Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife)

The inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival, a celebration of Indigenous filmmakers from around the world, will be staged at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image from April 26 – 29.

Curated by writer/actor Tony Briggs (The Warriors, The Sapphires), the event will focus on films that explore the curatorial themes of ‘humanity through family and culture’ as well as honouring the history of the First Peoples’ cultural practices.

The program will feature more than 40 new features and short films, opening with the Australian premiere of the Canadian film Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife), the first film made by the Haida Gwaii community in their own language.

Co-directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown, it recounts the story of the Gagiixiid or wildman set in the mid-nineteenth century, shot with community actors and many of the crew drawn from local communities.

Respected elder Aunty Zeta Briggs Thomson has given her blessing for the festival to use the name ‘BIRRARANGGA’, the Woiwurrung word for ‘river location’.

The event aims to nurture leadership and provide visibility to global Indigenous filmmakers while facilitating opportunities to forge new international relationships between screen practitioners.

Artistic director Briggs says: “In this year, the International year of Indigenous Languages, it is an honour for us to bring to Victoria the inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival.

“We are proud to introduce a film festival that unites the stories of Indigenous people from around the globe, highlighting their languages, beauty and the unification of people through the humanity of their cultures. A festival that we hope will contribute to, enlighten, fulfill and enrich our community.”

Film Victoria CEO Caroline Pitcher said: “Film Victoria is proud to invest in the BIRRARANGGA Film Festival – an important and exciting new initiative for sharing stories, voices and perspectives from Australia’s First Nations people and Indigenous people from around the world.

“Through the power of film, and by hearing first-hand from pre-eminent First Nations’ leaders and filmmakers at the festival, we look forward to learning from elders, empowering the next generation of Indigenous filmmakers and connecting our audiences with cultures spanning thousands of years.”

The festival is being produced by Typecast Entertainment in partnership with Film Victoria, Creative Victoria and ACMI. The full program will be announced soon.

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