News / Asia

Australia's Aboriginal Cultural Resurgence as New TV Drama Airs

Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.
x
Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.
Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.
Phil Mercer
Australia’s first-ever indigenous television drama has had its premiere on national television.  Redfern Now explores the gritty reality of drugs and poverty in an inner city district of Sydney, and is part of a cultural resurgence within Aboriginal Australia. 

Redfern Now is the first Australian TV drama produced by indigenous writers and directors, who worked in collaboration with the award-winning British scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern. 

The six-part series features a mostly Aboriginal cast.  It took two years to film and was partly funded by the Australian government.

TV critic David Knox says it’s a realistic depiction of life in Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney.

“One of the things that really strikes me about this series is that in the face of adversity, where it’s poverty, alcoholism [or] violence, it is the unconditional love that comes to the fore here,” he said.  

Redfern has had a troubled past.  There were riots in 2004, and while poverty and disadvantage persist, tribal elders say the new TV series will be a source of great pride for the indigenous community.

The series is being shown on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC.

Producer Rachel Perkins says Redfern Now follows other recent Aboriginal artistic successes in film, dance and theater.

“There’s been a lot of investment to get where we have, and it is a moment to mark and celebrate, I think, that we are now on, you know, the ABC in [a] primetime slot showing this great, quality content that is punching above its weight, and some of the best content [and) filmmaking that is coming out of Australia at the moment,” said Perkins. 

Redfern Now is partly produced by the Aboriginal team that worked on the acclaimed Australian film, The Sapphires. It was released earlier this year and tells the story of four young Aboriginal women who were discovered by a talent scout singing in the Australian outback and who went on to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam. 

Based on a true story, the indigenous singers were plucked from obscurity and named The Sapphires, and were billed as Australia's answer to the famous American group, The Supremes.

Indigenous dances troupes and artists have also enjoyed success in recent years, as Australia discovers a deeper appreciation of a heritage that stretches back more than 50,000 years.  It has brought positive benefits.  The making of Redfern Now created about 250 jobs for Aborigines in Sydney.

Aborigines make up about 2 percent of Australia’s population, and are by far the country’s most disadvantaged group, suffering disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment and ill-health.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs