8 October 2014

New film project with directors Warwick Thornton and Brendan Fletcher to highlight Australia’s Indigenous tourism offering

New film project with director Warwick Thornton

Tourism Australia is partnering with an award winning team on a new film project promoting Australia’s Indigenous tourism experiences to international visitors. The project will see renowned Aboriginal Director/Cinematographer Warwick Thornton work with Australian director, Brendan Fletcher on a three-minute film.

Together, Thornton and Fletcher have decades of experience making films with Indigenous people. Thornton, has worked on films such as Samson and Delilah and The Sapphires. Brendan Fletcher is best known for his critically-acclaimed film, Mad Bastards.

The project, which is an initiative of Tourism Australia (in partnership with Austrade), aims to dispel some of the misconceptions that Indigenous tourism experiences can only be found in hot, dry and remote areas.

Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan said the project aimed to bring to life the range and depth of Australia’s world-class Indigenous tourism experiences on film to motivate international visitors to experience it for themselves.

“Australia’s Indigenous tourism experiences are a unique and important part of Australia’s tourism offering for international visitors,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Tourism Australia is committed to bringing Indigenous tourism experiences to the fore through its global marketing of Australia.

“Having the expertise of Warwick Thornton and Brendan Fletcher to create the film will help us share the story of our ‘Champion’ tourism product in a very compelling way and in turn increase the interest and participation in our Indigenous tourism experiences.”

Based on consumer research, the film will highlight the most popular activities for international visitors which include adventure, remote cultural immersion experiences, iconic Red Centre and outback experiences, rainforests in the tropics, and urban cultural experiences.

Speaking about the project Director/Cinematographer Warwick Thornton said, “When I first heard about the project I was incredibly excited and saw it as a great opportunity to celebrate what is so very special about this country and our indigenous culture.

“Being Aboriginal and a filmmaker I have had the opportunity to travel to a lot of different parts of our country and as part of the film project I look forward to sharing the proud stories of our people, their culture and their land so we can extend these experiences to others around the world when they are here,” Warwick Thornton said.

Director Brendan Fletcher said, “For me there’s no point going to some places unless you have the right Indigenous guide because they will open a door to a view that makes the place 10 times more meaning than if you explore it on your own. That’s what makes this project so exciting – it’s a real opportunity to open the door to that world and to share the story of our Indigenous culture through tourism and film.”

The film will be shown globally through different media channels and in high traffic areas for international visitors in Australia such as Sydney Airport. Currently, 14 per cent of international visitors to Australia participate in an Aboriginal cultural experience during their visit, worth $5.6 billion annually, a figure which Tourism Australia’s hopes to grown through the promotion of the country’s Indigenous tourism experiences.

About Warwick Thornton
Director/Cinematographer Warwick Thornton is best known for his work on acclaimed movies Samson and Delilah and The Sapphires. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Caméra d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the 2009 Northern Territorian of the Year and the 2009 Best Director and Best Original Screenplay AFI award.

About Brendan Fletcher
Brendan Fletcher is considered to be one of Australia’s most versatile and critically-acclaimed young directors. His debut feature drama Mad Bastards, which was filmed in the Kimberley, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and received numerous local awards including the 2011 Deadly Award for Best Film.

About the Indigenous Tourism Champions Program
The Indigenous Tourism Champions Program, is a joint initiative of Tourism Australia and Indigenous Business Australia in partnership with the State and Territory Tourism Organisations, to build the reputation of Indigenous tourism operators internationally through the marketing of ‘Champion’ product.

Through its international network, Tourism Australia promotes the highly appealing Indigenous tourism experiences that are part of the Indigenous Tourism Champions Program to the international travel trade and consumers.

The Indigenous Tourism Champions Program is a key pillar of Tourism Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Earlier this year Tourism Australia launched its 2014-16 RAP, with ‘stretch’ level targets to increase Indigenous employment within the organisation together with a number of other longer-term strategies to advance opportunities for Indigenous people.

For more information on the Indigenous Tourism Champions Program and Tourism Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan visit www.tourism.australia.com

Kim Moore, Tourism Australia, ph: 0419 165 562 e: kmoore@tourism.australia.com