New Wave Rising: The Stunning Success of Indigenous Australian Film and Television


‘We’re telling our own stories now. That’s the turning point. We’ve got that creative control now. And when you’ve got that creative control, you can really push boundaries.’ – Deborah Mailman

‘This night is our night as Indigenous Australians…We’ve controlled our stories, and through that, people have realised it’s not [just] an Indigenous story. It’s a story. You can identify with it. Anyone in this room can identify with it.’ – Shari Sebbens

When Deborah Mailman and Shari Sebbens, stars of the hit 2012 Australian film The Sapphires, made the statements above they were speaking breathlessly to the media after the 2nd Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA). Standing alongside golden-voiced songbird, Jessica Mauboy, Mailman and Sebbens were glowing with fierce pride, not just for The Sapphires’ accomplishments – eleven AACTA Awards in total, along with critical success, standout local box office of A$15 million, and a global distribution deal with the Weinstein Company – but also for the nomination of ABC telemovie Mabo and the two awards won by acclaimed Indigenous ABC TV drama series, Redfern Now, which happened to be the first Australian drama series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians, and was watched by more than 700, 000 viewers.


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