‘In My Blood It Runs’ to make world premiere at Hot Docs

'In My Blood It Runs'. (Photo: Maya Newell)

Dujuan Hoosan and his mother in ‘In My Blood It Runs’. (Photo: Maya Newell)

Director Maya Newell’s feature documentary In My Blood It Runs will have its world premiere in competition at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

In My Blood It Runs (formerly Kids) is one of 12 films in Hot Doc’s competitive International Spectrum program, the others being: Amussu; Bhudda in Africa; Daymohk; For Sama; The Guardian of Memory; Hope Frozen; Life is a Belief; Marek Edelman… and There Was Love in the Ghetto; On the Inside of a Military Dictatorship and The Valley.

Other Aussie projects in the festival include Richard Lowenstein’s feature doc Mystify: Michael Hutchence, which will screen as part of the special presentation section; shorts Happy Android from Jaina Kalifa, Handout from Vedrana Music, and Dusty Devil from Poppy Walker; and Lynette Wallworth’s VR project Awavena.

This year’s Hot Docs features a line-up of 252 documentary projects, 54 per cent of which are from female directors. It will open with First Nations/Cree filmmaker Tasha Hubbard’s Nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up.

In My Blood It Runs, a Closer Productions film made in collaboration with Arrernte & Garrwa families and communities in the Northern Territory, follows the story of 10 year old Dujuan Hoosan – a child-healer and good hunter who speaks three languages. He shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him, showing spark and intelligence, yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police. As he travels perilously close to incarceration, his family fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside the western education system, lest he becomes another statistic.

The film marks Newell’s follow up to 2016 doc Gayby Baby, which explored the stories of children of same sex parents, and sparked a nationwide debate about marriage and adoption equality after it was banned in NSW schools.

“It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to learn from Dujuan over these years. I am inspired by Dujuan’s courage to share his story. He is growing up to be a strong young man and I we are thrilled that his truth telling will begin as such a prestigious international Film Festival,” said Newell.

Hoosan, who is now 12, said: “I’m a bit nervous because it’s going to be my first time going overseas and on a plane. But I am really excited to share my story with the world.”

Newell directed and shot the film together with Hoosan, Carol Turner, Megan Hoosan, James Mawson, Margaret Anderson and Jimmy Mawson, and the producers are Sophie Hyde, Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson, Larrissa Behrendt and Newell, with executive producer Felicity Hayes, a Senior Traditional Owner of Alice Springs. Advisors to the project include Margaret Kemarre Turner, Agnes Abbott, William Tilmouth, Amelia Turner and Jane Vadiveloo.

In My Blood It Runs was developed via GoodPitch Australia, and has received funding from GoodPitch Australia, Documentary Australia Foundation, Screen Australia, Screen Territory and the South Australian Film Corporation.

Hot Docs runs April 25 – May 5 in Toronto, Canada.