8 Indigenous Australian films and TV series everyone should watch right now

‘Cleverman’ is one of eight titles everyone should watch.
Image: ABC

The cultural histories ofAboriginal and TorresStrait Islander peoplesare some of the oldest in the world, so it only makes sense their stories light up the screen.

Indigenous Australian directors and actors are leading the charge when it comes to creating diverse entertainment, offering up some of the best films and TV shows the country has to offer.

If you’ve been missing out, here is what you need to check out right now.

1. Beneath Clouds

Director Ivan Sen’s 2002 debut film, Beneath Clouds, is an unsettling take on the road movie. Set in the sparse surrounds of northern New South Wales, it’s an honest reflection on what life can be like for young Indigenous Australian people in rural areas.

Sen makes you feel deep sympathy with protagonists Lena and Vaughan as they make the long trip to Sydney:The overwhelming sense of hopelessness, isolation, anger, desperation, and the constant watchful eye of the authorities.

Beneath Clouds shines a light on a part of the country many Australians know little about. It’s well worth watching if you want to open your eyes to a whole new world.

How to watch it: The DVD and stream is available on Amazon, or you might be able to get it at a library near you.

2.Redfern Now

ABC’s Redfern Now is a television series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians. The show received plenty of critical acclaim as a gritty and hard-hitting drama that chronicles the lives of people in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Redfern.

It’s addictive, compelling and some of the best television the country has ever produced.

How to watch it:Redfern Now is available on Google Play,iTunesand Netflix.


Cleverman is a television series that could have come from straight from Marvel studios. Minus the capes and with a big dose of politics, of course.

Taking place in an Australia of the near-future, a young man namedKoen West inherits amazing abilities that make him an Indigenous Australian superhero, theCleverman.

There are strong allusions to the issues Indigenous Australians face, such as institutional racism. The “hairies,” played by Indigenous Australian actors, are treated as second-class citizens and are housed in a heavily policed zone. Escaped “hairies” are rounded up and face torture by power-hungry prison wardens.It’s an Australian series unlike any other.

How to watch it:If you’re in Australia, you can watch Cleverman on theABC or its catch-up service iView. In the U.S. it’s available on SundanceTV, or in the UK, on BBC Three later this year.

4.Bran Nue Dae

If you’re addicted to musicals likeHairspray,then Bran Nue Dae will be right down your alley. It’s a light-hearted, charming take on the life of a young Indigenous Australian boyWillie in the late 1960s. Willie just wants to escape a religious mission and return home to Broome to be with his girl, Rosie.

It’s an uptempo flick perfect for a Sunday evening.

How to watch it:Bran Nue Dae is available on Google Play and iTunes.

5.Ten Canoes

Heralded by critics as a “shimmering beauty,Ten Canoeswas the first film to be spoken entirely in AboriginalAustralianlanguages.

During a hunt for geese eggs,a man tries to teach his younger brother a lesson about the consequences of having a wandering eye. The film provides important insight into the spirituality of Aboriginal Australian people, aswell as plenty of humour.

Ranked 72nd in Empire Magazine‘s “The 100 Best Films of World Cinemain 2010, and the recipient of the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2006, this film is groundbreaking, beautiful and essential viewing.

How to watch it:Ten Canoes is available onGoogle Play or iTunes, or streaming service Stanif you’re in Australia.

6. “Sand,”The Turning

Anthology filmThe Turning isbased on the book of the same nameby author Tim Winton. It’s a collaborative cinematic workcreated by 17 Australian filmmakers,withone director assigned to each short story.

Indigenous Australian choreographer Steven Pagemade his directorial debut with his contribution to the project, entitled “Sand.” Free of dialogue, it tells the story of two young brothers playing and fighting in the sand dunes when something terrifying happens.

Cinematically vast and sonically gorgeous, Page’s vignette elevates the whole movie to a level of eerie vulnerability.You shouldn’t be able to get through it without crying out of nostalgia or booking the next flight to Australia.

How to watch it:The Turning is availablehereon Google Play or oniTunes.

7.Samson & Delilah

Heralded as a film that changedAustralian cinema forever, Samson & Delilah is confronting, honest and unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Oh, and it also won the Cannes d’Or award for the best first feature film in 2009. So if you only watch films that have won awards, add this one to your list.

How to watch it:Samson & Delilah isavailableonGoogle Play.

8.The Sapphires

The Sapphires tells the story of four young women and their journey from singing in a small town talent contest to winning a spot performing in Vietnam for the troops.The 2012 musical, directed by Wayne Blair, became the highest grossing Australian film everon an opening weekend.

Wry, tongue in cheek and packed with songs you’ll know, love, and couch-dance along to, The Sapphires is great film making in action.

How to watch it:The Sapphires is availableon Google Play andiTunes.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/07/05/indigenous-australian-film-tv/