A still from My Survival as an Aboriginal' (1979) - Essie Coffey holding eucalypt leaves and teaching students
Essie Coffey

ACMI presents

Heal Country, heal our nation

My Survival As An Aboriginal (1979)

Essie Coffey | Australia | 1979 | PG

Joining our inaugural First Nations Film Club are three young documentary filmmakers to discuss the 2021 NAIDOC theme 'Heal Country'.

Aunty Essie Coffey’s iconic 1979 documentary My Survival as an Aboriginal will form the base of a conversation between our host Bryan Andy and guests Tarneen Onus-Williams, Paul Gorrie, and Kimberley Benjamin as they yarn about their own budding documentary practises and how Country holds an important place in telling First Peoples Stories.

My Survival as an Aboriginal (1979) screens courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive’s digital restoration program – NFSA Restores – reviving our cinema icons.

Format: Digital
Language: English
Source: National Film & Sound Archive
Duration: 120 mins


Tue 6 Jul 2021

6pm (AEST)



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Where & How

Gandel Digital Future Lab 1, Level 1
ACMI, Fed Square

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If you can't make it to ACMI, you can join the session via Zoom. When you register to attend, a meeting link will be sent to you in your confirmation email.

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About our guests

Tarneen Onus Williams

Tarneen Onus Williams is a proud Gunditjmara, Bindal, Yorta Yorta person and Torres Strait Islander from Mer and Erub islands. Tarneen is living on the unceded land of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung peoples.

Tarneen is a community organiser for Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance working on Invasion Day, Black Deaths in Custody and Stop the Forced Closures of Aboriginal Communities in WA. They are a filmmaker and writer and have been published in IndigenousX, The Saturday Paper, NITV and RightNow. Tarneen’s film Young Mob Questioning Treaty has been screened internationally at ImagineNATIVE in Toronto and Tampere Film Festival in Finland. Tarneen’s day job is with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are victims/survivors and perpetrators of family violence.

Tarneen Onus Williams

Paul Gorrie

Paul Gorrie is a Gunai/Kurnai & Yorta man based on Wurundjeri Country of the Kulin Nations.

He wears many hats, most know him for drumming for DRMNGNOW and Kee'ahn but also as a DJ Paul Gorrie with mixes done with Bizarro, Triple J – Mix Up, Butter Sessions and Apple Music. He is also part of a BLK DUO Bad Kind of Good throwing a new party in Naarm called BLK ICE which centres Black DJs and experimental performers and artists, while also programming at Rising Festival in the Music Program team. Paul also is an emerging filmmaker and worked on a documentary called Young Mob Questioning Treaty on SBS/NITV that premiered at Imagine Native film festival in Toronto, Canada in 2019.

Paul Gorrie

Kimberley Benjamin

Currently based in Naarm/Melbourne, Kimberley Benjamin is a proud Yawuru, Bardi and Kija woman from Rubibi/Broome, WA.

As a filmmaker, Kimberley's drive is to tell stories that are truthful, impactful and celebrate the strength and resilience of First Nations peoples and culture. She has worked as a researcher, writer, director and story producer for both television and documentary film. Having previously worked for many community organisations in Boorloo/Perth, Kimberley’s diverse work and passion for telling stories is informed by her connections and relationships with communities across the Country.

Kimberley Benjamin

About our host

Bryan Andy

Bryan Andy is a Yorta Yorta man from Cummeragunja, NSW. He is a freelance writer, arts advocate and the current convenor of OutBlack – Victoria's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and Queer mob.

Bryan Andy

Join the club

You will need to be a member of the First Nations Film Club to attend this session. By becoming a member of the Club, you'll also get a range of ACMI member benefits.

Learn more

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Everyone participating in an ACMI First Nations Film Club event — including, but not limited to the meets, clubs and talks — is required to agree to the following code of conduct. This includes all attendees, speakers, performers, patrons, and volunteers.

ACMI First Nations Film Club will enforce this code during its events and throughout the year. We expect cooperation from everyone to ensure a safe, diverse, and welcoming environment.

The condensed version

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The less condensed version

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Exception: discussion or images related to sex, pornography, discriminatory language, or similar is welcome if it meets all of the following criteria:

— It is necessary to the topic of discussion and no alternative exists — It is presented in a respectful manner — Attendees are respectfully given ample warning and opportunity to leave beforehand.

This exception specifically does not allow use of gratuitous sexual images as attention-getting devices or unnecessary examples.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behaviour are required to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in any of the aforementioned behaviour, ACMI may take any action they deem appropriate, from warning the offender to immediately expelling the offender with no refund.

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If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact an ACMI First Nations Film Club team member immediately. If you can’t or don’t wish to speak in person, or prefer to talk privately or electronically, reach out via our Contact Us page.

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With thanks