Film festivals and beyond: activist discourses in the reception of Samson and Delilah and The Tall Man
In the last five years, Australian films centred on Indigenous characters, such as Ten Canoes (de Heer and Djigirr, 2006), Samson and Delilah (Thornton, 2009) and The Tall Man (Krawitz, 2011) have been applauded for their sensitive engagement with traditional Aboriginal stories as well as with contemporary issues. While all three films premiered at Australian film festivals, received limited cinema releases, did the rounds of the international arthouse circuit, and have been broadcast on one of the national public service television networks, their reception, as opposed to a consideration of their textual attributes, has not received much scholarly or popular attention. This article draws on the author's experiences of attending the premiere of Samson and Delilah in Adelaide, and hosting the Q&A after the screening of The Tall Man in Brisbane to explore the Australian-based local-international film festival screening of an Indigenous film as a very specific reception framework; and the Q&A sessions, viewer voting forms and online discussions in the wake of television and/or private viewings as an important aspect of non-institutional responses to the films that are often replete with activist connotations
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