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Award winning Yolngu film to premiere on NITV


A spear with a flint head is held by an old Aboriginal hand.
Ngambi (flint) is part of the sacred law for the Wagilak people (Photo courtesy of ARDS Aboriginal Corporation)
17 Jan 2019

Fans of quality Indigenous film making can look forward to an award winning short film premiering soon.

Ngambi, produced by the Northern Territory based ARDS Aboriginal Corporation and directed by Yolngu man Mark Watjana Ashley, will premiere at 7:00pm on Monday, 21 January on NITV as part of Songlines Series 2.

It won Best Short Documentary at the inaugural First Nations Media Awards held in Sydney in December, beating entries from much larger media organisations like the ABC. 

Ngambi, which means “flint” in the Wagilak language of southern Arnhem Land, is a valuable item in the Yolngu economy for its use in spear making. It is part of the sacred law for Wagilak people, found in their home country Ŋilipitji. The story is central to the lives of dozens of clans and communities across Arnhem Land and beyond.

The film follows Roy Wuyŋumbi Ashley, the custodian of the Songline for Ngambi and Ngilipitji, as he shares an all-encompassing story of Wagilak identity, culture and law.

Ngambi’s director Mark Watjana said that he decided to make the film because it was vital to share this story with Yolngu and Balanda.

’Our old people have passed and I was worried this knowledge was going to be lost,’ Mark said.

’I was lucky to have the custodian tell us these stories so we can pass it onto future generations.’

ARDS was also nominated in the Best Language/Culture Production section for Wata Brumalala (Cyclone Culture) at the First Nations Media Awards, showing the great talent of Yolngu film makers.

Run by First Nations Media Australia, the peak body for First Nations not-for-profit broadcasting, media and communications, the awards celebrate the creativity, talent and professionalism of Australia’s First Nations Media workers and organisations.

Find out more

ARDS Aboriginal Corporation works with Indigenous people to ensure they are able to engage on equal terms with the wider Australian society, and its organisations and systems.

The Australian Government supports ARDS Aboriginal Corporation through the Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

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