Short Film, 18 mins
A colonial girl’s loyalty to her protective father is put to the test when she finds a gravely injured Aboriginal man by the river.
Photos by Kate Disher-Quill
Inspired by Andy Kissane’s poem ‘The Station Owner’s Daughter, Narrandera’. NGURRUMBANG (“our country” in the Wiradjuri language) dramatises events surrounding a massacre of Aboriginal people in the mid 19th century, and in particular, the relationship that emerges between a young Irish immigrant, Kate, and Waagan, a wounded Wiradjuri man. This is a true story, a coming of age story, a love story. Kate and Waagan’s childhoods are torn away from them as the realities of their worlds become horrifically apparent- but the intimate bond formed between these two very different people gives them, and us, strength and hope.
NGURRUMBANG is a small story of a specific time and place. But it is also a universal story, about our capacity to connect with the ‘other’ in times of conflict and tragedy.
When researching this film I drove to Narrandera, in outback NSW, to see where the events took place and visit the massacre site. There were no signs or markers to give any indication that anything of the sort had ever happened in this area. This is all too common in Australia. Terrible events in our history are often swept under the carpet, and as a result, Australia is still struggling to come to terms with its past. I think these stories are important, complex, filled with tragedy and beauty, and they need to be told. NGURRUMBANG is my attempt to tell just one of them.
Alex Ryan, Director
BEHIND THE SCENES STILLS
Alex Ryan is a film director and writer based in Sydney. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), Alex has directed short films, corporate videos and music clips. His films have screened at festivals around Australia and his music videos have accrued millions of hits online. When he’s not directing, Alex teaches camera operation and editing skills. He has taught in a university context and for Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways (TKRP) in North Queensland.
Jiao Chen is an emerging producer, working across drama and documentary. His active projects include After Six Four, an interactive online documentary commissioned by SBS; Keep Me Safe Tonight, a half hour broadcast documentary commissioned by ABC and Bloomers, a comedy short film that was the recent recipient of Screen Australia’s Short Film Completion Fund. He is currently also undertaking the Producer Extension Placement at Screen NSW where he is learning valuable script development and production finance skills.
Jonathan Shaw is a Sydney-based writer, whose work has been published in recent years in Eureka Street, Going Down Swinging and Harvest. He was editor of the NSW Department of Education’s School Magazine for 15 years.
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JONATHAN SHAW & ALEX RYAN
Inspired by a Poem by
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Produced under the
METRO SCREEN BREAKS PROGRAM