Screen Australia funds four Indigenous documentaries

Prince Albert II with Alick Tipoti (© Monaco Expeditions/Ariel Fuchs).

Screen Australia’s Indigenous department is contributing $745,000 in production funding to four documentary projects including two for NITV and one for the ABC.

Co-funded by Stan, Freshwater Pictures’ Alick and Albert looks at the unlikely friendship between art activist Alick Tipoti and Prince Albert of Monaco.

Commissioned by NITV, Tamarind Tree Pictures and Roar Film’s Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky is billed as a fresh, funny and provocative look at Captain Cook’s arrival from a First Nations’ perspective.

Also for NITV, Kalori Productions and JOTZ Productions’ feature documentary Kindred explores friendship, adoption and belonging through the relationship between filmmakers Gillian Moody and Adrian Russell Wills.

Commissioned by the ABC, Blackfella Films’ Maralinga Tjarutja will chronicle the history of the Maralinga Tjarutja people and the impact the British nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s had on their land and community.

Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia Penny Smallacombe said: “Documentary filmmaking presents an opportunity to re-examine the past and consider historical events from our perspectives.

“We are proud to be supporting four distinctive projects from such a talented group of filmmakers. Alick and Albert and Kindred are documentaries with contemporary issues at their core that will contribute to the national conversation around climate change, belonging and identity.

“The two television projects provide a necessary First Nations’ perspective on both the Cook colonial experience and the plight of the Maralinga Tjarutja people post nuclear testing on their home.”


Alick and Albert: A feature documentary from Freshwater Pictures that explores the intersection of art, science and nature. At an exhibition of Torres Strait art in Monaco in 2016, artist-activist Alick Tipoti invites Prince Albert of Monaco to Badu Island. To his surprise Albert accepts the invitation but it takes some years before he is able to visit Badu with a delegation from the Monaco Oceanographic Museum. Albert stays at the local motel, goes reef diving with Alick, meets with artists and talks with Elders.

The two friends reflect on the similarities of their tiny communities, worlds apart, but interconnected by the ocean and they agree to raise awareness about the global tsunami of plastic pollution and rising sea levels facing the Torres Strait.

The documentary is directed by Douglas Watkin (Ella) and produced by Trish Lake (The Eulogy) and Meredith Garlick (Finke: There & Back). Financed with investment from Screen Queensland and support from Orange Entertainment, Freshwater Pictures, Antidote Films and Stan.

Kindred: A feature documentary from Kalori Productions and JOTZ Productions for NITV that looks at the importance of discovering your place in the world. When filmmakers Gillian Moody and Adrian Russell Wills met making a short film together 21 years ago, little did they know that later they would become close friends relying on each other to navigate the rollercoaster of life. Both are Aboriginal and were adopted out to white families in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and North Shore.

This documentary details their experiences growing up, parted from their culture and in turn, parted from a huge part of their identity. Kindred seeks to excavate family, bloodlines, identity, friendship, and ultimately explores what it means to live in two worlds, black and white.

Wills (Black Divaz) is writing and directing, Moody (Family Rules) is producing and directing and Tom Zubrycki (Fair Game) is also on board as producer.

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky.

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky: A one-hour documentary for NITV from Tamarind Tree Pictures and Roar Film that presents a First Nations’ challenge to the Cook legend.

Steven McGregor (Servant or Slave) will co-write and direct with Danielle MacLean (Carry the Flag) co-writing and producing and Steven Oliver (Black Comedy) co-writing and presenting.

Anna Grieve (The Cult of the Family), Stephen Thomas (Death of Liberty) and Kath Symmons (Death of Liberty) are producing. Financed with support from the Australian National Maritime Museum as part of its Encounters 2020 program, Screen Tasmania and Screen Territory.

Maralinga Tjarutja: A one-hour documentary from Blackfella Films for the ABC that focuses on the Maralinga Tjarutja people who have lived on their lands for over 60,000 years. Written and directed by Larissa Behrendt (After the Apology) this documentary will provide complementary programming from an Indigenous perspective to the forthcoming ABC drama series Operation Buffalo. Maralinga Tjarutja land, located in regional South Australia, was used for the British Nuclear Test Program between 1953 and 1963.

The Maralinga Tjarutja people fought for the clean-up of contamination, for compensation and for the handback in 2009 of the Maralinga Village and Test Sites. They have rebuilt traditional communities into vibrant, creative cultural communities that will ensure Maralinga Tjarutja custodianship of their lands into the future. Financed with support from South Australian Film Corporation.