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Ablaze

(Rated PG)

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“Bill would go and talk anywhere to anyone to keep Koori culture alive”

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Overview

What if you found out your granddad was the first ever Aboriginal filmmaker? Ablaze tells the story of an unearthed film reel that unspooled an important historical discovery. Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri man William “Bill” Onus was a key figure in Australia’s civil rights history. An entrepreneur, activist and theatre owner, he was instrumental in the fight for Indigenous rights. And, as a newly discovered film reel unveils, he was a filmmaker too. Narrated by Bill’s grandson, the opera singer and academic Tiriki Onus and creatively presented through archival footage, animations, re-enactments and interviews, Ablaze presents a compelling untold story of activism and art-making. From a mere ten minutes of silent film footage, Tiriki uncovers meaningful, hitherto unknown information about his grandfather, and what life was like for Aboriginal people throughout the 20th century.

Official Selection
— Melbourne International Film Festival
“A powerful, personal portrait of Aboriginal activist and filmmaker Bill Onus”
— The Conversation
Ablaze utilises incredible archival footage to redress the gaps of the Australian artistic industry’s shameful and largely uninterrogated past”
— ScreenHub
“One of the most essential documentaries about Australian culture in recent years. An absolute must see”
— The Curb

Why You Should See This Film

A vital film that fills in an important gap in Australian film history, Ablaze is fascinating viewing. Tiriki Onus presents a necessary reappraisal of Australia’s history, and cements his grandfather’s status as one of this country’s most important filmmakers and civil rights figures.

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Session Times

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  • Year: 2021
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Alec Morgan, Tiriki Onus
  • Duration: 81 minutes
  • Language: English
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