Author, lawyer and Copyright Agency member Larissa Behrendt has directed a new feature length documentary After the Apology, in which she explores the alarming fact that since Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology, the number of Aboriginal children being removed from their families is much higher than during the time of the Stolen Generations.

Through the experiences of four Aboriginal grandmothers, Suellyn, Hazel, Jen and Barbara, who have each challenged the policies that have led to the removal of their grandchildren, Ms Behrendt exposes the devastating effects that can occur when children are removed from their own cultures and communities.

As the film’s synopsis reads: “Suellyn thought FACS would only remove children in extreme cases until her own grandchildren were taken in the middle of the night. Hazel decided to take on the FACS system after her fourth grandchild was taken into State care. Jen Swan expected to continue to care for her grandchildren but she was deemed unsuitable by FACS, a shock not just to her but to her sister Deb, who was, at the time, a FACS worker.

“The four grandmothers find each other and start a national movement to place extended families as a key solution to the rising number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. They are not only taking on the system, they are changing it.”

The film uses a unique form of animation to tell the stories, featuring the work of Marieka Walsh, and a verbatim-theatre style of production.

A short excerpt of the film, entitled ‘Barbara’, will be screened during the Sydney Film Festival’s  Dendy Awards for short films. To find screenings around the country, or to host your own screening, visit the Demand Film website here.

View the trailer below:

On May 28, to mark National Reconciliation Week, and in line with the Copyright Agency’s Reconciliation Action Plan, Larissa Behrendt spoke to staff of the Copyright Agency about the film and a screening was held. For more information about the documentary, see this After the Apology Screening Kit.

The Copyright Agency’s Reconciliation Action Plan pledges to connect and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators, organisations and communities to develop strong, mutually-beneficial relationships that will increase cultural education, knowledge of rights and respect for creators.