AIDC 2021: Why Rachel Griffiths came home to Australia

Rachel Griffiths returned home to work in Australia in 2012 because she never felt completely comfortable telling American stories.

Speaking at the Australian International Documentary Conference this week she said, “As successful as I was, and as well paying as my career was, I had the privilege of working with extraordinary fellow actors and directors and writers like Alan Ball.

“But I never felt quite comfortable telling other people’s stories. So I returned to Australia to make sense of our country’s history, our country scars. I guess what motivates me is to kind of unpick and understand things. I never felt I had the license to interrogate the American story as vigorously and be as openly critical.

The Total Control star added, “I was not American, I had not taken citizenship…

“My own faithful shores beckoned, to bring me home to tell our stories.”

Griffiths will soon present Finding the Archibald for ABC, reflecting on Australian history against a backdrop of 100 years of the Archibald portraiture prize. Having studied politics at university, then later drama and media, she always expected to work in Documentary.

“It’s taken me 30 years but here I am… going for that popular cultural route, but still trying to find these tender, curly human questions that a critical essay may never quite have,” she continued.

“I think that’s how you bring people along on a story, on our nation’s story, is by having those conversations that are not didactic. They are actually about our human vulnerability and listening.”

Finding the Archibald is coming to ABC later this year.

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