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BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In Australia today over 250 remote indigenous homeland communities face forced closure. Djakapurra Munyarryun, a celebrated indigenous artist often called upon to travel the world and share his traditional knowledge wants to know why people want his culture but not his homeland lifestyle? It’s a simple question without a simple answer.

EXTENDED SYNOPSIS: HOMELANDS is an authored documentary that looks to define what has to be done by the next generation of Yolngu leaders to create the future they want and not the one other’s tell them they have to have. Structured around the journey of Djakapurra Munyarryun, a 42 year-old Yolngu man and celebrated performing artist from NE Arnhem Land, as he wrestles with his quest for a better and more equitable future for his family and community. But the forces against achieving that, laden as they are with assimilationist views, conveniently forget that the Homeland’s Movement is an active implementation of the Rights to Culture recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s also what Djakapurra and other Yolngu leaders want for their children.

In the Northern Territory 32% of the population is indigenous and over 60% of these live in remote homelands, with around 7,500 Yolngu amongst them. But many of these homelands are small, like Dhalinybuy where Djakapurra’s family lives, housing 50-100 people at most. Across the country, WA and SA state governments are set to close 250 homeland communities because they’re ‘unsustainable’. This doesn’t bode well for NT homeland’s future. In September 2007 the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory Governments signed an MOU that saw the transfer of responsibility for Indigenous housing and infrastructure handed to the Northern Territory Government and marked the cessation of Commonwealth funding for the 500 plus communities classed as homelands. Eight years on we see the NT Homeland movement starting to break under the strain as services remain under funded and programs are cut back to the bone.

However, with the ambition of NT statehood in play for 2018 and the quest for Constitutional recognition of Australia’s first nation’s people, the question of Homeland’s future in Australia’s north is sure to be a major topic of debate as this film prepares the groundwork for a renewed call of self-determination.

Conceived as a feature documentary HOMELANDS employs an immersive atmosphere that will lead its audience on a powerful human journey into the heart of Yolngu culture, backgrounded by an historic injustice and a contemporary social crisis.

For Djakapurra, a man who has spent his life presenting his culture on the world’s stages, this means taking his 12-year old son Russell on the journey to manhood. First through his dhapi initiation and then onto the stage, as Djakapurra builds the dream of running his own remote homeland-based Production Company from Dhalinybuy with the development of a new work.

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

Seven Facts About remote indigenous Homelands in Norther Australia:

1. ECONOMY: Homelands contribute $775.78m per year to the NT economy

2. HEALTH: Aboriginal people live longer on homelands

3. GOVERNANCE: Community-based decision-making and a 'two way' approach enable tangible outcomes.

4. HISTORY: In the 1960s, Aboriginal families started to relocate back to their traditional lands after decades of assimilation.

5. NATIONAL POLITICAL: The Government has left behind one third of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

6. GEO-POLITICAL: The homeland’s movement is an active implementation of the rights to culture recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

7. ENVIRONMENTAL: Homeland's based ranger programs deliver traditional knowledge-based environmental management that significantly reduces carbon-emissions.

Homelands is a film that comes from the community and expresses community concerns about the future of the Homeland's movement.
We need your support to get this message out to as wide and influential community who understand that real change is required on a national, state and community level to effect lasting change. The essence of our message is relevant to threatened indigenous communities across the globe and with our Philanthropic support community we seek to reach out to as wide and influential group as possible.

Whilst DAF registration is part of our A Crowd Funding strategy to enhance our production and release options, Gong Wanhurr Productions is also a not-for-profit organisation with tax-deductible status and has the capacity to directly receive donations. However, joining forces with DAF’s indigenous Outreach/Good Pitch program to develop our philanthropic support base is a primary goal as we seek to build a broader community of support behind the film's campaign.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

Hundreds of remote indigenous communities across the country facing the threat of closure the Producers are cognisant of the fact
that HOMELANDS plays directly into the current and growing public debate (and social movement) about indigenous homeland security and with around 500 homelands housing 30% of the NT’s indigenous population, this is a major issue for the Northern Territory.

The Producers see the HOMELAND project serving a strong advocacy role as they seek to change Minds, Behaviour, Communities and Structures by reinforcing a bottom’s up approach that addresses Public Awareness and leads to Public Engagement with the Homeland’s issue.

However, within the scope of the film’s story, ambition and remit, the Producer’s are also seeking to steer the debate of the NT government’s statehood ambition toward a systemic political, corporate and legal change that inalienably protects homelands as viable and dynamic communities well into the future.

So, to get this film made and out into the public domain, to inspire and consolidate debate and public support toward the homeland
movement by pursuing a personal storyline that reveals the complexity, diversity and necessity of the homeland’s survival is a
dominant need we see this project serving.


What is your education and outreach strategy?

Gong Wanhurr has been building strong inter-community partnerships over the past several years, including Yirralka Rangers, Yirrkala Homelands Schools, Mulka Project and directly with a number of Homeland communities. The strength of these relationships will ensure an integrated regional community based engagement is at the centre of our community outreach strategy starting in production and continuing through to distribution.


An innovative approach to the production will see the employment of Immersive VR storytelling
techniques that offer a powerfully unique approach to engaging a diverse global audience. It is also a way the producer's intend to engage the Yolngu youth in the production of the HOMELANDS film, so they may play an on-going role in the interaction of the audience with their homelands.

Multiplatform production/delivery focused on convergence of television, phone networks, ipTV, online communities and marketing. Interactive Interface streams to diverse phone network-formats promoting social engagement nature of homeland life and revealing the complexities of issues raised in film whilst supporting a unified front-end delivery portal for the key leaders to deposit content (English and Yolngu matha).

The online portal will engage a wider community, deliver demographically attuned cultural information about Homeland movement and history, supporting connection to country and self-determination.

This story will be told in English and Yolngu Matha.
Djakapurra Munyarryun/Scott Welsh
Djakapurra Munyarryun/Kevin Lucas
Total budget
80 Minutes
www.bungguldjama.com (NB: general information included. HOMELANDS webpage links not finalised at this stage)