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Indigenous creatives set to feature at AACTA Festival

Phoebe Blogg -

The spotlight will be shone on several First Nations creatives at this year's Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Festival, which is taking place on the Gold Coast next month.

Celebrating Australia's vibrant screen industry, the four-day festival will host more than 70 events featuring everything from conversation panels, meet and greets and interactive activities and screenings.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) chief executive, Damian Trewhella, said the Festival is a must-attend event for anyone who loves Australian film, television, music, gaming, art, and pop culture.

"We are excited to present more than 70 events over four days celebrating the excellence of our industry. From red carpet glamour to workshops and a special kids line-up, its an invitation for everyone to step into the magic of storytelling and creativity," Mr Trewhella said.

On February 9 the festival program will welcome a series of talented First Nations creatives across all areas.

Actor, writer, director and producer, Aaron Fa'aoso and Screen Queensland's Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program, Danielle Ah Boo will host a dynamic discussion on the power of documentary in providing forums for truth-telling, whilst cast and crew from Jub Clerc's debut feature film Sweet As, will share their stories, experiences and learnings from the film.

Leah Purcell starring in High Country. (Image: Supplied)

On February 11 festival goers can hear from one of Australia's leading actresses, Leah Purcell, who boasts award-winning roles in theatre, film, and television.

Purcell headlines the upcoming BINGE Original drama series High Country on which she also serves as Executive Producer and Cultural Advisor.

High Country is Purcell's first lead role in a television series in which she headlines an international cast including Ian McElhinney, Sara Wiseman and Aaron Pedersen.

A proud Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman from Queensland, Purcell has received 26 awards and 11 nominations throughout her career for her work as an actor, writer, director and producer as well as the 2021 Member of the Order of Australia.

Also taking place on February 11 is the festival's First Nations Storytelling event.

Hosted by radio personality and journalist Rhianna Patrick, a panel of First Nations writers from both screen and print will take to the stage to discuss the importance of preserving First Nations stories and their experiences producing their own works.

Brisbane-based screenwriter and author, Tristan Michael Savage (Rift Breaker), experienced filmmaker Richard Jameson (CEO of Wirrim Media), and multi-award-winning writer Lystra Rose (The Upwelling), will sit and share their careers and connections to authentic First Nations storytelling.

"The AACTAs festival will provide more ways to showcase and celebrate the best of Australian storytelling and the incredible talent powering it," said Foxtel Group chief content and commercial officer and BINGE managing director, Amanda Laing.

Cast and crew from Jub Clerc's debut feature film Sweet As will share their experiences at AACTA Festival. (Image: Screen Australia)

Known as Australia's only independent, member-based, national screen organisation that represents all differing screen crafts, AACTA is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at promoting, encouraging, and celebrating screen excellence in Australia.

For more than 60 years, the AACTA Awards (formerly the AFI Awards) have recognised and celebrated Australia's highest achievements in film, television, documentary, short form, and digital content.

The AACTA Awards are Australia's most prestigious screen ceremony, embracing a diverse range of screen productions and recognising some of the biggest and brightest names in the industry.

AACTA Festival will run from Thursday 8 February to Sunday 11 February with events on each day. All events will be held at Home of the Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast with the majority free of charge.

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