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Australian doc ‘Gravel Road’ to make European debut

[supplied by Meredith Emmanuel]

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 Image: supplied

The 2022 Soundscreen Film Festival has selected Australian documentary Gravel Road to screen at Palazzo dei Congressi e del Cinema in Ravenna on Sun., Oct. 2 at 4.15 p.m, making its European premiere at the festival. 

Directed by Tristan Pemberton, the film gives rare insight into the convergence of Indigenous Australian culture and contemporary rock music, following the adventures of Aboriginal band The Desert Stars as they undertake their first ever road tour. 

 

“What an utter privilege it’s been to collaborate with singer-songwriter Jay Minning and the community of Tjuntjuntjara in the making of Gravel Road. Every journey changes you, and this one left an indelible mark on all participants in the true spirit of ngapartji-ngapartji (reciprocity). It was all made possible because of Jay’s incredible passion to share his remarkable life, culture and Spinifex history through music,” says Gravel Road director Tristan Pemberton.

 

“I’m pukulpa (happy) that our film won the Best Documentary Award at the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival in California in April this year. The band is now looking forward to sharing our music, culture and history with Italy. It’s a dream for us,” says Minning. 

 

The film follows Minning and his band The Desert Stars on their 2018 debut tour as they travel from their home in remote Tjuntjuntjara across the punishing terrain of the Western Desert, in support of its second studio album Mungangka Ngaranyi (It’s On Tonight).

 

Minning’s community and the four-piece band are situated in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia. The band’s music reflects on the artists' profound connection to their vast culture, as they are the last true nomads. With songs of hunter-gatherer life and their people’s survival of the British atomic testing at the infamous Maralinga site, The Desert Stars' fanbase is diverse and rapidly growing. 

 

Gravel Road made its Australian premiere in Margaret River, WA on Aug. 27 2022, followed by a surprise live performance by The Desert Stars. The band received so many calls for encores it ran out of songs.

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