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Luku Ngärra: The Law of the Land

[by Sinem Saban]


Image: supplied

As the Indigenous Voice to Parliament dominates the national political debate, a new documentary presents the uninhibited voices from people living on the ground in the Yolngu Nation of North East Arnhem Land whose lives have been continuously thrown into chaos and devastation since the imposition of the colonial system.


At the heart of Luku Ngärra: The Law of the Land is the remarkable Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, a highly respected Yolngu clan leader, initiated lawman and civil rights activist who has led the battle for the spiritual and political freedom of his people for over 45 years.


Through the rare and intimate lens that this documentary offers, audiences will witness the harsh reality of the crisis that many remote communities are facing whilst they steadfastly continue the sacred assertion of their law ceremonies that have been in practise for over 60,000 years. The film will challenge audiences’ understanding of the Yolngu world, their incredible culture and their system of law, which if better understood, would shatter all misconceptions and be revered as a gift that it really is to this country.


Unflinching in his delivery Dr Gondarra asks the big questions around what law and freedom actually mean, compelling audiences to look at their own paradigm and the views and structures that come with it, while presenting an illuminating message for all humanity.


The creation of Melbourne born independent film maker Sinem Saban’s, Luku Ngärra: The Law of the Land took five years to complete, the result of a 16-year friendship between Dr Gondarra and Saban. The pair met while Saban was making her first documentary Our Generation, which exposed the human rights violations of the Commonwealth Government’s 2007 intervention into Indigenous communities.


Like Our Generation, Luku Ngärra: The Law of the Land is the uninhibited and uncensored delivery of First Nations voices on matters that directly impact their lives.


Keeping true to the integrity of Saban’s work and Dr Gondarra’s lived experiences, knowledge, and positions, the pair are proud to say the film is entirely independent, with no funds sourced from filming bodies affiliated with any government, and is predominantly funded by the Yolngu people it seeks to represent.


Luku Ngärra: The Law of the Land will premiere at the Capitol Theatre in Melbourne on Friday, 28 April 2023.The evening will be hosted by Leila Gurruwiwi (Melbourne based Yolngu producer and media personality) chairing a heartfelt discussion with guests from Arnhem Land including Independent Indigenous MP for NT Parliament, Mark Yingiya Guyula, Biritjaluwuy Gondarra (Dr. Gondarra’s daughter) and Dr Gondarra himself via zoom from Elcho Island.


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