Does Australia have a blurred history of James Cook?  

[by Claire Lhuede]


Steven Oliver on location in Kurnell, NSW. Image: supplied

National Indigenous Television (NITV) is proud to present Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky, a timely documentary inviting audiences to look at the arrival of the HMB Endeavour through First Nations’ eyes, 250 years on from James Cook’s landing.


Tamarind Tree Pictures and Roar Film have assembled some of the nation’s deadliest singers and songwriters to create a modern day songline for 21st century Australia that tells the Indigenous story of connection to Country, resistance and survival throughout history.


Presenter, co-writer and slam poet Steven Oliver takes the audience on an incredible and scenic journey across Australia from the cliffs of Kurnell to the Torres Strait.


As he travels the land interrogating Cook’s legacy, he poses the question – in 2020, does Australia have a blurred history of Cook?


Directed by Steven McGregor (co-writer of Sweet Country and director of Black Comedy), the film sees a diverse group of Indigenous performers, known for their powerful music and perspectives, perform original songs that speak directly to the past and the future.


They include ARIA award-winning hip hop performer/producer and A.B. Original cofounder Trials, rapper Birdz, acclaimed singer/songwriters Mo’Ju (2018 album Native Tongue collected 33 award nominations), Alice Skye (2019 Australian Women in Music Award winner), lyrical storyteller Mau Power, Butchulla songman Fred Leone and the legendary Kev Carmody.


Steven Oliver said: “We live in a society where we’re often expected to accept a narrative and that one narrative is the ultimate truth. Ultimately though, there is never one truth. If you take parts of several truths and add them together, usually the truth is in there somewhere. It’s making people agree on it that’s the hard part. Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky offers an alternative truth from an Indigenous perspective and asks us to open our eyes to possibilities or different realities of truth and ignites further discussion that Australia still needs to have.”

Director for Indigenous Content at SBS and NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Orman, said: “As the home of Indigenous storytelling, NITV is proud to present Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky. Driven by First Nations filmmakers, this ground-breaking documentary looks to reframe the one-way dialogue surrounding the history and legacy of Cook, particularly in 2020. It’s a bold, entertaining and engaging alternative history from a First Nations perspective; a standout film for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and First Peoples around the world.”


Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky will be simulcast on NITV and SBS VICELAND on Thursday 20 August at 8.30pm following its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival on Sunday 16 August at 7pm.


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