Wednesday, 1 July 2015

DEAR AFI: Please Consider Rolf de Heer

To the Australian Film Institute,

I would like to make a recommendation for the 2015 recipient of the Longford Lyell Award. Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer has made numerous invaluable contributions to Australian screen culture, particularly in the sorely underrepresented realm of Aboriginal cinema. His films have sensitively portrayed Aboriginal culture so that it may appeal to and beguile even international audiences, being well received at numerous international film festivals including Cannes Film Festival and Venice FIlm Festival. These films have shed light not only on the rich and cultivating history of Aboriginal culture in such features as "Ten Canoes" but also the tentative modern condition in his recent work "Charlie's Country". His endeavours have also featured a most unique collaborative stream with renowned Australian actor David Gulpilil, the result being resounding pieces of cinema which ring true to Aboriginal custom, illustrating the manner in which colonisation has shaped its contemporary condition. His works have illuminated the all-encompassing faculty of cinema as a means of educating audiences on multi-faceted issues which plague society today and which yield no simple solutions.

Rolf de Heer strives and succeeds to creating not only important films but films which provoke and stimulate its audiences into appreciating native Australian culture. He has fostered significant interest and attention to a salient sector of Australian culture, serving as both reminder and inspiration. For Rolf de Heer to be presented with the Longford Lyell Award would be a timely recognition of his singular efforts to an area of cinema at risk of being marginalised.

I hope that you will consider Rolf de Heer for this honour as both an appreciation of his enrichments of Australian cinema and an encouragement to continue his endeavours. He may not be the only patron of Aboriginal cinema but he is surely its most qualified and dedicated guardian.

Kind regards,


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