‘Gurrumul’ documentary made free to watch this month by Madman Films

Along with four other films, including the James Baldwin documentary 'I Am Not Your Negro'

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following story contains the name, image and discussion of a person who has died.

The acclaimed 2018 documentary capturing the life of Gumatj musician Dr G Yunupingu, titled Gurrumul, has been made available to view for free throughout June.

Independent film distributor Madman Films announced on June 5 that it was making five documentaries, including Gurrumul, free to view here until June 30 so viewers could “further [their] learning in the fight against racial injustice”.

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Madman’s move comes after the reigniting of the Black Lives Matter movement and protesters taking to the streets worldwide after the death of African-American man George Floyd in the custody of Minnesota police.

In Australia, numerous artists have spoken in support of Black Lives Matter and decried racism against Indigenous people. Protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and First Nations people have taken place recently across the country, with Sampa the Great performing at a Melbourne protest this past weekend.

Months after its premiere in April 2018, Gurrumul became the seventh highest-grossing Australian documentary of all time. The musician approved of the film, directed by Paul Williams, three days before his death on July 25, 2017 at the age of 46.

In Yolngu tradition, the name, image and voice of the recently departed is foreclosed from public use. However, Gumatj and Gälpu clan leaders made an exception for Gurrumul.

Upon Gurrumul‘s release in 2018, the musician’s friend and producer Michael Hohnen said the documentary “gives everyone insight that no-one really had before”.

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The other documentaries Madman has made available to view free this month include 2011’s Murundak: Songs Of Freedom, which explores Aboriginal protest music by following now-defunct The Black Arm Band, and Ben Strunin’s 2017 film Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy, which follows didgeridoo custodian Djalu Gurruwiwi and his son Larry’s quest to keep their songlines strong.

Also available to view are the 2016 James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson; and Marc Silver’s 2015 film 3 1/2 Minutes. Ten Bullets, which dissects the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida.

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