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Orana Arts Black Screen Film Festival

Short film festival tours the Orana region with Aboriginal stories

Orana Arts will complete a touring Black Screen short film festival with the support of the National Film and Sound Archive tonight, with a final screening in Mudgee.

The 6 films that that were featured were selected specifically to suit a family audience and all include actors, writers and/or directors who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Aboriginal Arts Development Officer for Orana Arts, Melissa Ryan, took advantage of the opportunity to travel around the region with the festival.

“Taking this short film festival around our region was a way for me to introduce myself in this new role as Aboriginal Arts Development Officer for Orana Arts and meet with the community in a relaxed setting,” she says.

“So far, I have been to 6 communities Narromine, Baradine, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Coonabarabran and Kandos with the project, and Mudgee tonight.”

“In each community I have had a very positive response. I have also had three different people in three different communities seek more information about screening Black Screen again in their community in the future.”

The quality of the shorts is impressive and Melissa has noticed how seeing the films have prompted community members to share their own experiences. “One gentleman I spoke to at a screening had attended the 1968 Aboriginal Ball in Sydney [this event is the subject of one of the films shown, Dancing with the Prime Minister] and he was able tell us all about his experience,” she reports.  “It has also brought some unexpected benefits.”

Melissa worked with Andrea Briggs from Black Screen to bring the project together, who she says has been an amazing help.

“The whole process of applying for these films and screening them in our community has been very easy. I would recommend people take a look at the National Film and Sound Archive Black Screen website and consider putting together a festival of their own.”



Ralph (2009, G)

Director: Deborah Mailman, Australia, 10mins
Producer: Jessie Mangum, Writ: Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair


Actor Deborah Mailman made her directorial debut with Ralph, a story about a young girl Madeline who is obsessed with Karate Kid Ralph Macchio. Outcast from her school mates, she finds comfort in writing to Ralph and hopes that he will escort her to her school dance. But it takes more than just dreaming to survive, it takes a friend.

Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun (2009, PG)

  • 11 minutes
  • Director: Leah Purcell, Australia,
  • Producer: Bain Stewart, Lisa Duff
  • Writer: Angelina Hurley


Aunty Maggie and Uncle Peter struggle to feed their three nephews. The arrival of some chickens provides a new food source… eggs! When the new rooster becomes more of a headache and nearly dies, Aunty Maggie’s quick thinking shocks the family and makes her famous.

Captain of the Team (2010, G)

  • 6 minutes
  • Director: Kris Kerehona, Australia
  • Producer: Kris Kerehona
  • Writer: Kris Kerehona


On the 20th of January 2010, Brendan Short created a facebook fan page, calling for renewed unity and a further step toward reconciliation. His concept for a new Australian flag would gain thousands of fans. Captain of the Team is the documented story of Brendan’s attempt to bring unity to a divided Australia.

Dancing with the Prime Minister (2010, G)

  • 26mins
  • Director: Lara Cole, Australia,
    Producer: Anne Delaney
  • Writer: Lara Cole, Anna Cole


Twenty Five Aboriginal debutantes, the Prime Minister, and a glamorous night in 1968 that turned the heads of a nation at a pivotal time in Australia’s race relations.

Dancing with the Prime Minister documents this remarkable night and the place it holds in Australian history. Through the experiences and lives of those who were there – the Indigenous debutantes – the film brings to the screen their extraordinary story, in an era when Australians were optimistic about race relations, but still living with the stain of the Stolen Generations policy

Wadu Matyidi (2010, G)

  • 9mins
  • Director: Luke Jurevicius, Arthur Moody, Australia
  • Producer: Sonja Vivienne, Marjo Stroud


In this short animated film we’re taken back to pre-contact times (early 1800s) when Adnyamathanha children of the Flinders Ranges were inspired, schooled and entertained by their interactions with ‘country’. The characters in the story are three adventurous Adnyamathanha kids who set out for a day of exploration near their camp. The children play traditional games and spook one another with tales of the ancient creatures of their country. They see unusual tracks that set their hearts and imaginations racing. Then, unexpectedly they make a discovery that changes their lives forever.

Wadu Matyidi – Behind the Scenes (2010, G)

  • 30mins
  • Incite Stories/Farda Films, Australia,
  • Producer: Sonja Vivienne, Marjo Stroud


Behind the Scenes presents the background story of the Wadu Matyidi animated film project. In a fast-paced light-hearted style we learn how a diverse group of fascinating individuals conceived and developed this exceptional high-tech journey into ancient knowledge.