Birrarangga Film Festival returns to Melbourne

'The Sun Above Me Never Sets' (Russia)

The Birrarangga Film Festival will return to Melbourne next month, featuring a line-up of more than 70 narrative features, documentaries, and short films.

Designed to celebrate Indigenous projects from around the world, this year’s festival will screen works from Canada, New Zealand, US, Chile, Greenland, Peru, Russia, Finland, Norway, Solomon Islands and Australia. 

The inaugural Birrarangga Film Festival took place two years ago in Melbourne after being developed through the creative partnership of Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta creative Tony Briggs (The Sapphires) and producer Damienne Pradier of Typecast Entertainment.

For Briggs, who is the festival’s artistic director, the second iteration of the event takes place against a markedly different backdrop than its predecessor.

“So much in the world has changed since our inaugural Birrarangga Film Festival two years ago, including the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, #MeToo and the ongoing global pandemic,” he says.

“We hope the recurring themes of strength and resilience across the festival program will resonate with audiences.

“What was fantastic to see at our inaugural festival, was the genuine fascination from audiences in learning about different Indigenous cultures from around the world.

“We’re excited to bring these unique stories and global perspectives to Melbourne audiences.”

Birrarangga Film Festival’s Opening Night film will be the AACTA award-winning Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra, screening on Thursday, March 11.

Directed by Wayne Blair (The SapphiresRedfern Now) and Nel Minchin (Matilda & MeMaking Muriel), the film charts Bangarra Dance Theatre’s birth and spectacular growth.

In addition to screenings, the Birrarangga Film Festival will host several panel sessions, including a discussion between actor/writer/producer/director and Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman Leah Purcell and producer and Ngugi-Goenpul-Noonuccal Murri Man Bain Stewart.

The pair will discuss the feature film The Drover’s Wife in a candid session moderated by ABC Radio National’s Daniel Browning.   

Also appearing on a panel is The White Girl author Tony Birch, writer/director and Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman Tracey Rigney, and co-writer and co-producer Briggs, who will talk about the development of The White Girl from best-selling novel to feature film.

The Birrarangga Film Festival will be held from March 11-14. Click here for more information about the program.