Leah Purcell - press shot - The Drover's Wife (2021)
Courtesy Roadshow Entertainment
Stories & Ideas

Sun 01 May 2022

Leah Purcell on reclaiming The Drover’s Wife with The Legend of Molly Johnson

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Bryan Andy
Bryan Andy

Yorta Yorta writer, arts advocate, current convenor of OutBlack and host of First Nations Film Club at ACMI

The film's writer, director and star spoke to us about her thoroughly researched, Blak feminist retelling of Henry Lawson's classic text.

[Skip to the in conversation with Leah Purcell]

An introduction to The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson

In April, ACMI’s First Nations Film Club presented a special preview screening of The Drovers Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson; and we were extremely honoured and chuffed to have writer, director and star of the film Leah Purcell join the club for a conversation afterwards – an inspiring, stirring and reaffirming experience.

The Legend of Molly Johnson is radical reimagining of Henry Lawson’s classic 1892 short story that many of us in Australia know, having studied the text as part of our formative high school curriculum.

I vividly recall the Year 10 English class in which we studied The Drover's Wife. The intent of the story, and indeed the lesson, was to sell us the notion that what was now known as ‘Australia’ was a utopia, a place of privilege, all brought about by a battle of tenacity and endurance against an unforgiving landscape that was only until relatively recently considered terra nullius – no man’s land.

For me, the most memorable aspects of Lawson’s short story were his representations of the Aboriginal characters. There’s so-called ‘King Billy’ and his wife ‘Black Mary’ who is not only given a name but also a qualifier as “the ‘whitest’ gin in all the land”. I also remember the ‘stray blackfellow’ with whom the drover’s wife bargains with to collect her some wood. The stray too is given a qualifier, with Lawson writing him up as “the last of his tribe and a King”, giving readers the impression that the attempted genocide of Aboriginal people by the tenacious colony was within sight.

The Blak characters of Lawson’s tale – while named and representative of Australia’s desired Aboriginal fait accompli – were seared into my teenage mind; indeed, they remained so in the lesson of my Year 10 English teacher. We didn’t go so far as to unpack the problematic representations, instead we laboured on the supposedly altruistic Australian spirit and all its unquestioned virtues of triumph over adversity and the land and its peoples.

So, you could imagine my surprise and delight at seeing a Blak feminist retelling of Lawson’s antiquated and might-I-say tawdry tale.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson sizzles with drama. An opening scene that becomes a bookend in the film’s narrative hints at grave danger ahead; after that, we are offered a joyously warm sequence that features Molly with her children. Life’s quite lovely. But the loveliness and warmth quickly dissolves into trauma, betrayal, vengeance and death.

What I enjoyed most about The Legend of Molly Johnson is the notably robust representations of Blak men and Blak women. They’re flawed as much as they are fearless, and full of relatable agency. White women are conspicuously given a sense of agency and purpose in the narrative too.

Purcell’s adaptation doesn’t shy away from the harsh and unforgiving nature of colonial Australia, reflected in her choices in its representation. Unlike the conquering tales of Australian folklore, Country isn’t the threat. There is a soothing elegance in the way Country is portrayed on the big screen in this film: mountains cloaked with mist are like welcoming ancient beasts; gnarled gums are like lone warriors in the landscape, standing with determination and majestic pride; even shots of rocks covered in snow melting in the morning light become a welcome salve to the traumatic events that take place in the narrative. The cinematography is often captivating and is offered at the best of times like a soothing lullaby, particularly when the drama seems too much.

In contrast, the harsh and unforgiving elements that appear in the ‘Australian’ bush are of the introduced kind: a raging bull, an armed white vagrant with a mouthful of yellow teeth hellbent on destruction, the police, the Monarch’s law...

Purcell deftly reimagines Lawson’s story in a manner that takes full advantage of his white and blinkered thinking to find purpose therein, and to reclaim what is a stale old yarn in comparison. Her film is full of delicious twists and exciting drama that speaks to and honours a highly accomplished form to storytelling – the Blak kind.

– Bryan Andy, Yorta Yorta


LISTEN: Leah Purcell and Bryan Andy in conversation


Transcript

Bryan Andy: Thank you so much for joining us. It's Bryan Andy here, I'm the host of the First Nations Film Club. And I just want to say on behalf of all of us gathered here today, down Kulin way, on Wurundjeri land, thank you for joining us tonight.

