Australia (2022, dir. Kasimir Burgess)
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Personal entwines with political as a young Tasmanian activist follows in the literal footsteps of his late father, who in the 1980s fought to save the pristine Franklin River wilderness.

When Tasmania’s Hydro-Electric Commission planned to build a dam on the Franklin River, Launceston’s Wilderness Society mobilised to protect it, sparking a now-infamous, and ultimately victorious, campaign of blockades, protests, lawsuits and political wrangling – a campaign that was a key part of the development of the Australian Greens movement. Franklin recounts this seminal environmental protest through the eyes of Oliver Cassidy, who retraces the journey on the World Heritage–listed river taken some 40 years before by his late activist father.

Featuring former Greens leader Bob Brown, historian Aunty Patsy Cameron and entrepreneur Dick Smith, and narrated by Hugo Weaving, this formidable, MIFF Premiere Fund–supported film includes breathtaking shots of the waterway and its surrounds, enriched by never-before-seen 16mm footage. But the second long-form documentary from Accelerator Lab alumnus director Kasimir Burgess (The Leunig Fragments, MIFF 2019; Fell, MIFF 2014) isn’t solely about advocacy and conservation; with Cassidy as wayfinder, the film, like its titular river, encourages history and intimacy, legacy and longing, to freely flow.

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Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Classroom discussion points: Environment, activism, connection to Earth, sustainability, Indigenous land management, engaging in political activity / in the political landscape, making your voice heard, family connection, memories, coming to terms with who you are, gender identity
Age suitability advice: Mild violence in the context of protests and infrequent, mild coarse language
MIFF recommends this film as suitable for ages 8+