The short film, written and directed by Ngandi man Grant Thompson, is about a shy boy and his friends who return to their camp after swimming in a billabong, only to find the camp empty and their families gone.
‘I work in the Ngukurr Language Centre. I realised that the story I wanted to tell comes from language and telling the history of language here,’ Grant said.
Grant did not grow up speaking his traditional language but learnt it later through his relationship with mentor, Elder Mrs C Daniels OA. She was the last speaker of Ngandi in Ngukurr and has since passed away.
‘We’re in a time when young people need elders. We need to start communicating, to start again. So this film is about speaking to everyone, reconnecting to that balance that we’ve been using for a long time, to find the way forward.’
The film was made as part of the Ngukurr Story Project, a collaboration between Ngukurr Art Centre and Ngukurr Language Centre with the support of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program.
It is now available to watch on NITV/SBS on demand during the International Year of Indigenous Languages.