Paul Damien Williams
2017 | 96 mins
Country of Production: Australia
Country and Culture Featured: Australia, Yolngu
NY Premiere

Born blind, the late Yolngu musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu found his voice playing music native to his Aboriginal home in northern Australia and collaborating with the beloved Australian band Skinnyfish. Within reach of international pop stardom, including invitations from the likes of Sting, Gurrumul faces a near impossible choice as his community commitments challenge the demands of his touring schedule. Will he stay home and assume a leadership role? Or travel and share his uniquely stunning voice with the world?

audio description will be available for this film program

Audio Description is available for this screening.

Co-presented by ReelAbilities Film Festival and the NYU Center for Disability Studies

With generous support provided by the American Australian Association


Resilience in Motion | In Their Own Words

“We live in frantic, distracted times. I think Gurrumul’s blindness put him on the outside of this.  His aunt Susan Dhängal Gurruwiwi notes in the film how after the initial sting of his disability abated, she become glad he was blind. Blindness enabled him to rise above the noisy static of these times and concentrate on his ancient songlines. Dhängal told me that living a traditional Yolngu life in the modern world is a political act. The continued existence of Yolngu is an act of resilience—a dogged resistance against the conforming, assimilationist natures of modernity and colonization.”

– Paul Damien Williams | Director, Gurrumul