Jagera elder, political trailblazer and the first Aboriginal parliamentarian Neville Bonner will be featured on this Sunday’s episode of the NITV and SBS series “Rebel with a Cause.”
The series focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander change makers, with other episodes focusing on magistrate Pat O’Shane, poet Oodegeroo Noonuccal, and media Icon Tiga Byles.
Douglas Watkin directed Sunday’s episode on Mr Neville Bonner and says he wanted to tell the parliamentarian’s story through a black lens.
“I guess we all as blackfellas grew up watching Neville Bonner on TV and that was our connection.
However one of the things the way the story is told, is that most of those stories and news reports that you’ve heard and saw was through a ‘news lens’ a product of it’s time.
Now we have the opportunity to go back and unpack that and actually play the full interviews.
We had access to the original interview with Neville Bonner that was sourced out was actually part of a half-an-hour documentary, we were able to unearth the original unedited four-hour documentary.
He said a lot of things very poignant and stuff that would resonate today.
One of the things that really got me was that (he said) ‘we’ve got to have a voice to parliament’ he was actually saying that.”
Mr Watkin says that he wants audiences to take away a new sense of perspective on the current political climate.
“With the referendum that is looming on us at the moment, I think people will be able to take away and actually have a bit of perspective of the reason why we need to have a voice to parliament.
One of the things I want people to see is to get a bit of a fresh perspective or a black lens perspective on someone who was ahead of their time.”
Rebel with a cause has made the film festival circuit including being featured in the Melbourne International film festival.
Mr Watkin says the responses have been great so far.
“It’s been good, there’s been tears, I remember there was one person who was basically crying, not realising ‘wow I had no idea he was up against that kind of opposition’
Because again you’re use to the journalism and the sensationalism of the time.
And now were seeing it in a more retrospective way and it has more meaning.”
You can catch the episode on NITV and SBS this Sunday at 9.10pm or on SBS On Demand.
Image credit National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA)