Australia, 2016 (MIFF 2016, Australian Showcase)

Director: Steven Mcgregor

Herein lies the secret history of slavery in Australia.

During the time of the Stolen Generations, thousands upon thousands of Aboriginal girls were taken from their families and pressed into domestic servitude by the Australian Government. They were supposedly employed as servants, but with total control over their movements, wages and living conditions, their lives all too frequently became an inescapable cycle of abuse, rape and enslavement, with consequences that echo powerfully to this day.

Recounting the stories of five of these women – Rita, Violet and the three Wenberg sisters – Servant or Slave is a commanding piece of first-person testimony to a dark and unacknowledged corner of Australian history. Shot with admirable craft and humanity by documentarian Steven McGregor (Croker Island Exodus, MIFF 2012), Servant or Slave is a work of great sadness and urgency, bringing to forceful life the human tragedy of Australia's Indigenous history in the unadorned words of those who lived it.

Gus Berger will host a Q&A with Steven McGregor at the session on 1 August.

See also...


"Bodybuilding is hidden and so quiet in Australia because the dominating sports are NRL and AFL and the bloody cricket … I want to shine a light on this sport where the people train just as hard as an... More »


"To care for someone means to care for life." – Deirdre Croft ... 35-year-old Richard Rook, who has lived with a severe intellectual disability since birth, has always relied on the care and love of h... More »


Strong and independent, Suzy is a black belt in karate who built her own house in her early 20s. Her husband Jon has climbed Mt Everest, explored the North and South Poles and walked unassisted across... More »


"How many recent Australian drama films strike us as evocatively moody, eerily disquieting, rigorously intelligent, and fluently cinematic? Sotiris Dounoukos achieves all this in Joe Cinque's Consolat... More »

GIRL ASLEEP - The Age Critics' Award Screening

"Wide awake to the wonder, terror and giddy confusion of being a 14-year-old adolescent in 1970s Australia, Rosemary Myers' Girl Asleep is a strange, savvy, big-hearted teen adventure … unquestionably... More »


In the desolate reaches of an Aboriginal community, is the life of a ten year old already spent? ... Amidst the physically, emotionally and spiritually empty spaces of Toomelah, one of Australia's mos... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director