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Artistic Director, Tony Briggs chats about the Birrarangga Film Festival

Tony Briggs is a Yorta Yorta/Wurundjeri Stage and Screen Creative - Actor, Writer, Director and Producer - based in Melbourne, Victoria. As the creator and writer of the hit feature film The Sapphires, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, Tony received two AWGIE awards whilst the film won 11 of 12 categories at AACTA 2013. Tony Joins Gman on 3KND Big Brekkie to yarn about the Birrarangga Film Festival, a celebration of Indigenous films from across the globe and what's happening within the industry.

Birrarangga Film Festival celebrates global Indigenous films that explore the curatorial themes of ‘strength, resilience and the environment’. First Nations relationships to the image as a form of expression, particularly in Australia, is connected to thousands of years of cultural practices. This festival honours that history and acknowledges the contemporary currency of the moving image, of film, as an expression of the human experience in relation to our natural surroundings. Curated by Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta screen creative and actor Tony Briggs (creator & writer of The Sapphires), the Festival will present films from Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Chile, Russia, Greenland and Peru.

BIRRARANGGA is the Woiwurrung word for ‘river location’. Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta Elder, Aunty Zeta Thomson has given her blessing to use this name for the festival. Rivers connect Indigenous people across the world; they have fluidity, movement and life, just as films do. BFF creates a platform for Indigenous storytelling, encouraging emerging leaders in the screen industry and creating visibility for Indigenous filmmakers. including NZ Shorts, curated by Rotorua Indigenous Film Festival’s Richard and Piripi Curtis, US Shorts, curated by Adam Piron, Associate Director of Sundance Institute's Indigenous Program and Kyndoo Wilam, a beautiful selection of short films for kids, specially selected by Tony Briggs.

The festival will come to a close on Monday March 14 with the inspiring Russian film The Sun Above Me Never Sets. On an isolated island in the Arctic, a young man Altan is asked by an old man Baybal, to bury him beside his wife’s grave. Altan decides to help him, to make him want to live yet another day. Birrarangga Film Festival is produced by Typecast Entertainment with principal partner Film Victoria, and support from Creative Victoria and ACMI. Tony wrote The Sapphires Stage Play, having sell-out seasons at the MTC and Belvoir, winning two Helpmann Awards. Tony is co-originator, executive producer and writer of the eight-part TV series The Warriors (2016). As an actor of over 20 years he holds many credits to his name including feature roles in The Slap (2010), Broken Shore (2013), Cleverman (2015), Seven Types of Ambiguity (2017) and Rake (2018).

Tony is the Artistic Director of Birrarangga Film Festival and creator of Blak Masterclasses and Labs for emerging Indigenous screen practitioners. He is currently co-writing the feature film, The White Girl, an adaptation of award-winning novel by Tony Birch, while also developing his high-end TV series Eden and several other projects. Tony directed the short film, Elders premiering at Berlinale, imagineNATIVE, Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and many Festivals around the world.

For further details on Birrarangga Film Festival’s full program, including synopses, screening dates, times and ticketing information, please visit:


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