We just finished watching the film and I guess my immediate response was, "Wow. Can you do that? Can you actually take an Australian classic, something that's quite white and patriarchal and male, and just make it real Blak and real deadly?”

Leah Purcell : Yes, we can!

BA: Congratulations on it. Tell us where did that idea come from to take Henry Lawson's The Drover's Wife and reclaim it in such an amazing way?

LP: Firstly brother, I just want to acknowledge Country of where I sit and create on the Gadigal Wangal country here in Eora nation, and just pay my respects to any Elders there, and to the Elders past, present and emerging, and thank you all for coming out on a Tuesday night to see my film. I hope there's a mob there.

Look, it's a hard one to say, "Enjoy!", but I hope it's thought-provoking and I hope the audience felt the power of blackfellas behind this, blackfellas on the screen and for the mob to bring... To just be truth-tellers. So that's the first thing I want to say. Because I wanted mob to have the power. I wanted mob to have the power when they're seeing this film. There's no white saviours in it. She trusted her black people to look after those children. And you see at the end there that he did survive and he kept the race alive by marrying black and all them little creamy coloured kids there, in different shades and sizes. So I wanted that empowerment across the film.

And then the other thing, getting back to your question, Bryan. My mother actually read this story to me when I was a little girl, I was five years old, and she had a book. And unfortunately she passed away before I could say, "Mom, why Henry Lawson? Why this story?". But she loved to read, even though she had only a Grade Four education. She was sent out to servitude like a lot of our women of that time, and men. But she had this book and when she passed away, that's the only thing I took, was that little Henry Lawson book. Look, that's the back. And I remember it because I wrote in the pages... That's the image of Henry Lawson, how he depicts it. And in the pages, there was Nip, Dora, Dick and Fluff, and they were our Grade One readers. I can't find it now, but that's my drawing of the [inaudible].

So, I was five years old, but I reckon the reason I think I related to it so strongly was it was the first time that I was using my imagination as a child. And I put myself in that story. I was that young boy, Danny. In the original, his name is Jack. My mother was the drover's wife. There was only a handful of mob living in the township of Murgon and my family was one of them, but we were all on the outskirts. So we had a combustion stove. My mother could split logs, mate. She could stack a wood heap. She taught me to stack a wood heap. She said, "Never stack it hollow. Otherwise, snakes will get in under." So I just really could relate to it.

And my father wasn't around. The older brothers and sisters had left home. So it was just really me and mum. So I saw myself as that boy. My mother was my mother, my father, my hero. She was, dare I say it, doing reconciliation before it became trendy. There was always mob at our place. There was always whitefellas. Might have been around a carton of XXXX, but she created peace and people came together.

BA: Because I remember studying that particular text in high school. That's where I was introduced to Lawson's narrative or story. And I remember as a blackfella too, being quite... That sting of racism within the story, doesn't treat the blackfella very well in the text…

LP: He was a ‘bad blakfella’.

BA: Well, that's the thing… And what you've done with this film and this story is just reclaim things in a really beautiful way.

LP: That was part of the reason, because... There was a couple of reasons. I'll start with the women and then I'll come back to the men. So this is my great-great grandmother. She was a drover. She was 15, Winton in Guwa country. That's our bloodline to Country. So my grandfather was a drover. My mother drove, and she was also the cook. Her specialty was goanna and damper, they reckon.

I've got other aunties that were all great horsewomen. And we learned to ride when we were kids. But at the time of sitting down to write Drover's Wife... Because at the time, there was the intervention in Northern Territory and our men were getting labeled with terrible labels that they were no good. They weren't this. They were... And I wanted to bring forth my great-grandfather because I know he was an amazing man. That's my great-grandfather. That's Tippo. That's Yadaka. Based loosely on this fella. And we got a relative to do the diary for him. So what the stockmen say to Yadaka is almost word verbatim from that diary of what they called him in those days and what they said.

And I just wanted to make him the hero. I wanted to make our mob the hero. There's no big name whitefellas in there that were taking the lead roles and carrying the story. Me and Rob Collins did that. And I stand by that. All those little children, those four children, they're all mob, they're all different shades of blackfellas. South Australia, Nanga, Glebe. Little Glebe, round about there, with Malcolm [inaudible] Roberts. All them Roberts footballers. That's his mob. And the other two boys are from Broken Hill. We led that.

