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The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin


Glendyn Ivin

My friends Rhys and Tash over at Daybreak Films have recently released their latest feature documentary 'Murundak'. The film tells the story of the 'Black Arm Band' a super-group of legendary Aboriginal musicians from the past and present.  In showcasing the talents of the individuals the film charts the history of the Aboriginal protest movement and it's unique and very defined relationship to music.

I really didnt know what to expect from the film, I have no special interest in Aboriginal protest music nor is it something I would actively seek out. But Rhys and Tash have created a film that is so rich with the spirit of 'music' in general and not just a particular genre that I was soon swept away into a world I knew nothing of, but was really keen to explore and learn much more about.

The surprising thing for me and I'm sure for others, is even though I know very little about Aboriginal protest music, I have actually been quite happily exposed to it through far more popular music over the years. For example, I knew some of what the song Solid Rock was about. As a kid growing up in the 80's I loved it, but the film showed me the song in a new and very different light. It's way more than a forgotten mega hit of the 80's. It's relevance and power is just as significant now, perhaps even more so. The live version of that song that is performed in the film will stay with me for some time. Another song I'm quite familiar with is 'From Little Things Big Things Grow' which forms one of the centre pieces of the film, again I really like that song, and who doesn't, but never knew of it's history and it's significance to Aboriginal people. I like how these songs and more, exist in the mainstream and yet are very powerful political messages. I can't imagine a song like Solid Rock making it to the top 10 these days.

Having followed the making of the film from afar over the years it took to make, I know the guys really struggled in particular with the editing of the film. I think Rhys nd Tash were stuck in the edit suite for over a year (!) Trying to find the right balance of performance, interviews, historical footage, the history etc. And perhaps most importantly trying to shape a film which welcomes you in a way so you want to learn more (as apposed to a lot of films which become just advocacy for an 'issue') But watching it I could see no evidence of this creative struggle, in fact to their credit the film feels effortless in the way it flows. In this way the film actually feels like one whole piece of music.And making something so hard, look so easy is part of the filmmaking process these guys have nailed.

Murundak is currently in cinemas, check here to see if it's playing near you.