MIFF star to shine in Bendigo

ON COUNTRY: Tom Lawford, his family, friends and the film crew will celebrate the documentary's release with a traditional 'killa' barbecue this weekend at Fitzroy Crossing.

ON COUNTRY: Tom Lawford, his family, friends and the film crew will celebrate the documentary's release with a traditional 'killa' barbecue this weekend at Fitzroy Crossing.

AFTER two sellout shows and an encore performance at the Melbourne International Film Festival, ‘Putuparri and the Rainmakers’ is coming to Bendigo. 

Director Nicole Ma documented the film’s characters for more than 10 years, and said they brought a positive message from remote Northern Territory to the rest of Australia, both Aboriginal and non-Indigenous. 

“Tom [‘Putuparri’ Lawford] was asked ‘what can we do?’ and his response was: ‘white people are here to stay, there’s nothing we can do about that, so we have to learn to live together and move forward as brothers and sisters – and there is a whole lot both cultures can learn from one another,’ she said. 

“Sitting in the audience, you could feel how that touched them.” 

Another subject of the documentary, Sylvester, was in Melbourne for the film’s world premiere. 

“I first filmed Sylvester when he was three and when he fronted the audience in Melbourne he was 18,” Ms Ma said. 

“Sylvester hadn’t seen the film before and it really impacted him, he was crying be the end.

“Seeing the old people who had passed, he said, ‘it’s up to me now.’”

Ms Ma said the documentary, filmed in Kurtal country in the Kimberley's Great Sandy Desert region, recorded stories from elders, dream time myths and contemporary culture. 

“Not to mention the impact of seeing the footage from 1994 of an actual rainmaking ceremony at waterhole on country… that’s unusual.”

The film screens at 6pm at the Star Cinema.

For more information, see the film’s website