And the other non-indigenous actors that came on board knew that, and they wanted to come and play. And good on Jess and Sam to take a support role in a film that they thought was very important and they were there to back me and Rob. And bring their best for the story. They weren't worried about top credit. They weren't worried about how many lines they had. They were there because they believed in the story.

But getting back to the men's business, I wanted to make this a couple of things. I wanted to put our men at the forefront and make them the heroes. I wanted to show that my uncles, my nephews are great fathers. They're great grandfathers to their children.

Then there was also stories that I wanted… I actually lace through, of my father, who's non-indigenous. Time to put things to rest and to honour what he gave me. And he was a great storyteller too, in the sense that he had a great memory. And then looking at the issue of domestic violence, I want to give that back to the men. That's not our dreaming. If they use their fist, that's theirs and they've got to work out how to deal with that. And I think we've got to give that responsibility back to the brothers to make that change. So even though it's The Drover's Wife, there is a bit more men's business through there.

And running parallel to what Molly Johnson... Henry Lawson, didn't give her a name. When I sat down to write that, we all know it started out as the play. And I had an opportunity to sit down and be part of the Balnaves Fellowship. And when I sat down to write that, I wrote it in seven days. I call it my spew. I just let it all go. But I found that little book and I sat in beside my computer and I said, I'm not going to read it. I'm going to try to remember what my mother told me. And away I went. And it wasn't until after I got that first wave of writing out that I went outside and I reread it. And I come back into my partner, Bain Stewart, Noonuccal-Ngugi man from Stradbroke Island. And I said, "Darl', he doesn't give Drover's wife a name." And I said, "But I'm going to." And then me and him sat down and looked at how Henry Lawson portrayed women. No names. They were somebodies.

And then also at the time of making this film in 2019, when those big fires come through the Snowy Mountains, we were there. We just got out a week after. And we had two fires coming at us from where I was shooting on that plateau where Molly's hut was. And someone made reference in the local paper that women in 2019, on those properties, were doing a Molly Johnson. They were trying to make a decision, whether they're going to stand and fight and protect their property, or take their children and go while their men were out fighting at these properties. So it really resonated on a lot of levels with many people, for many reasons, which I think is what you want your story to do. To be able to reach an audience that each one finds their own power within it.

BA: We've got a few Mazas in the audience here too. Rachael Maza. And we were talking earlier, before we started off, wondering about the stage play. How much does it differ from the film script?

LP: In the play, two act structure, although I don't like intervals, but there is the two act structure. And so in the scene in the movie where aunties, there're getting dressed and ready to go to get them kids, in the play that happens and then it starts to snow on the stage. And then Molly Johnson says to Danny, "When you're old enough, I'm going to introduce you to Robert Parsons and John MaPharlen." And then they take a breath and they step and it goes to black. So I left my audience – I deliberately do that with my writin – I leave my audience wanting more. And when it goes to black, you heard all the audience go, "No, no, it's not finished. It can't be." And I was, "Yes. Got yous!”

So in the film, as you see, four act structure and we go to Everton, so you don't go to Everton in the play, everyone comes to Molly. There's a peddler. There's a trooper. The trooper comes. There's a swagman. So all the danger, like the bullock, comes to her in the play on that property. And Everton is spoken about. You only see one child, because they've already gone to Miss Shirley's while she's preparing to give birth.

The other thing is the Clintoffs don't exist in the play. What I did was in my writing was I wanted to go, how do I bring my white audiences into this film. So that they come and see it. And buy the tickets. And I said, I'll introduce Louise Clintoff and Nate Clintoff. Now Louisa is a nod to Henry Lawson's mother Louise Lawson. She was a proprietor of a newspaper. She was the first woman, I think in Australia to publish. And it was called The Dawn.

And she did talk about battered wives. She talked about husband's and their drinking. There's another flash word that she used, and I can't remember it at the moment. But she actually touched on all those issues. The suffragette movement in Australia was happening in Adelaide, and she was trying to drum up interest and a movement in New South Wales. So it's a nod to her. And I guess also a nod to non-Indigenous family members, aunties and uncles that are in our family that were supportive of my career. Friends. They're not perfect, and that shows where we are today, but they're going to buy my tickets, they're going to put bums on seats and I just wanted them.

And I do that because when I get them in, they get lifted left, right and center with left hooks, right hooks of emotion. I don't let them off the hook. But you're in there and hopefully they're engaging with the story intellectually and emotionally, and they stay through to the end. And I want the film to create conversation around any issue that they see right to comment on.

