Music Takes Centre Stage At The Sydney Film Festival
A few weeks back Sydney Film Festival announced 27 of the films playing their 60th Anniversary event. As a huge lover of film and music, I find that there is just something special when the two come together as a showcase of the two mediums, which is exactly the case for two films showing at the Festival this year.
So I am here to spotlight the two music focused films, Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls and Wrong Side of the Road, that have got me excited for the Film Festival.
First up, Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls is a documentary film following the formation and rise of girl group Tiger Girls. Initially intended to be Myanmar’s equivalent of Great Britain’s Spice Girls, the Tiger Girls were formed thanks to Nicole May, an Australian artist and dancer, who saw a “gap” in Burma’s music scene whilst teaching in Rangoon orphanages and saw the need for a girl group.
Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls reveal for the first time the lives of ordinary, extraordinary young people in a country that is virtually unknown and repressed from western audiences. The film provides audiences with a unique and personal insight into the lives of five young women from a country undergoing a major social shift. After 50 years of military dictatorship, Myanmar’s first girl band faces a tough reality – when you’re finally allowed to speak, what are you going to say? Set in a struggling country where Internet is blocked and freedom is controlled, five feisty young women break free of tradition in search for an original voice and to inspire nations.
And secondly, directed by Ned Lander and first released in 1981, Wrong Side of The Road was one of fifty Australian films selected for preservation as part of the national Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection Restoration Project.
Lander also directed Dirt Cheap, a film on the political issues of uranium mining in Kakadu at the time. After viewing Dirt Cheap, people in South Australia involved with the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music contacted Lander inviting him to visit and see what was going on for a possible film opportunity, which later became Wrong Side of The Road.
Wrong Side of The Road is a film on two days in the lives of Aboriginal bands travelling from Port Adelaide to Point Pearce, facing many challenges on the way. The bands were two of the first Aboriginal bands writing contemporary style music about their own lives to a wide audience. With the band members playing themselves, the events of the film are re-enacted and based on their personal stories and experiences of their community. The film shows the revival of strong Aboriginal dignity, pride and culture and the closeness and loyalty within the black community.
Words by Luke Letourneau