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From U-Matic to YouTube: A national symposium celebrating three decades of Australian Indigenous community film and video

Thirty years ago the Indigenous Tribal Council for Borroloola (Gulf of Carpentaria, NT) invited independent filmmakers Alessandro Cavandini and Carolyn Strachan to assist them to make a film about their ongoing struggle in one of the country’s first and now most protracted Land Rights cases. The result was the internationally acclaimed Two Laws (1981), recently updated and released on DVD. What is less well known is that since then the Indigenous community in Borroloola has continued to make remarkable films with a range of collaborators, from Aeroplance Dance (Trevor Graham, 1994) to the recent innovative Yanyuwa Animated Songlines Project (2010), created by Monash University’s Associate Professor John Bradley and senior Yanyuwa men and women as a tool for cross-generational communication.

This symposium celebrates this important chapter in the Australian cinema by bringing filmmakers and community members involved in this particular history together in Melbourne to exchange experience and knowledge with local Victorian Indigenous community filmmakers involved in The Digital Storytelling Project at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) along with national and international film scholars, curators, anthropologists, policy makers and the general public.

Over two days we will screen a wide range of films from Borroloola and Victorian communities as we reflect on the rich history of Indigenous community film and video production in Australia. Invited speakers will address key concepts and issues such as: collective-representation and expression; models of collaboration and creative partnerships; Indigenous cultural rights and intellectual property; participation and community access; cross-generational communication; community history and social memory; film and video archives and community consultation. The symposium also provides a unique opportunity for shared consideration of future directions in Indigenous community filmmaking in digital culture.


8-9 June 2010


Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia


Invited speakers

Conference dinner

Wednesday 9 June 2010
Venue: Tjanabi – All Australian Restaurant (Federation Square)

Screening features


From U-Matic to YouTube enquiries