Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit main content.

Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit

Manapanmirr in Christmas Spirit 1

Paul Gurrumuruwuy; Fiona Yangathu; Jennifer Deger; David Mackenzie
2012 l 60 mins l Australia

The complex sorrows and joys of Christmas in northeast Arnhem Land, one of the largest and most isolated tracts of Aboriginal land in Australia, are imbued with the transformative cycle of life, death, and rebirth. This film examines how stories first brought by missionaries in the mid-20th century have become the basis for celebrating the enduring place of the ancestral in the modern world. Manapanmirr, an expression that refers to a state of being joined or brought together, is a theme that pervades this moving film, which grew out of the filmmakers' ongoing explorations of Yolngu image-making and aesthetics, a two-decade project of creative collaboration with Yolngu artists and performers.


Co-presented by Center for Religion and Media, NYU.

“'Manapanmirr' means to 'come together'. All of us were drawn together to tell this story. It belongs to the places and the people of Miyarrka, to each and every person you see in this project, and to the spirit of Manapanmirr.”

- David Mackenzie | Miyarrka Media

“Our stories come from the old people, they belong to the land itself.”

- Paul Gurrumuruwuy | Miyarrka Media

“It's only our story if we tell it our way. That means refusing to explain everything away in other people's terms, risking misunderstanding for truths that matter.”

- Jennifer Deger  | Miyarrka Media