Honolulu, HI -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/23/2013 -- Executive producer Thomas G. Donovan is looking for a buyer for the film rights to his 1992 Australian feature, "Jindalee Lady."
"I originally became involved with the film because I had Australian Aboriginal friends and because my friend and business associate, Briann Kearney [sic], was the screenwriter and producer," said Donovan, 84. "It's an historical document of importance in the cinema of indigenous people that is still relevant today. It has universal themes of identity (both self- and cultural), of love lost and then found, and of winners and losers. I don't have any heirs, and in this later stage of my life I'd like to see this groundbreaking project bought by an organization in a position to donate it or use it to advance the Aboriginal cause." The asking price is US $1 million.
The story is set in Sydney, Australia, about a woman of Aboriginal descent (Lauren, played by Lydia Miller) who rises to the pinnacle of success as a fashion designer (using Aboriginal designs), only to find her marriage crumbling due to her Caucasian husband's philandering (David, played by Patrick Ward). She rediscovers her Aboriginal roots through the rekindling of a relationship with an Aboriginal cinematographer she once knew (Greg, played by Michael Leslie). The film marks the first professional appearance of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, an internationally recognized dance troupe today.
The late Aboriginal director, Brian Syron, noted that the movie heralded a major victory for his community at the time: "This is very important for young Aboriginal children -- because there have never been success stories about their people. Boys have only ever had the image of the bottle and girls have only had the image of the baby." Leading lady Lydia Miller called it a breakthrough for Aboriginal filmmakers. "Aboriginal women have always been presented as victims of rape and violence. It's thrilling to think that the public will now see a positive role model." (Donovan with Brody T. Lorraine, Media Ethics, An Aboriginal Film and the Australian Film Commission, pp. 269-270.)
The film's purchase is ideal as all rights are available. A TV series based on the movie had even been discussed with ABC.
"Jindalee Lady" was invited to screen at the 1992 Inaugural Brisbane International Film Festival as part of the first Charles Chauvel Tribute, was nominated as Best Feature Film - East West Award at the 1992 Hawaii International Film Festival, and was awarded Best Feature Film at the 1992 Dreamspeakers International Film Festival in Edmonton, Canada. Wherever it showed, it played to full houses.
And as Donovan pointed out in his 2002 book with Brody T. Lorraine, Media Ethics, An Aboriginal Film and the Australian Film Commission: "'Jindalee Lady' is a series of 'firsts' and is a landmark in Australian films' history. It is the first Australian feature film to be directed by an Aboriginal, Brian Syron. It is the first Australian feature film to be composed and scored by an Aboriginal, Bart Willoughby, and the first Australian feature film with an Aboriginal Costume Designer, Stephen Fitzgerald. It is the first feature film to show Aboriginals as successful people in modern Australian society and the first time Aboriginal leaders supported a film project from its inception to its completion." (p. 11)
The plot evolved from one of a travel film of a woman in her 40s from Mount Isa, Queensland, to Darwin, Northern Territory, to one that was based on briann kearney's own modeling career and her work in the film industry. Syron (a well-known actor who had studied under Stella Adler) had also worked as a model in New York and Paris and was Aboriginal consultant as well has co-scriptwriter. He added his people's overview to the story and influenced how indigenous people would be portrayed in the film.
In his book with briann kearney, Kicking Down The Doors: A History of Australian Indigenous Filmmakers From 1968 - 1993 (2008), Syron declared that in "Jindalee Lady" it was the "first time an Aboriginal or a non-Aboriginal has shown Aboriginal people in a middle-class, melodramatic production. ... My community believes it is essential for the survival of my race that we see ourselves living in urban Australia, involved in personal and emotional issues that do not exclusively revolve around poverty and lower socio-economic groupings. Our dreaming must continue and we indigenous peoples must live in two worlds. ...'Jindalee Lady' is a film about romance and dreams because without romance and dreams my people will have nothing."
The movie is currently available through pay-per-view streaming distribution at
Contact Dave Dickey, (808) 852-8833 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for further information on purchasing the rights.