Tom Murray is a freelance film-maker, writer, and broadcaster. A graduate in Politics and Geography from Sydney University, his debut documentary film Dhakiyarr vs the King won the 2004 Dendy Awards Most Outstanding Film prize at the Sydney Film Festival, the NSW Premiers Audio-Visual History Prize, and Official Selection for the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
Tom has made remote-area documentaries in Arnhem Land, the Simpson and Strezlecki Deserts of central Australia, and in the islands of East Indonesia. His debut novel Fishing Secrets was short-listed for the 2005 Vogel-Australian Literary Award.
Leonard Retel Helmrich was born in 1959 in the Netherlands. He studied at the Netherlands Film and Television Academy in 1986 and in 1990 made his first feature film The Phoenix Mystery. Since then, Helmrich has won many international film awards and has lectured at numerous educational institutions. His documentary feature THE SHAPE OF THE MOON (2004) won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and the Joris Ivens Best Documentary Award at IDFA 2004, along with many other high level awards.
He shoots as well as directs all his own films, and has run workshops in his hand-held single shot cinema technique for film festivals and broadcasters worldwide.
Graeme Isaac is an independent producer who has worked both in documentary and in drama. He has an extensive background in cross-cultural projects and has produced many films dealing with Indigenous stories and working with Indigenous film makers and communities in Australia. He co-wrote and co-produced WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD, the first feature made in Australia with an all indigenous cast, and produced Tom Murray's documentary DHAKIYARR VS THE KING which screened in competition at Sundance. He has also worked as a creative and production consultant on 3 Indonesian feature films all of which premiered at Cannes, and is currently a shop steward (international selector) for the International public television conference Input.
In past lives he worked with the Australian Performing Group (Pram Factory) in Melbourne, was a founding member of Circus Oz, and played with the band Captain Matchbox.
Wuyal Wirrpanda - Dhudi Djapu Clan Leader
Wuyal is the leader of the Dhudi Djapu clan of NE Arnhem Land. An important elder and law man throughout Arnhem Land he is known as a djirriki, a term that loosely translates from the Yolngu as Professor. He is a celebrated artist, and combines his duties as an important ceremony leader with activist work in the wider community. Wuyal has played an important role in the Arnhem Land sea rights movement and was the key ceremony leader at the 2003 Wukidi ceremony for his grandfather Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda.
Dhukal Wirrpanda - Dhudi Djapu Elder
Wuyal's brother Dhukal is also a senior leader and law man of the Dhudi Djapu clan. A celebrated artist his work has been exhibited in the last two Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin. Along with his son-in-law, Djambawa Marawili, he has been a leading activist in the Yolngu Sea Rights native title movement, and in 2003 was the driving force behind the creation of the permanent Darwin Supreme Court memorial and Wukidi ceremony for his grandfather Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda.
Gawirrin Gumana was born in northeastern Arnhem Land in about 1930. He grew up around Gangan, near powerful sources of traditional lore and culture and alongside the continuing presence of the creative ancestors. His early life was steeped in tradition and the learning of skills such as the making of canoe voyages across the open sea to Groote Eylandt.
Gawirrin is one of the pre-eminent Yolngu Elders of N.E.Arnhem Land, with enormous traditional authority and respect, and was also a recipient of an AO for his services to his own and the wider Australian community. He is also a noted artist, and was involved in the painting of the panels in the Yirrjkala Church in '62, the precursors to the historic Yirrkala bark petition of 1963 which formally put all Australians on notice that there were people whose claims to land long predated European arrival. Gawirrin also won the Best Bark Award at the Telstra National Indigenous Art Awards in '02.