearby. The films are subtitled and post-film discussion will have live AUSLAN interpreting.

Films screening in this session

When the Dogs TalkedElizabeth Povinelli: Australia, 34 mins, 2014

As a group of Indigenous adults argue about whether to save their government housing or their sacred lands, their children struggle with how the ancestral Dreaming makes sense in their contemporary lives filled with hip-hop and dinosaur bones. When The Dogs Talked mixes nonfiction and fiction in a thoughtful yet humorous drama about the difficulties Indigenous communities have living within the strictures of modern white culture while maintaining a sense of their own traditions and relationship to the land.

Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams, Elizabeth Povinelli: Australia, 29 mins, 2016

Across a series of flashbacks, an extended Indigenous family argues about what caused their boat’s motor to break down and leave them stranded out bush. As they consider the roles played in the incident by the ancestral present, the regulatory state and the Christian faith, Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams explores the multiple demands and inescapable vortexes of contemporary Indigenous life. The most surreal and near-psychedelic of Karrabing Film Collective’s productions to date, Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams explores how the collective’s Indigenous film-makers experience the containment of missionary-Christian moral codes as well as settler-colonial rule-of-law, and how these layer, displace, but ultimately are absorbed into ancestral territorial arrangements secured in sweat and through generational obligation.

The Mermaids, or Aiden in Wonderland, Elizabeth Povinelli: Australia, 26 mins, 2018

At the end of the world, only Indigenous people can survive the toxic landscape so the white fellas steal ‘mud children’ to experiment on in the hopes of finding a cure. One such mud child, Aiden now returns to his ancestral lands, where the mermaids were meant to protect him. But the mermaids are being targeted too.