Institutional Racism Faced By a Young Aboriginal Boy and Biases in Australia’s Juvenile Justice Reform Are Confronted in "In My Blood it Runs," Premiering Monday, September 21 on PBS Television Series POV
At time of filming 100% of Children in Juvenile Detention in Australian State Were Aboriginal
New York, NY, September 3, 2020 – Set in Australia’s Northern Territory, In My Blood it Runs follows Dujuan, a young Aboriginal boy with a spiritual connection to, and vast knowledge of, his cultural ancestry. At home in Alice Springs, Dujuan is surrounded by his loving family, which includes his mother, his two brothers, and his maternal grandmother Nana Carol, with whom he has a special bond.
A Co-Presentation of Pacific Islanders in Communications, the filmmakers poetically capture Dujuan’s complicated journey from boyhood to adolescence. Despite being a talented healer, hunter and fluent in three languages, Dujuan is failing in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare authorities and the police. As he veers perilously close to incarceration, his family fights to give him a strong Aboriginal education alongside his western education. Dujuan’s family were an integral part of the collaborative model of filmmaking and the story is told from his point of view. We walk with him as he grapples with these pressures and shares his truths.
In an early scene, Dujuan is at his western school being taught how Australia was “discovered”, however, he knows that Aboriginal people were there first and that his history is absent from the teaching. That theme of being torn between two worlds, and the painful legacy of colonization is present throughout.
“I was born a little Aboriginal kid. That means I had a memory, a memory about Aboriginals. I just felt something. A memory. History. In my blood it runs,” Dujuan says in an opening voice over.
Directed by award-winning Australian filmmaker Maya Newell, In My Blood it Runs has its national broadcast debut on the PBS documentary series POV and pov.org on September 21, 2020 at 10 pm (check local listings). POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, now in its 33rd season.
“In My Blood it Runs takes on another heated national debate; about how Australia treats Indigenous children; and presents a missing voice – the voice of the kids themselves,” said filmmaker Maya Newell, whose first feature documentary Gayby Baby, was banned in Australian schools by the government and spurred a national debate about the welfare of children raised by same-sex parents. “It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to learn from Dujuan over these years. I have often been inspired by Dujuan’s courage to speak his truth to the camera.”
“I’ll always remember Dujuan,” said Chris White, executive producer of POV. “That’s the kind of indelible character he is - his vibrant spirit and youthful intelligence take hold of you. As he straddles two worlds and confronts a kind of cultural erasure, his youthful rebellion will fill you first with fear, but ultimately hope for his future.”
At the time of filming in Australia’s Northern Territory, one hundred percent of children in juvenile detention were Aboriginal. The prejudice that Aboriginal people face in Australia mirrors the experience of African Americans in America, and the film intercuts footage of protestors carrying signs with statements like “Hands off Aboriginal Kids” at a Black Lives Matter march in Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia.
In My Blood It Runs looks beyond the “problem” to see the people. Instead of seeing this Aboriginal boy as a “criminal,” we see a child who has experienced systematic abuse; instead of “bad parents,” we see a family who has been systematically stripped of all agency yet undeniably love their kids; instead of a “failure” at school, we see a child whose talents have been completely overlooked. And crucially, this child observes the inequality of the world with which he is presented.
About the Filmmakers
Director, Producer: Maya Newell
Collaborating Directors: Dujuan Hoosan, Margaret Anderson, Megan Hoosan, Carol Turner, James Mawson
Producer: Sophie Hyde
Producer: Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson
Producer: Larissa Behrendt
Cultural Executive Producer: Felicity Hayes
Associate Producers: Lisa Sherrard, Alex Kelly
Editors: Maya Newell, Bryan Mason, Simon Price
Original Score: Benjamin Speed
Impact Producers: Alex Kelly, Maya Newell
Executive Producers for POV: Justine Nagan, Chris White
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. It's on POV where American television audiences were introduced to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, The Act of Killing and American Promise and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Nanfu Wang, and Laura Poitras. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries.
Over a generation, POV has championed accessibility and innovation in nonfiction storytelling. POV Engage works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present hundreds of free screenings every year, inspiring dialogue around today's most pressing social issues. The series' interactive arm, POV Spark, creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling and programming, redefining U.S. public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers.
POV films and projects have won 38 Emmy Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
American Documentary, Inc. (www.amdoc.org)
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Open Society Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Acton Family Giving, Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Charitable Trust, Park Foundation, Sage Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
“Colonialism is a war that began hundreds of years ago and never ended. Its modern tactics and its weapons are noted with precision in the ferocious documentary, In My Blood It Runs.”
“Voices rarely raise, but the film still vibrates with fury.”
– Teo Bugbee, The New York Times
Maya Newell’s “masterful portrait of growing up Indigenous.”
– The Guardian