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News: In Films doc 'Firestarter' wins Adelaide Film Festival awards

Updated: May 12, 2022

Firestarter wins Adelaide Film Festival Inaugural Change Award and Audience Award

The winner of the Change Award is the outstanding documentary feature Firestarter - The Story of Bangarra.The Change Award, which attracts a $5000 cash prize, acknowledges that the most important question of our time is how to change and recognises a film each festival that celebrates social and environmental impact and expresses a desire to live in new ways.

Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra tells the origin story of the Bangarra Dance Company, one of Australia’s greatest performing arts company. It is vividly told through the eyes of its Artistic Director Stephen Page and other members of the dance company.

The film was directed by Nel Minchin and Wayne Blair and produced by Ivan O’Mahoney.

Last month, during the festival, it was announced that Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra had won the Adelaide Film Festival’s $10,000 Documentary Award and it was also announced this week that the film won the AACTA Award for Best Documentary.

Adelaide Film Festival’s CEO and Creative Director Mat Kesting said: “This is the inaugural year of the AFF Change Award and it is fitting that this first winner is for a film about an arts company that has been a leader in Indigenous self-determination and been a transformative force in artistic expression. The company has led Australia and the rest of the world’s appreciation of contemporary dance.”

Producer Ivan O’Mahoney said of the Change Award win: “Wow! For Firestarter to have been awarded the inaugural Change Award in addition to the Feature Documentary Award is a big deal. What makes this award so special to us is that it goes to heart of what films can and perhaps more often should be about: how we can all work together to shape a brighter future. Bangarra have been at the forefront of reconciliation for three decades by bringing Indigenous stories and issues to mainstream audiences in an utterly captivating way. It’s simply impossible to see a Bangarra performance and to not want to engage more with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. This film was the result of a pretty special partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and it has led to something quite unique. Winning the Change Award is certainly a terrific incentive to stay the course with social impact films!’

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