A stylised image featuring Eddie Mabo superimposed over an image of Eddie Mabo and his lawyers outside a court

NFSA presents Mabo: Life of an Island Man online for NRW 2020


At 6:00 pm (AEST) on Friday 29 May, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) will present a free online screening of the documentary Mabo: Life of an Island Man, featuring a special Q&A with its director, Trevor Graham. The screening is the latest in the NFSA Live series of online events and has been chosen to mark National Reconciliation Week 2020.

Director Trevor Graham will join NFSA Indigenous Connections Manager Tasha James for a special Q&A after the online screening, reflecting on the making of the documentary, his friendship with Mabo and the ongoing legacy of the 1992 decision.  

Mr Graham said: "Mabo Life of an Island Man is a love story. Eddie Koiki Mabo loved the island of Mer, his birthplace, but equally he loved his wife and family. His loves were the inspiration for him to fight his historic court battle, the Mabo Case, that once and for all overturned the historic fiction of terra nullius, that Australia was ‘an empty land’ prior to conquest by the British. Eddie Mabo changed Australia forever".

Originally released in 1997, Mabo Life of an Island Man tells the private and public story of Indigenous land rights campaigner Eddie Mabo. On 3 June 1993 the High Court of Australia decided in favour of Mabo’s native title claim, overturning the doctrine of terra nullius and recognising native title for the first time in Australia. Tragically, Mabo died of cancer a few months before the landmark decision. Please be advised that the documentary contains names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In 2017 the NFSA digitally restored Mabo Life of an Island Man as part of its NFSA Restores program, which seeks to digitise, restore and preserve Australian films.  

The online screening of Mabo Life of an Island Man was chosen to mark National Reconciliation Week, which spans from 27 May to 3 June every year. The theme for 2020 is ‘In This Together’.

Register now to be reminded by email before we go live. The live stream will be available at https://live.nfsa.gov.au. Viewers will be able to ask questions for the Q&A via live chat on the night, or by emailing comms@nfsa.gov.au by COB on Thursday 28 May 2020.
Interviews and more information are available. Please contact Publicity Officer Katharine Nicholson on 0432 901 866 or katharine.nicholson@nfsa.gov.au.  



WARNING: this film contains names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

WHEN: 6pm AEST, Friday 15 May 2020


TICKETS: Free online event; register now to receive a reminder before the event starts: https://nfsalivemabo.eventbrite.com.au.