Geelong documentary Off Country to be screened during NAIDOC Week

June 29, 2022 BY

A still from Off Country, which will be showcased on SBS and NITV as part of its NAIDOC Week coverage.

NATIONAL Indigenous Television (NITV) and SBS are set to celebrate NAIDOC Week in a big way this year with new shows and programs showcasing First Nations people and their contribution to the arts.

The Geelong region will be showcased as part of the special programming, with Geelong-filmed documentary Off Country following the lives of seven Indigenous students over the course of one year at Geelong Grammar School.

The students battle with family tragedy, mental health and many identity issues as they move between their boarding and differing home lives.

Filmed during the 2020 school year, the documentary series combines personal storytelling with cultural and historical research as students share what it is like to be a First Nations child in Australia today.

The first-person accounts from students explore misconceptions of Indigenous people and thoughts and phrases that students feel they hear all too much.

Phrases such as “Indigenous people like to steal, they’re lazy, walk around with no shoes and are hunting kangaroos all the time” are just some of the comments addressed.

A trailer for Off Country features a parent of of the students, who says: “When she was born and I saw how dark the colour of her skin was, I realised she would have enough challenges in this world if she didn’t have the right education.”

A student at the school comments that “people doubt Indigenous Australians”.

He states: “I hope I can just push away that doubt a little bit and make people believe in us.”

The eye-opening documentary series showcases students navigating exams, social dramas, making friendships and living in a boarding school setting.

Off Country is just one of a rich selection of programs that will be showcased during NAIDOC Week, exemplifying Indigenous excellence and prowess by promoting innovative pathways in building relationships between all people both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

As the official education partner for National NAIDOC Week, SBS and NITV have curated a multi-platform NAIDOC offering, including the premiere of four-part crime drama True Colours, the NAIDOC Awards, and Australia’s first Indigenous breakfast television program, Big Mob Brekky.

Off Country will be airing weekly at 8pm from July 7.