Sweden picks up Bangarra doco

ABC Commercial has announced the sale of upcoming feature documentary Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra to Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT2.

The doco, which marks Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary, tells the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers — Stephen, David and Russell Page — turned the newly born dance group into a First Nations cultural powerhouse. But success came at a huge personal cost.

ABC Commercial’s Head of Content Sales & Distribution, Jessica Ellis said “We are incredibly proud to be partnering with SVT on this exceptional documentary. The interest surrounding the program prior to its distribution launch at Avant Première has been phenomenal. Audiences from film festival screenings have embraced and celebrated this stunning addition to ABC Commercial’s Arts slate”.

In Films’ Managing Director and Executive Producer, Ivan O’Mahoney said: “Bangarra Dance Theatre is one of Australia’s best loved performing arts companies, with a huge following overseas, especially in North America and Europe. Bangarra tell vital stories – both ancient and modern – of Indigenous Australia in an accessible, beautiful, way. It has been a privilege to make the film.”

The doco won Best Documentary at last year’s AACTA Awards. It will have its international theatrical premiere later this month at The Pan African Film + Arts Festival in Los Angeles. It will premiere on ABC  later this year.

Produced by In Films and directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and Nel Minchin (Matilda & Me, Making Muriel), Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra won Best Documentary at the 2020 AACTA Awards and both Best Documentary and the inaugural Change Award at the 2020 Adelaide Film Festival.

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