A young girl stands in a barren landscape looking forlorn with a boy standing some distance behind her.

Coming of age classic and ground-breaking documentaries digitally restored by NFSA for Sydney Film Festival premiere!


10 May 2017

Coming of age classic and ground-breaking documentaries digitally restored by NFSA for Sydney Film Festival premiere!

Coming of age classic The Year My Voice Broke (1987) and ground-breaking documentaries Rocking the Foundations (1985) and My Survival as an Aboriginal (1978) will soon return to the big screen, digitally restored by the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), and premiering at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.

The films have received the NFSA Restores treatment. NFSA Restores is an exciting digital restoration program, to revive icons from Australian cinema. The NFSA uses the best available original picture and sound material to digitise, restore and preserve, at the highest archival standards, cult, classic and hidden gems of the Australian film industry, so they can be enjoyed in today’s cinemas, preserved for future generations.

Previous NFSA Restores feature films include Proof (1991) and Storm Boy (1976). Rocking the Foundations and My Survival as an Aboriginal are the first feature documentaries to undergo the digital restoration process.

John Duigan, writer/director of The Year My Voice Broke , said: ‘Thanks to the care and meticulous attention to detail of the NFSA, a definitive and very beautiful digital version of the film will now be preserved, and I am delighted that it will be premiered as part of the 2017 Sydney Film Festival. The work of film preservation is of incalculable value to our culture. Without it whole swathes of our film heritage, including classics from the relatively recent past, may, sooner than we think, be lost forever.’

Associate Professor Kurt Iveson, from the University of Sydney, said about Rocking the Foundations : ‘The gripping insider account of the rise and fall of the green bans will inspire anyone who cares about urban environments, and how we can make them more just and sustainable. It’s decades old, but with our current public housing sell-offs, freeway projects, and developer-friendly governments, it could not be more timely.’

My Survival as an Aboriginal is presented in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). CEO (a/g) Craig Ritchie said: ‘AIATSIS is honoured to be the custodians of the original film components on behalf of producer Martha Ansara and the Muruwarri people. They have been stored and preserved for over two decades as part of the AIATSIS Collection, the world’s most extensive collection of materials related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Preparation and provision of the original components to the NFSA was possible thanks to the wonderful work of our Moving Image team, and the project is another great example of collaboration by our two organisations.’

Tickets are available from the Sydney Film Festival website: http://www.sff.org.au.



Three NFSA Restores films will premiere at this year’s Sydney Film Festival:


Sat 10 June, 5.40pm, Event Cinemas George St cinema 8

  • Producers:  Doug Mitchell, George Miller, Terry Hayes
  • Director/Writer: John Duigan
  • Cast: Noah Taylor, Loene Carmen, Ben Mendelsohn, Harold Hopkins

This comedy-drama is both a nostalgic memoir of growing up in the countryside and a shocking denunciation of its values.  Danny (Noah Taylor) is a gawky 15-year-old, in love with his best friend, the beautiful and free-spirited Freya (Loene Carmen). They’re misfits in a country town in NSW in 1962. When Freya falls for Trevor (Ben Mendelsohn), football star and apprentice delinquent, Danny’s sexual longing turns to jealous confusion. As he tries to win her back, Danny uncovers a dark secret in the town’s past.

Detailed notes by Paul Byrnes: https://aso.gov.au/titles/features/year-my-voice-broke

Tickets: http://tix.sff.org.au/session_sff.asp?sn=The+Year+My+Voice+Broke



Sat 17 June, 3.30pm, Event Cinemas George St cinema 9

Producer/Director: Pat Fiske

Writers: Graham Pitts, Pat Fiske

Rocking the Foundations covers the New South Wales Builders’ Labourers Federation (BLF) from 1940 until its demise in 1975. Set against the massive social and political upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s – the Vietnam War, Aboriginal land rights, women’s liberation and the environmental movement – the documentary depicts how the NSW BLF membership, by using their collective power, succeeded in preventing the massive destruction of many of Sydney’s historic areas, residential neighbourhoods, public parks and harbour shore.

Detailed notes by Susan Lambert: https://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/rocking-the-foundations

Tickets: http://tix.sff.org.au/session_sff.asp?sn=Rocking+the+Foundations



Sun 18 June, 2:55pm, Event Cinemas George St cinema 8

A documentary about Indigenous woman Essie Coffey and her life in the township of Brewarrina, or Dodge City, as it is also known. It was the first documentary directed by an Indigenous woman, and it offered a solution by way of continuing cultural practice.

Producers:  Martha Ansara, Alec Morgan, Kimble Rendall, Rosalie Higson, Kit Guyatt, Annmarie Chandler, Essie Coffey

Director: Essie Coffey

Detailed notes by Romaine Moreton: https://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/my-survival-aboriginal

Tickets: http://tix.sff.org.au/session_sff.asp?sn=Feminism+Film%3A+Culture+Colla…



John Duigan and NFSA Curator Gayle Lake are available for media interviews. Please contact NFSA National Media Manager Miguel Gonzalez for more information: (02) 8202 0114, 0404 281 632, or miguel.gonzalez@nfsa.gov.au.



Download: Restored Australian classics to premiere at SFF 2017 - media release