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Rachel Perkins on Bran Nue Dae

By Sista Girl Productions, 2009 1:31 minutes

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Rachel Perkins’ film Bran Nue Dae is adapted from the musical written for the theatre by Jimmy Chi. Perkins describes this work as a life-affirming combination of music, joy and humour.

Collection Blak Wave

Discussion Points

Bran Nue Dae is not the first production that Rachel Perkins has adapted an existing work. Her role as director of One Night the Moon involved working with a body of material that had been put together by a team of people, all of whom had a continuing creative investment in the final product. Perkins’ interest in adaptation reflects the pleasure she derives from creative collaboration.

  • Find out more about Jimmy Chi and his original work at the ABC’s Message Stick archive: 7 February 2010. This Message Stick episode contains interviews with Chi, Perkins and a number of other people involved in the creation of both the stage and the film versions of Bran Nue Dae.

Rachel Perkins is captivated by the celebratory, affirmative nature of Bran Nue Dae, but the film also deals with some significant aspects of Indigenous history.

  • Recap these issues by referring to the transcript of the Message Stick episode.
  • When watching Bran Nue Dae, think about the depth of cultural and historical information that is communicated as part of the light-hearted fun of the film.

Bran Nue Dae is an example of Perkins’ determination to tell Indigenous stories in diverse ways and from a range of different points of view: “Aboriginal people aren’t the same, so they don’t want to create the same kind of work. People would like there to be a genre [of Indigenous film], but I don’t think there is” (Gillett, 2008).

  • Survey Perkins’ filmmaking career and note the diversity of the subjects she  chooses and the genres she uses.