Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin’s ‘Firestarter’ wins Rose d’Or Award

'Firestarter - The Story of Bangarra'. (Photo credit: Daniel Boud)

Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin’s Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra has been named best arts program at this year’s Rose d’Or Awards, continuing a stellar run for the pair.

The In Films documentary, which tells the origin story of the renowned Bangarra Dance Company through the eyes of its artistic director Stephen Page and other members, beat out competition from the Netherlands, Germany, and the US to take the prize.

Firestarter won the AACTA Award for Best Documentary in 2020, as well as Adelaide Film Festival’s documentary competition and inaugural Change Award. It released theatrically through Icon, before airing on the ABC, and is distributed internationally by ABC Commercial.

In Films producer Ivan O’Mahoney said he was “absolutely delighted” with the latest accolade.

“The stated mission of Bangarra Dance Theatre is to create inspiring theatrical experiences that promote and help raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,” he said.

“Bangarra has been at the forefront of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia for over 30 years and are a vital part in our cultural landscape, and this is where the value in winning the Rose d’Or lies for us.

“The kudos that comes with an award like this will hopefully help us and allow us to spread Bangarra’s word even further and wider around the world.”

ABC head of factual and culture Jennifer Collins congratulated everyone involved in the documentary for being part of “such an important story about First Nations culture and creativity”.

Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra was one of five Australian nominees across four categories for the 60th annual Rose d’Ors, joining Northern Pictures’ Strong Female Lead and Love on the Spectrum, and the ABC’s You Can’t Ask That and Australia Talks.

Australian titles also triumphed in two categories last year, with Epic Films’ First Day winning the Children and Youth Award, while Ludo Studio’s Content took out Best Social Media and Video Series.

The winners of the 2021 Rose d’Or Awards were announced in a virtual ceremony hosted by TV and radio personality Sue Perkins.