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Warwick Thornton on Samson and Delilah

By Sista Girl Productions, 2009 3:59 minutes

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Warwick Thornton dismisses the idea that the success of a film is measured by its awards. Rather, he thinks that a film’s success can be determined by how much it changes the world, creates understanding and affects policy. He believes that Indigenous cinema is about telling true stories that have the long-term goal of changing Australia and encouraging Indigenous people to address issues that need their action. Thornton made Samson and Delilah to reveal how hard life is for Indigenous children but also to show their beauty, resilience and strength.

Collection Blak Wave


Discussion Points

One of the things that Warwick Thornton stresses is the potential that film has for creating change.

  •     Can film change people? If so, how and why?

Thornton is scathing about a society that measures the worth of a film by the quantity of awards it wins. However, by winning the Camera d’Or award for the best first feature film at Cannes, Samson and Delilah was assured a much larger audience than it might otherwise have had.

Australians are more likely to go and see an Australian film (or read an Australian book) if it has been successful overseas. Why is this the case?

A number of Indigenous filmmakers, including Warwick Thornton, are very positive about the future of Indigenous film and its contribution to Australian society as a whole, but Australian films often struggle to find a home-grown audience.

  • Is it possible that the dynamic, visionary and story-driven quality of the developing Indigenous film culture has the capacity to transform Australian film culture as a whole?