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We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

Celebrating Indigenous Languages at the Festival

In 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the Sydney Film Festival was proud to celebrate the essential role that languages play in people's daily lives, and in shaping and preserving culture.

Indigenous languages from Alyawarre to Niuean to Tamasheq featured in films in the 2019 Festival. We invite you to take the time to reflect on what language truly means and enjoy these examples of linguistic diversity.

In My Blood it Runs
A rare insight into the world of 10-year old Dujuan, an Arrernte/Garrwa boy living in Alice Springs who is a child-healer, speaks three languages yet is ‘failing’ in school. In English and Arrernte with English subtitles.

The Miracle of the Little Prince
The nature of language and culture, in particular the world’s disappearing indigenous languages, is explored through Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s classic book, The Little Prince, in this captivating documentary. In French, Tamazight, Nawat, Sámi and Tibetan with English subtitles.

The Nightingale
Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) returns with a searing revenge drama about a young convict woman in Van Diemen’s Land, 1825. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Venice 2018. In English, Palawa Kani and Gaelic with English subtitles.

Ritesh Bhatra’s (The Lunchbox, SFF 2014) whimsical love story about a Mumbai street photographer who convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée. In Hindi, English and Gujarati with English subtitles.

Winner of IDFA’s prestigious Best Feature Length Documentary prize, Anand Patwardhan’s latest is an epic exploration of the battle between faith and reason in today’s India. In Hindi, Marathi, English, Gujarati, Telugu and Kannada with English subtitles.

She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved
A celebration of the life and work of the trailblazing Alfreda Glynn, a history-maker, mother, and a central figure in Indigenous filmmaking from the heart of the country. In English and Alyawarre with English subtitles

The Sweet Requiem
The impressive second narrative feature by Dharamshala-based doco team Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam (Dreaming Lhasa) is set among Tibetan exiles in Delhi. The film won the NETPAC Award at the Kolkata Film Festival. In Tibetan with English subtitles.

Fabulously rich storytelling from the South Pacific: the imaginary figure Vai is every woman of every age. A beautifully crafted portmanteau feature by nine women filmmakers in seven indigenous languages (Fijian, Tongan, Samoan, Māori, Roviana, Cook Island Māori and Niuean).

Short films:
Hinekura (Māori)
Broken Line North (Lao)
Take (Māori)
The Gravedigger of Kapu (Māori)

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