There's also an element in there of, all your mob would've seen, is our dreaming structure. A Professor Pauline Clague brought to my... Well, she articulated it. I knew I was subconsciously or consciously doing it, because one of the things was that I wanted to use our interpretation of dreaming stories, where you handed down stories. And the bullock, the simple story of a bullock, is something that was experienced. Someone witnessed it, someone embellished it and gave it to someone else. They embellished it and retold it. And then you come back to Danny telling his children.

We've seen Dreamtime stories being created up on film, like Ten Canoes, for example. And I have to go back and watch it, but I'm pretty sure I can say that it's not on that structure. It's told in a pure film structure, three act structure. Just from a blackfella's perspective, after that first frame of Molly in the wagon, that next frame, where you go in that mist... That's cultural. That was a warning for mob. The Ngarigo mob and the Walgalu to come down out of the mountains. Because winter was coming. And Danny says that. "The first mist has rosen, what are you doing here, Yadaka?"

Molly's feet on the snow where she's walking to her death is probably the most she's been alive. She's back to her roots. She's touching the earth. She's been stimulated by the ice going to her death, but it's her most... Because prior to that, she was a woman under the thumb. The only thing she felt was pain. And she just knew that she had somewhere to go because she was a black woman that had spiritual faith now.

And so there's so many levels that I hope people can go away and have a think about. And that they felt empowered. Because as a storyteller, I've always written two films or plays. Where mob will get one story, the Migaloo fellas will get another story. If they get this, then that's a bonus. But as I wanted the mob to feel empowered… the stolen generations, the domestic violence, but also the hope and what family brings. And as storytellers, that's what we have now. And that's what we've got to be able to articulate to the world.

BA: It's beautifully researched. You talk about that cultural stuff. And then even there's a part in it where you mention Maloga Mission. That's my mob's mission. Cummeragunja and Daniel Matthews, who was the teacher who educated us mob. So, beautifully researched. Tell us, how was that research stuff?

LP: That's this old fella here.

BA: It's all there.

LP: So you know the bit about the circus, where he was given to a South African circus? We're not sure... Given, stolen, went for slave labor. But he ended up on that Fillis circus, 1891. Toured the east coast of Australia from 1891 to 1893. And they left him destitute in Melbourne. He ended up in Pentridge Prison and was almost dead. He was naked. And Father Daniel Matthews was doing the rounds and he shone a candle. I wish I would've known, bro. I would've read that little bit, I don't know where it is in this diary, but... Hang on. Let me just look here quickly. No, that's not it.

BA: But Daniel Matthews took him home?

LP: Daniel Matthews took him back to the Maloga Mission. And he became a house black. He was trusted. And him and Winter, a young girl. And Daniel's wife, Anna and the daughter, Sarah. They taught him to read, write and play the tuba. And he always kept running away. He ran away about five times and taught all their mob [inaudible]. But they trusted him. And then he worked out that if he became a ‘good black’ and did his Christian lessons, because Daniel was going on a pilgrimage to Queensland. So grandfather said, all right, I'll come with you. And I'll be good. But no more, as soon as he got over that border and knew where he was, he took off.

BA: Took off, eh?

LP: Yeah. So he took off, but unfortunately they caught him, put him on Fraser Island and that's where he met my grandfather's mother. And then they went to Yarrabah and then down to Cherbourg. So I love being able to take a little bit of my family's story and make it a strong foundation, because then me as a writer, I know I can bounce off that. Even in the book, I so enjoyed doing the research for Louisa and Nate Clintoff and putting them in Australian factual things that happened back in the day.

I'm working on the TV series and at the moment Danny's going to be there when they name Canberra, because he wants to get into the politics. He's thinking that he can try to push legislation for his mother and battered wives, and also looking at the Indigenous people. Because he knows he spent four years up in the mountain with the mob, and how they were hunted and massacred, and he wanted to make change. So… I failed school, I just got through, I did Grade 12, but I'm making up for it now in my studiousness [laughs].

And looking at history. But I love history, and I love who we are as a people. Yes, it's painful. Yes, it's hard. But it's opening all our eyes. And our younger generation, reminding them where we come from and what privileges they have now, is because of this past and what we are fighting for.

