ablaze 1 2160x1032
ablaze 1 2160x1032
Ablaze (2021) Maslow Entertainment

ACMI in association with AIDC presents

Ablaze + Q&A

Featuring a live Q&A with filmmakers Tiriki Onus and Alec Morgan

Tiriki Onus, Alec Morgan | Australia | 2021 | PG

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Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri opera singer Tiriki Onus uncovers the story behind a silent film made by his grandfather, civil rights activist Bill Onus, thought to be the first Aboriginal filmmaker.

Ablaze is one of the most essential documentaries about Australian culture in recent years. An absolute must see.

The Curb

When filmmaker Alec Morgan came across a black-and-white silent film reel at Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive, he had reason to believe it was made by William ‘Bill’ Onus, the revered, trailblazing activist whose work changed the course of history in Australia. After getting in touch with Bill’s grandson, opera singer Tiriki Onus, the two embarked on a years-long journey to uncover the story behind the film reel.

From just ten minutes of silent film, Tiriki uncovers decades of history about his grandfather, and what life was like for Aboriginal people in the 1940s and throughout the 20th century.

Following a caravan fire in the 1960s, Bill Onus’ entire catalogue of films were thought forever lost. With Ablaze, Tiriki Onus presents a necessary reappraisal of Australia’s history, and cements his grandfather’s status as one of this country’s most important filmmakers.

An exhibit on Bill Onus’ influence on Australian cinema is on display in ACMI’s centrepiece exhibition, The Story of the Moving Image.

Join us at 2pm before the screening for an in-gallery talk on Bill Onus with ACMI First Nations Curator Louana Sainsbury.

Curated by ACMI Film Programs

Presented in association with AIDC 2022

Format: DCP
Language: English
Source: Maslow Entertainment, Umbrella
Courtesy: Maslow Entertainment, Umbrella
Duration: 81 min


81 mins



Themes of racial discrimination


Cinema 2, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square


FREE in-gallery talk

Join us at 2pm before the screening for an in-gallery talk on Bill Onus.

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FREE in-gallery talk

ACMI First Nations Curator Louana Sainsbury will host a complimentary in-gallery talk on Bill Onus in The Story of the Moving Image exhibition at 2pm before the screening. Please meet at the exhibition entrance on the Ground Floor. All welcome, no ticket required.

How to get there
Louana Sainsbury

Bill Onus in The Story of The Moving Image

Learn more

READ: Ablaze: Tiriki Onus resurfaces vital Indigenous history through a film about his grandfather
Paul Dalgarno, University of Melbourne Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, Aug 2021

READ: Q&A with Alec Morgan and Tiriki Onus
MIFF Premiere Fund, Aug 2021

Bill Onus holding his arm to the sky

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