We ran the inaugural Arrpenhe-nthenhe Indigenous Languages film program as part of the Something Somewhere Film Festival in Alice Springs on Saturday 20 April. This was a resounding success and shows that our community has a great appetite for films that present the voices and perspectives of Indigenous people, in their languages. Please check this link for descriptions of the films that were programmed into the main session on Saturday afternoon.

We accessed resources to curate the program and to support community participation from our NT Language Support program, funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program. Naturally however, we couldn’t have done this without the cooperation and goodwill of a number of organisations along with the support of good friends and colleagues. Thus it’s time for a few acknowledgements and thankyous.

Firstly I would like to thank Alex Kelly, Anneke Rose and Matt Woodham of the Something Somewhere Film Festival for their vision of inclusion and diversity. Thank you for the opportunity to embed this program into the Something Somewhere Festival. It has been the greatest pleasure to work with this creative dream team and to be part of a high quality event such as this. Thanks also to Anna, Rusty, Mary-Jane and all the Something Somewhere team.

I also acknowledge the many Arrernte language experts and custodians who have been on board with this from the start. It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with all of you on a range of projects throughout the last 12 months of lead up to this festival. This time frame has allowed us to discuss ideas for the festival in an unhurried fashion and to think through various issues in relation to it. In particular I mention Harold Furber and Margaret Kemarre Turner (MK) for their oversight and guidance throughout this project. Harold represented Batchelor Institute in his role as Elder in Residence in introducing the Arrpenhe-nthenhe screening on Saturday. MK helped me to come up with the name for the Indigenous language component Arrpenhe–nthenhe and recorded the opening introduction for each of the festival sessions, sprinkling her special blend of magic fairy dust and helping everyone to feel good. Thank you for your eternal generosity to us all, MK.

Thanks to everyone at Akeyulerre Healing Centre for their support of the festival. We were thrilled to open the Saturday session with the film ‘Mother Tree’ from the Akeyulerre collection. Thanks to everyone, including Hannah Treacey who helped with pickups for the Saturday event. Filmmaker Maya Newell was a guest of the festival – Maya has worked with Akeyulerre as a filmmaker for several years and is one of the team that made Mother Tree. Maya also filmed and edited The Stone Houses, working closely with Mary Flynn and senior Arrernte people. Thanks for your support of the event Maya. Thank you also to storyteller Therese Ryder, who also gave permission for us to screen the film. The short film Angwenhe Impatye? Whose Footprint?, featuring Amelia Turner, opened the festival – this film was made as part of the Baby Board Book series and was a collaboration between Akeyulerre, the Northern Territory Library, Gap Youth Centre and Italk studios

Thanks also to Mary Flynn for support with the screening of The Stone Houses, along with the Atyenhenge Atherre Aboriginal Corporation, Jesuit Social Services and the Lytentye Apurte community. Thanks to MacDonnell Regional Council and to the Ltyentye Apurte School for their support for this festival screening.

Beth Sometimes also provided all kinds of support for the festival. This event will flow on to the upcoming Apmere Angentye-kenhe ‘Place for language’ project that Beth is co-ordinating through Watch this Space in collaboration with an Arrernte team of language experts. This creative, language-rich experience will take place in June and July in Alice Springs.

Felicity Meakins at the University of Queensland helped us to negotiate the screening of Warlungka, the film featuring Rayella from Mudburra country near Elliott – thanks Felicity. Thanks also to Lizzie Ellis and Inge Kral of the Australian National University, and Jenny Green from the Research Unit for Indigenous Language at the University of Melbourne for permission to screen Pangkupirri. This film was made as part of a research project that uses film as its core methodology. Both of these films have emerged through collaborations between academic linguists, community language custodians and (in the case of Warlungka) regional arts organisations. Film projects such as this, that put language research alongside a broader focus on the arts, bring the awareness of these riches to a wider audience. Thanks also to Papulu Apparr-kari and Barkly Regional Arts for your support of Warlungka.

Thank you to PAW Media for access to Kardiyarlu Kangurnu and Nyuntukurra mantaju that screened at the festival. We were proud to host a PAW Media delegation as guests of the festival – thanks for making the trip Simon Fisher Junior, Jason Woods, Jonathan Daw and Jonathan Delbridge.

The Yuendumu Yawulyu team contributed one of their new Yawulyu films to the program – we screened the film about Ngapa Yawulyu, the songs from the rain dreaming. There are three other films from this project – Minamina, Watiyawarnu and Warlukurlangu. Thankyou to Enid Gallagher and Nellie Wayne, who feature in Ngapa Yawulyu, for making the trip to town as guests of the festival, and to the other Warlpiri women and men who are owners and managers of this dreaming and supported the screening. Thanks also to the Yuendumu Yawulyu project manager Georgia Curran of the University of Sydney, filmmaker Anna Cadden and Myfany Turpin for your support. For more information about the Yuendumu Yawulyu project see here:

CAAMA provided us with access to their stunning film Artnwer ‘Desert Dingo’ which had its premiere at SSFF. Michael Liddle represented the creative team involved in this film, and Ben Deacon also represented CAAMA at the festival. Many thanks to Nick Lee for his support for the festival and to Viviana Petyarr for her help in digitising CAAMA material. Accessing and consulting on this material is happening in the background to the Arrpenhe-nthenhe festival and we hope that the future of Arrpenhe-nthenhe will involve some of the precious CAAMA archive. 

Thank you to Maringka Burton and the rest of the NPY Women’s Council team for permission to screen Ngaltuntyu ‘Compassion’ in the program. The NPY Ngangkari program and the Uti Kulintjaku project are doing great work in support of traditional healing practices and mental health.

ICTV generously assisted us to access permissions for a number of films that were screened as shorts and in the Secret Swag sessions at the festival. Thanks in particular to Joshua Davis for your help with this. Thanks also to Dave Richards, Fiona Walsh, Veronica Dobson, Sophie Wallace (Yarrentye Arltere), Harry Hayes (CASSE), Ngukurr Language Centre and Kim Webeck (Central Land Council) for submitting films. Not all films could fit into the Saturday screening, but many were included the Secret Swag sessions in the Something Somewhere lounge on the Friday and Saturday nights of the festival.

Shaun Angeles, John Cavanagh and Felicity Green of the Strehlow Research Centre were involved in the consultations around the film festival and we hope to continue working with the Strehlow Centre towards future festivals and community screenings of valuable historical footage. Thanks also to Keith Castle for your assistance in these consultations.

Lastly I’d like to thank my colleagues at Batchelor Institute for all your support for the work we are doing in Central Australia. I thank Jodie Clarkson, for her hard work in support of Arrernte people and their projects. We are proud to have Christobel Swan, Vanessa Farrelly and Jodie working in the Arrernte Language Office at the Desert Peoples Centre campus in Alice Springs! Thanks for all your excellent work. 

Thanks everyone, Margaret


Margaret Carew

Linguist, CALL
Division of Higher Education and Research

Batchelor Institute – Desert People’s Centre campus

tel: 08 8951 8344