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In My Blood it Runs, the acclaimed documentary from filmmaker Maya Newell (Gayby Baby), will release in cinemas nationally from February 20.
The film opens February 20 at selected screens in NSW, VIC, SA, ACT, QLd and NT, and also screens at the Perth Festival from early February.
In My Blood it Runs premiered at HotDocs in Canada and was selected for the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals before also screening at the United Nations last year where the twelve year old star fo the documentary, Dujuan Hoosan became the youngest person ever to address the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The film is a compassionate, complex and insightful observational documentary about Dujuan, an extraordinary 10-year-old Arrernte/Garrwa boy from central Australia.
Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him we see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police. As he travels perilously close to incarceration, his family fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside his western education lest he becomes another statistic. We walk with him as he grapples with these pressures, shares his truths and somewhere in-between finds space to dream, imagine and hope for his future self.
Director Maya Newell’s first feature Gayby Baby (Hot Docs, Good Pitch Australia, London BFI), sparked a national debate in Australia when it was banned in schools. Told through the lens of four children in same-sex families during the fight for Marriage Equality, the film offered the voice of those being ignored. Made in collaboration with Dujuan and his family, In My Blood It Runs tackles another heated topic, First Nations education and juvenile justice and places the missing voice of children front and centre.
Filmed candidly and intimately, we experience this world on the fringes of Alice Springs through Dujuan’s eyes. Dujuan’s family light candles when the power card runs out, often rely on extended family to drop around food and live alongside the ingrained effects of colonization and dispossession. Every day in the classroom, Dujuan’s strength as a child-healer and Arrernte language speaker goes unnoticed. While he likes school, his report card shows a stream of ‘E’s, which make him feel stupid. Education is universally understood as a ticket to success, but school becomes a site of displacement and Dujuan starts running away from the classroom.
In stark contrast to his school behaviour, on his ancestral homeland surrounded by his family, Dujuan is focused, engaged and learning. We begin to see Country as a classroom – a place where the resilience can grow and revolution is alive.
Dujuan spoke eloquently at the United Nations in September last year about the Australian education and youth justice systems that harm Aboriginal children. Dujuan, Maya Newell and Dujuan’s grandmother and father also met with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Their message builds on the voices of legal, health and child rights organisations calling on Australian Governments to raise the age of criminality responsibility in Australia and build support for a First Nations led education system that privileges first language and culture.
On opening week in cinemas, Dujuan and his grandmothers will also travel to Federal Parliament House in Canberra where they will screen the film to MPS. Dujuan wants meet with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and share his story, and vision for change as articulated at the United Nations in September.
“Adults don’t listen to kids like me, but we have important things to say. I want to go to Parliament and show the Prime Minister my movie so he can make things better for us kids, stop cruelling 10 year old kids in jail. Make schools that are run by Aboriginal people. And stop the racism in Australia.” he said
In My Blood it Runs was directed by Maya Newell and produced by Sophie Hyde, Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson, Larissa Behrendt and Maya Newell.