BA: Yeah. I guess it's pretty controversial reclaiming The Drover's Wife, as a black woman. How have people received that? You've done a few festivals. But is it controversial? Is it ruffling feathers?

LP: Not that anyone has said to my face [laughs]. But I think someone said, "Oh, that's not Henry Lawson's..." In somewhere. And well, no, it's not. That's the point. Look, if I put my producers hat on for a minute, it was something, when I sat down, I said, I know that I'm going to get an audience with this story. From 16-year-olds, because they're retelling the Henry Lawson story and Banjo Paterson's poems in school, and I know that I've got an audience from 16-year-olds to 80-year-olds that can get to the theater thinking that they might be coming to get the original interpretation of Henry Lawson, [Indigenous phrase, inaudible], and get a nice surprise I hope.

And one of the things that was really nice that I did hear at the play, there were two elderly women that were there, white ones, they had their walking frames and the artistic director was walking behind them as they were leaving. And one of them turned around and said, "Well, that is our history."

BA: Oh, beautiful.

LP: So that was nice. And as I said, I want to bring about understanding. Lawson didn't have that knowledge to write from a black perspective, and doing the stereotypical thing, how they saw Indigenous mob, First Nations mob in those times. And I've just righted that wrong of his and gave them a voice and put them in power.

There's going to be lovers. There's going to be haters. I can't have that on my mind when I'm doing this stuff. You've just got to hope that you've got a story. I've looked at balance, but first and foremost, I'm a truth teller from my mob. That's all I know growing up, and that's what I want to tell my stories for, and giving back that power. It's important. I can't please everyone... And I can't wait to have that debate maybe.

BA: It could ruffle a few feathers once it's released. It's released in a month's time, isn't it? In Australia.

LP: Yeah. No spoilers, mob. May 5th.

BA: I might just open up the floor and ask anyone here if they've got any questions for Leah.

[Rachel Maza asks a question, and Bryan Andy relays to Leah Purcell]

“Rachael Maza here, I just cannot work out how you direct yourself. You could have got someone else to direct it, but you directed it, you wrote it and you're in it. How was that experience?”

LP: Look, I loved it. I think having 30 years now in the industry, I like to challenge myself. So I challenged myself in the writing of it, the research of it. Acting roles can only do so much, coming from other people that aren't Indigenous. And I've always written myself in my own lead roles to tell my stories, from my personal perspective.

I was ready as a director, I had directed myself in a couple of one person shows, one woman shows. Dr. Ruby Langford Ginibi, Auntie Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town. Myself and Eamon Flack from Belvoir did an adaptation of their book. And I played her. Two hour monologue, Rach, anyone with a Guinness Book of Records or what?

BA: She reckons, “I know”.

LP: So having that experience of directing myself and going crazy in that process for theater, that's a lot weirder and a lot harder than what it is in film. Because of course you do turn it on, you turn it off, and you go look at the monitor. And I can assess stuff and build and grow. But when you're on in theater, it's a little bit different, because other than getting someone else to critique your work, you've just got to go on instinct.

It's not for everyone. It was bloomin’ hard to have all those hats. But I made sure that I had all the people in my heads of department, from my DOP; 20 years, we've worked together. First AD; 10 years in TV. My script supervisor continuity person; 10 years. And she was there for my first, in TV world. My editor; 20 years, she edited my first short film, Rachael, Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun, wasn't it?

BA: “Yes, that's right”.

LP: So I made sure that my heads of department were around me and we had a good strong team. Some of the team from the play, like Tess Schofield who did the costumes, came across. Because I knew that was one less story, or one less yarn, one less meeting, where I had to sit down. Because I knew they could relay those messages.

And then also keeping it open to my actors. I was very honest with them. I said, I wrote this, I know your lines. I'm going to direct you. I'm in your face and I'm going to be there as your lead. So if you don't want to do this, you don't have to, but please do. But I said, it's an opportunity for you to [inaudible]. And I hope that you take that challenge. And I also said to them, if there was ever a close up where you actually got sick of me being in your face, and you'd like me to step away… And what I did have was like a body double, just for the acting, so that when I needed to block a scene, she knew the scene. She knew the lines. So she could walk it. So it was like playing chess. I could move her around… I'll tell you a quick yarn. On the first day now, I was moving her around, sister there, and I'm looking, setting up that first shot. And it was with Rob and Malachi when they were sawing the tree. And they're sitting there having their little yarn and Molly comes. And then I'm looking their deadly way at the thing. And I'm all dressed up and everything. Then I go, "All right, great. Let's shoot it." And everyone went quiet and they all looked at me and I went, "What?" They said, "You're going to be in it?" And I went, "Oh yeah." [ crowd laughs] So I did have a moment. I did have a senior's moment. There was only one, there was only one.

