Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra
Firestarter documents thirty years of Australia’s most successful contemporary dance company, Bangarra, from formation to First Nations cultural powerhouse. The film recognizes Bangarra’s founders and tells the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers — Stephen, David and Russell Page — led the company’s spectacular growth. But as Firestarter reveals, the company’s (inter)national success came at a huge personal cost. As it enters its fourth decade Stephen must lead the company alone, finding a way to channel grief and sorrow into the strength to forge ahead, with a new generation of Indigenous dancers relying on his genius to tell their stories. Through the eyes of the brothers and company alumni, Firestarter explores the loss and reclaiming of culture, the burden of intergenerational trauma, and – crucially – the power of art as a messenger for social change and healing.
Wayne Blair, Nel Minchin