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Tony Briggs Chats about the Birrarangga Film Festival

Tony Briggs is an Australian stage and screen creative - actor, writer, director, and producer - based in Naarm. He is the creator and writer of the hit feature film The Sapphires, adapted from his award-winning stage play The Sapphires.

Through his Naarm based production company, Tony is currently developing the feature film, The White Girl, an adaptation of the award-winning novel by Tony Birch. Tony is the co-creator, executive producer, and writer of the eight-part TV series The Warriors, and, as an actor over many years, he holds various credits to his name. Soon, he will appear in his most recent film role, Force of Nature, opposite Eric Bana. It’s a pleasure to welcome back to 3KND this morning Tony Briggs.

The Birrarangga Film Festival, a celebration of Indigenous films from around the globe, is returning to Naarm, from March 23-28, 2023. This is the third outing for the festival, having previously taken place in 2019 and 2021. The feature film program has been announced today, and audiences can look forward to an inspiring collection of stories from First Nations filmmakers, screening at The Capitol, ACMI, Lido, Classic, Victorian Pride Centre and Federation Square. Tickets will be on sale from February 23, 2023.

Originally conceived by Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta screen creative Tony Briggs (creator and writer of The Sapphires) and produced by Damienne Pradier, the Birrarangga Film Festival is a chance for audiences to engage with stories and ideas from Indigenous storytellers around the world. This year’s festival will feature a diverse collection of feature length narratives, documentaries and short films from New Zealand, Canada, USA, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Mexico, Russia, Hawaii and Australia.

“It has been a privilege to pull together the program for our third Birrarangga Film Festival, it’s a process that I have thoroughly enjoyed” said Artistic Director Tony Briggs. “As usual, there have been many incredible films that have come our way, including several beautiful works that explore LGBTQIA+ themes. I’m excited to share these powerful stories from Indigenous storytellers, with audiences here in Naarm.”

Opening the festival will be Bones of Crows (Canada), from director Marie Clements. Removed from their family home and forced into Canada’s residential school system, Cree musical prodigy Aline and her siblings are plunged into a struggle for survival. Bones of Crows is Aline's journey from child to matriarch, a moving multi-generational epic of resilience, survival and the pursuit of justice.

This special Opening Night event will be held on Thursday March 23 at The Capitol Theatre, RMIT. Tickets on sale February 23rd.

Other highlights in the program include:

A Boy Called Piano (New Zealand): A Boy Called Piano - The Story of Fa’amoana John Luafutu is a feature documentary that tells the remarkable story of Fa’amoana’s time as a state ward in the 1960s and the intergenerational impacts of these experiences.

Whetū Mārama – Bright Star (New Zealand): The story of Sir Hekenukumai Nga Iwi Puhipi, aka Hek Busby, and his significance for Māori in rekindling their wayfinding DNA and for all New Zealanders in reclaiming our place as traditional star voyagers on the world map.

Sweet As (Australia): From director Jub Clerc, Sweet As is an uplifting coming-of-age road movie about unconventional friendships, first crushes and finding who you are on the path less travelled.

Stellar (Canada): A love story from Anishinaabe filmmaker, Darlene Naponse (Falls Around Her). As a meteorite catastrophically changes the planet outside, two lovers find each other in a small bar in Northern Ontario, Canada. Across their bodies and spirits, the star-crossed couple transcends the traumas of one world and find a path to a new one.

Bring Her Home (USA): A feature documentary following three Indigenous women — an artist, an activist, and a politician — as they work to vindicate and honour their relatives who are victims in the growing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. As they face the lasting effects of historical trauma, each woman searches for healing while navigating the oppressive systems that brought about this very crisis.

Rosie (Canada): When Rosie's mother dies she needs somewhere to live. The only relative to be found is Fred (Frédérique) - tough, street-smart, and currently working in a sex shop, though not for long. Her two best friends, Flo and Mo, are drag queens, and when the adult store goes up in flames the colourful foursome must do what they have to, to survive. A quirky family of fringe dwellers is born! This bilingual film is both funny and poignant. At its core, Rosie is a tale of identity, family, love and misfits.

Run Woman Run (Canada): A magical anti-rom com about Beck, a single mother who has lost her passion for life and for her Mohawk language. She lives for donuts in a bathrobe, where her only exercise is the walk from her car to the mailbox. When her health fails, Beck conjures the spirit of a legendary marathon runner who inspires her to run and to be grateful. She honours the earth and her family with every run, leading her back to her calling.

Wildhood (Canada): In this coming-of-age film, Link and his brother Travis flee their abusive father and embark on a journey to find their birth mother. Along the way, Link discovers his sexuality and rediscovers his Mi’kmaw heritage.

An expansive range of short films will once again feature as part of the Birrarangga Film Festival, including curated packages from special guests. Further details on these shorts packages, as well as planned panel discussions will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Closing the festival on Tuesday March 28 is the New Zealand feature Muru, from director Tearepa Kahi. Inspired by actual events, Muru is the story of a local Police Sergeant ‘Taffy’ Tāwharau (Cliff Curtis), who must choose between duty to his badge or his people, when the Government invoke antiterrorism powers to launch an armed raid on Taffy’s remote Urewera community, on a school day. This gripping action drama is not a re-creation, but a response to the 2007 Tūhoe raids. Muru is a Māori concept for 'forgiveness’.

Birrarangga Film Festival is produced with principal partner Creative Victoria, major partner VicScreen and presenting partners RMIT Culture, ACMI, Lido, Classic and Federation Square.

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


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