A festival of films examining the rights of First Nations peoples will be shown for free next week at University of Technology Sydney, as part of the build-up to the Voice to parliament referendum.

Spread over five evenings, the UTS First Nations Film Festival also aims to highlight the talent of Indigenous creatives, from filmmakers and producers to actors, artists and activists. It will run from Monday to Friday, hosted by the UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion.

The festival coincides with the growing discussion around the Voice to parliament debate, a referendum that seeks to determine if Indigenous Australians should be given constitutional recognition.

“UTS supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its implementation in full. As an educational institution, we can play an essential role in helping people better understand the issues around the upcoming Voice to Parliament Referendum,” UTS Pro Vice-Chancellor Verity Firth said.

“The UTS First Nations Film Festival is a way to engage our community to learn more about the ongoing fight for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty and share the truth of Australia’s history. It’s also an excellent opportunity to experience and enjoy the talent of Indigenous filmmakers, producers, actors, artists, and activists.”

Associate Professor Pauline Clague, manager of the Cultural Resilience Hub at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research, helped curate the festival and also runs the Winda Film Festival. Each film has been selected to showcase insights into First Nation peoples’ longstanding fight for self-determination and sovereignty.

Described as “a history defining moment for Australia”, the UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion also makes reference to the Uluru Statement from the Heart: “The Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for a Voice to Parliament, Treaty, and Truth-Telling. It builds on generations of Indigenous people negotiating with governments to recognise their status as the First Peoples of this country, and the rights that attach to that status.”

The free screenings start at 5.30pm and are held in the UTS Great Hall (Building 1, Level 5) from August 28-September 1.

To book a free ticket and for more information, you can visit the events website: https://events.humanitix.com/uts-first-nations-film-festival

August 28: Luke Ngärra: The Law of The Land

An intimate journey into the world of the Yolŋu First Nations of Australia, this is the story of one man’s 45-year life journey of fighting for his people’s political and spiritual freedom.

August 29: Still We Rise

A bold dive into a year of protest and revolutionary change for First Nations people, looking at the 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest.

August 30: A Primer for Constitutional Reform; Fred Maynard: Aboriginal Patriot; Sisters in the Black Movement

Three short films explore the long history of protest and fight by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for legal recognition of their rights.

August 31: You Can Go Now

50 years of First Nations activism in Australia through the lens of First Nations artist Richard Bell.

September 1: The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson

An adaptation of Henry Lawson’s short story, re-conceptualised as a thrilling tale that explores racism and misogyny under colonial rule.

Main image of You Can Go Now supplied.