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Aboriginal Rules follows a year in the life of the Yuendumu Magpies Football Team. Their season begins in the remote Central Australian community of Papunya where the battle lines are drawn in the red dirt of the football oval. The dust, hard knocks and chaos of a bush footy grand final are all part of the complicated inter-tribal rivalry that is played out when any two teams meet. Three-time premiers in the Alice Springs 'Country' Cup, the Yuendumu Magpies are considered favourites to win this highly prized competition again. But there are problems in the team and they have a new coach - Adrian 'Simba' Nelson. Passionate and charismatic, Simba struggles to keep the team together, to get players to attend training and ultimately to achieve their goal of winning a fourth consecutive premiership on community football's biggest stage.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
They once were warriors ... and some of them still are, as this doco reveals. A frank and fresh film from the Warlpiri Media Association, the film requires no qualification; it's a darned good doco. One of the film's greatest strengths is the cinematography; using the unique light of Central Australia, Anna Cadden shows a natural eye for framing and composition. This is the cinematic tool that takes us directly to the time and place where the story unfolds.

Edited into a story of struggles, ambition, the film touches on all the dangers that young Aboriginal men face, from drugs and alcohol to social disengagement. It does so within the context of the overall story about the footy and its role. It's filled with the conflicts and tensions evident in the Yuendumu community as well as the humour.

Family and cultural roots are the most important aspects of life in this community and football is an alien element - but it replaces the tribal clashes of old, like a ceremony, with an egg shaped ball ...

This documentary was made primarily for Aboriginal people by Aboriginal people in their own voice and on their own terms. Because Warlpiri Media own all rights, the film's exploitation - and it is gaining interest in the wider community - will benefit its makers directly.

The entertaining 6-minute short film, Japu Japu, included as a bonus, is a tongue in cheek fantasy about how footy was introduced to Aboriginal culture by a ball landing in a billabong where a man and his son found it. They took it back to where it belonged - the MCG, where they watched the special 'ceremony' of those Southern tribes and brought it back to their people.

Published October 25, 2007

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(Aust, 2007)

CAST: Documentary featuring the Yuendumu Magpies football team, Sherman Spencer, Carson Brown, Sebastian Watson, Simba Nelson

PRODUCER: Rita Cattoni

DIRECTOR: Liam Campbell

SCRIPT: Liam Campbell


EDITOR: Bradley Warden, Bergen O'Brien

MUSIC: Big Bear aka Thomas Saylor

RUNNING TIME: 55 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: Bonus scenes; deleted scenes; training tips; short film, Japu Japu

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warlpiri Media: purchase ONLINE

DVD RELEASE: October 20, 2007

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