Hunter Page-Lochard and Bangarra dancers in SPEAR - photo by Edward MulvihillA contemporary Aboriginal story told through movement and dance, SPEAR is Stephen Page’s directorial debut feature film, collaborating with dancers and creatives from his highly acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre to bring a visually stunning dance work to the screen.

A unique cinematic experience, SPEAR draws on Stephen Page’s formidable 25 years spent as Artistic Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, where he has been interpreting the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians for global stages.

SPEAR follows Djali (Hunter Page-Lochard) a young man from the Australian outback to the streets of Sydney on his quest to understand what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world. Despite the fragmentation of Indigenous cultures, it is in the complex interconnection between places that Djali will ultimately discover his own power – a power linking past, present and future.

Featuring performances by leading Australian talents including actor Aaron Pedersen (Mystery Road), Yolngu songman and Bangarra cultural consultant Djakapurra Munyarryun (Ochres), and the dance ensemble of Bangarra Dance Theatre, SPEAR was co-written by Stephen Page and Justin Monjo (Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door).

Produced by John Harvey, it is the first feature film to be produced in Australia by an Indigenous filmmaker, and features original music by David Page, Head of Music at Bangarra Dance Theatre.

“We’re all so proud of the film – making it was new territory and now to see it being embraced by audiences from Toronto to Sydney is incredible,” says Director Stephen Page. “It was a true collaboration of artists from the film and dance worlds, coming together with their collective spirits and talents, to bring this story from stage to screen.”

Celebrating it’s 25th anniversary in 2014, Bangarra’s dance technique is forged from over 40,000 years of culture, infused with contemporary movement. The company’s 16 dancers are professionally trained, dynamic artists who represent the pinnacle of Australian dance. Each has a proud Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background, from various locations across the country.

Bangarra’s relationships with Indigenous communities are the heart of the company, with it’s repertoire created on country and stories gathered from respected community Elders. It’s this inherent connection to land and people that makes Bangarra unique and enjoyed by audiences from remote Australian regional centres to New York. 

Bangarra’s annual program includes a national tour of a world premiere work, performed in Australia’s most iconic venues; a regional tour allowing audiences outside of capital cities the opportunity to experience Bangarra, and an international tour to maintain its global reputation for excellence.

Complementing the touring roster are education programs, workshops and special performances and projects, planting the seeds for the next generation of performers and storytellers. Authentic storytelling, outstanding technique and deeply moving performances are Bangarra’s unique signature. 

SPEAR is screening nationally. For more information, visit: www.spear-film.com.au for details.

Image: Hunter Page-Lochard and Bangarra dancers in SPEAR – photo by Edward Mulvihill