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WINDA Film Festival returns to the big screen for its 4th year

WINDA Film Festival returns to the big screen for its 4th year

The WINDA Film Festival returns for the fourth time from 21 to 24 November, bringing epic survival thrillers to moving true stories and state-of-the-art shorts to celebrate pioneering Indigenous filmmakers from around the world.

This year, the festival screens six brand new full-length features, five inspiring documentaries and a jam-packed line-up of stellar shorts from 16 countries across the globe, in an effort to spread the stories of Indigenous nations to the globe.

Cultural Pulse had a chance to chat to the Festival Artistic Director, Pauline Clague. Check out our Q&A below!

Pauline, why is it so important to share indigenous film and stories through events like the WINDA Film Festival?

Filmmaking is such a community craft and taking time to celebrate films on the big screen with an audience is a great way to see the evolution of stories and the need for festivals that bring audiences and filmmakers together. This year, there are 12 Australian Premieres, and this shows that our Indigenous films sometimes don’t get the right platform to show their works, and having festivals like WINDA opens the door to our stories being shown to mainstream audiences.

How did you initially become involved with the festival and why?

I have worked on and off for 20 years in Canada, supporting imagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival 9 which is the largest Indigenous Festival in the world. 8 years ago, I realised I was going to Canada to see works by Australian filmmakers, so I thought it was timely to bring an Indigenous festival down to Australia again. Message Sticks Film Festival had finished in 2012 and we saw a real gap in the gathering of Indigenous filmmakers to talk creatively and support each other in their works, so I pulled together a few people that were interested in setting up a festival in Australia and here we are in the 4th year.

How have you seen audiences respond to the stories told in the festival over the years?

The responses have been great. As we see the evolution of the industry playing with genres and thematic [sic] that speak to each other’s stories, the links of colonial impact, and the resilience and empowerment of people, have seen people connect with a story –

Although the landscape is different, the story is similar to our experiences as Indigenous people here in Australia.

What can audiences expect from the festival in 2019?

There is a strong language component this year, as this year is the United Nations year of Indigenous Languages. We have seen the impact these filmmakers and films have had on communities as they revitalise language on screen. There are also some new voices rising up from the Pacific and our documentary, as always, cover strong storylines around environmental, justice and resilience. A few genres have been included, as filmmakers begin to play in the areas of Horror and some international Dramas that talk to generational connections.

Which film are you personally most looking forward to and why?

I like all the films, as the programmer, it is hard to pick one. But I like that we are showing Robbie Hood as a binge watch, Eating up Easter shows how a community is dealing with the waste being left behind by tourists, nipawistamasowin: We will Stand Up is a strong documentary following the death of a young Cree youth, Not Just Numbers is a look at how a community are tackling Domestic Violence. I would suggest checking out the website and seeing what films intrigue you to go and see.

Anything further to add?

Our closing night is under the stars at Barangaroo Reserve with the film Vai. It is a free event, but ticketed, and it’s always fun to celebrate under the stars (Winda means stars) to send off the filmmakers and audience for another year.

Find out where and when you can catch these amazing movies at HERE.


Minh Nguyen

Minh Nguyen is an editorial intern at CulturalPulse and is based in Sydney. Minh enjoys exploring other cultures, especially their food. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: editor@culturalpulse.com.au