On 8thAugust, I went to the Melbourne International Film Festival(MIFF), which is one of the oldest film festivals and has become the most notable screen event in Australia (Wikipedia, 2018). Taking this opportunity, I was fortunate to watch a film about the problems faced by the government in developing remote areas in Australia and the local Australian aborigines, which is called ‘Undermined: Tales from the Kimberley’ and directed by Nicholas Wrathall.
Kimberley takes the highest percentage of Aboriginal people living on Country in Australia, and now it is being developed by the government including mining, fracking and agricultural projects. However, the local traditional owners in the Kimberley region were not getting any information on these future developments of their own communities, and living under the pressure of these developments. The film chronicles these issues that people who live in Kimberley with Australian government, and captures much of their lives in film. According to the director Nicholas, he wants to take this film as an opportunity to make people to be aware that fact that government has targeted Kimberley for future development, and this has damaged the interests of the local people without involving them, and forcibly destroyed their living conditions, which caused a great harm to the local traditional people (MIFF, 2018).
Actually, it is not only a concern between local people in Kimberley, but also a story in terms of development and first peoples. It happens not just in Kimberley, in Australia, it can happen in every pristine area all over the world. Aborigines are prone to protect the natural environment, while the government needs more developments of this kind of places and generates more economic benefits, which will inevitably hurt the natural environment. This is a conflict over resources and development without considering the damage we are doing to our planet (Nicholas, 2018).
This is what the Melbourne Film Festival is doing in such case– it provides a good place for such films and brings them to the forefront, so that such environmental damage and government development issues can attract people’s great attention. It is obvious that MIFF’s outreach is broad. As we know that outreach is regarded as one of the key parameters that shape festivals (Marijke de Valck, 2016). And through MIFF, the local traditional people can be mobilized to stand up for their rights, just like the activist Albert Wiggan, who is a key character in the film ‘Undermined: Tales from the Kimberley’. He also showed up in MIFF and shared his thoughts as first peoples with the audience regarding the issues that the film captured. Generally speaking, I can see how MIFF as an exhibition site for films, and a place where the production team communicates directly with the audience.
De Valck, Marijke. (2016). ‘What is a film festival? How to study festivals and why you should’. Film Festivals: History, theory, method, practice. NY: Routledge.
MIFF. (2018). Q&A with UNDERMINED: TALES FROM THE KIMBERLEY Director Nicholas Wrathall. [online] Available at: http://miff.com.au/blog/story/qa-with-undermined-tales-from-the-kimberley-director-nicholas-wrathall [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018].
Wikipedia. (2018). Melbourne International Film Festival. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_International_Film_Festival [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018].