Sydney Film Festival, in partnership with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department (Screen Black), will premier documentary films by two Indigenous directors, Rachel Perkins and Darlene Johnson.

Rachel Perkins, who founded Blackfella Films in the 1990’s, directed Black Panther Woman, the story of Marlene Cummins and her involvement in the the Black Panther movement in the police state of Queensland during the volatile 70’s. It is a euphoric and bitter first-hand account of the Black Panther group’s genesis, inspired by the African American movement.

Rachel, whose previous work includes Bran Nue Day, Mabo and the acclaimed television series, First Australians, will also be a Sydney Film Festival jury member this year.

Darlene Johnson’s The Redfern Story, is a forceful documentary which tells the story of the volatile birth of the first all-Indigenous theatre company, the National Black Theatre, which came into being during the time of the politically hot land rights debate.

It features interviews with Indigenous media pioneer Lester Bostock, writer Gerry Bostock, actor Lillian Crombie, activist-academic Gary Foley, academic Marcia Langton, actors Rachael Maza, Brian Brown and Bindi Williams.

All of the people involved in Redfern’s National Black Theatre went on to become known in the Aboriginal community for their work in the Australian theatre and film industries, including Brian Brown whose performance as a white racist was so convincing he had to be escorted out for his own safety.

The Redfern Story, is a partnership with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, ABC and Vivid.

Screening Times:

Black Panther Woman, Thu 12 Jun 6:15 PM EV9

The Redfern Story, Sun 8 Jun 5:00PM DoQ2, with guests Bindi William (actor) and Gary Foley (activist- academic)