But that's the kind of person I am. I like to set challenges. Mate, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Those kids were amazing. The animals behaved. I prayed to the ancestors. I do want to acknowledge the Elders of the Ngarigo that I spoke to and got permission to be there. Paul House was from the Ngambri-Walgalu side where we touched, where Paul did a lot with me on the play.

Who was them old girls? I wrote their names in this so I wouldn't forget, of course… Auntie Iris Smith, Auntie Doris Payton, and Elder Auntie Rachel Mullet for the language and permission to be on Country to film. And what was beautiful is that we also worked together on Jindabyne back in the day, that those aunties reminded me. So it was a beautiful circle to come back and show appreciation. They couldn't be there all the time, but they gave me permission to acknowledge Country. And I just prayed to them Elders. I asked them to send a prayer out and to bless me with what the ancestors wanted me to tell. They sent us big winds. They sent us rain. They sent us snow…

BA: And you needed to capture that, yeah?

LP: Yeah. Well, that mist. The time lapse guy, Murray Fredericks. He's not just a guy. He's actually a bit of a legend, what he does with time lapse. But he was out and he text me and he said, Leah, I don't know who you pray to, he said, but there's mist dancing in this valley.

He goes, normally it'll rise, and that wind will come. He said, it's been here for three hours and it just moved around. Then you see with that hill, and then it clears away to that blue. And he said, “I've never experienced that in 25 years or 30 years that he's been behind a camera.”

BA: You see, it was meant to be.

LP: Yeah. Meant to be. That rain with all them kids at the end where they was sitting quiet. I had this big dream of them doing the corroboree with their father, that bullock dance, but no more, that rain came. We only had one... No change of clothes. So I said, no worries. We'll sit them on that verandah. And it was beautiful. And if I let them run around, I'd probably still be trying to shoot that scene. So you've just got to go with it.

And same with that wind. Molly going to the tree at the end there. There was supposed to be no wind. That big wind came up, a hundred mile per hour wind. If you went within a foot of someone, you could not hear them. And they went, "Leah, what are we going to do?" I said, "Shoot this, it looks 80 million dollars." It's like I've got all these wind machines. I said, if the ancestors are sending it to me, I'm going to take it, and grab it.

BA: Anyone else want to ask a question or a comment about the film? Shareena, Shareena Clanton.

LP: Yeah. I can hear a big laugh.

BA: The question. I don't think you could hear that, but you're dealing with history and dealing with trauma. Scenes of rape. Lots of trauma there. The hanging. How did you hold that space, and with it yourself and others, when you are shooting the film?

LP: Look, it's hard. It's not easy. But I think sometimes it's more for the non-Indigenous audience to go, this happened. This happened. And it's acknowledging what our ancestors had went through, to remind people of the hardship. And that for me, anyway, I can only speak on for me personally, that I'm in a good position in life to make something of myself so that their pain and suffering and the trauma that they experience is... What's, the word? Is not forgotten. I'm paying respects to that. And to make change for the future.

I'm a little bit hardened to it. I guess the domestic violence comes from me personally experiencing that when I was far too young to be dealing with that, but in a six year relationship from the age of 14 to 19. My friends are witnessing their situations. And we've got to put it in front of people so we can have these conversations and make sure that it doesn't happen again.

And if anyone please is feeling the trauma, please reach out to someone, please call Lifeline, please speak to someone before you leave. But I hope that you find strength, if you are a survivor of police brutality, domestic violence, racism, that people receive on a daily basis because of the color of their skin. But I think it's important that truth be told and shown on such a wide a scale as what we got. With what a film gives.

BA: Well it's a beautiful film and on behalf of all of us here tonight, I just want to say thank you for sharing such an amazing story. We're all behind it, and in a month's time, we're going to get out there and make sure that people talk it up and go and check out the film. Because it's a great reflection of our history, who we are, what we've been through. And I just want to say thank you for your time tonight, Leah.

LP: No worries. Thank you. And there's strength in who we are. There's strength in who we are. There's hope out there, and there's strength in who we are. Thanks everybody.

BA: Thank you.

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