Celebrate NAIDOC Week 2021 With These Films, Documentaries and Specials


The theme for NAIDOC Week 2021 is Heal Country! and calls for every person to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

Additionally, the annual event also seeks substantive institutional, structural, and collaborative reform — something that we can all agree is long overdue.

Although the celebration is designed to acknowledge and champion the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NAIDOC is for every Australian and the perfect time to learn more about the people to whom this gorgeous country belongs.

If you are interested in taking the opportunity to support and uplift the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, while learning more about their history and the issues most important to them, there are a range of shows and documentaries where you can start.

For the third year running, SBS will be the official National NAIDOC Principal Media Partner and official Education Partner, with the network offering a fantastic selection of programming to educate and inspire.

History Bites Back

Not to be missed is the premiere of History Bites Back — which is directed, written and presented by Trisha Morton-Thomas. She is joined by Craig Anderson, Steven Oliver and Elaine Crombie to bite back at negative social media comments and steer the conversation towards the historical context of the fortunes and misfortunes of Indigenous Australians – from social security, citizenship and equal wages to nuclear bombs and civil actions.

The docu-comedy will air on Sunday 11 July at 8:30 pm on NITV and SBS VICELAND.

History Bites Back

The National NAIDOC Awards

The National NAIDOC Awards recognise individuals who have contributed their talents, expertise, knowledge and lives to the First Peoples of this land.

The awards had to take a hiatus in 2020 but if you tune in to NITV from 6.30pm on Saturday 3 July, you can catch all the stars on the red carpet, before the awards air on NITV and SBS VICELAND from 7.00pm.

Following the award show, The NAIDOC Awards Aftershow will start at 9.00pm with Bianca Hunt, Tyrone Pynor and Gilbert McAdam wrapping up the night, and interviewing all of the winners.

Rabbit Proof Fence and More 

On the film front, SBS World Movies will host a curated collection of acclaimed Australian cinema telling First Nations stories with Rabbit Proof Fence, Jasper Jones, Ten Canoes, Samson & Delilah and Goldstone each airing at 9.30pm, Monday 5 July to Friday 9 July.

This is in addition to NITV’s selection of must-see movies such as From Sunday 4 July at 9.30pm each night, NITV will air a selection of powerful dramas, including The Tracker, Samson & Delilah, Sweet Country, Manganinnie and Tudawali, with one airing each night at 9.30pm from Sunday 4 July.

Rabbit Proof Fence


On Friday 9 July, NITV and SBS World Movies will premiere Ivan Sen’s Goldstone in a simulcast across the channels.

The critically acclaimed film centres on Indigenous detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) who arrives in the town of Goldstone to search for a missing person, but finds his job becomes complicated when he uncovers a web of crime and corruption.

The film explores the themes of Aboriginal relations, human trafficking, the human greed behind corporate corruption and cultural destruction through the lens of the Western genre.

While SBS and NITV will be offering stellar programming during NAIDOC Week 2021, the time is always right to dive into the history and culture of First Nations People. For that reason, we suggest checking out the following documentaries too.

First Australians, the Untold Story of Australia

This seven-part documentary, directed by Beck Cole, chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia from the perspective of its First People.

First Australians is an investigation of what happened when the oldest living culture in the world was overrun by the world’s greatest empire.

You can watch it on SBS On Demand.


The Australian Dream

Directed by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Daniel Gordon, The Australian Dream centres around retired AFL star Adam Goodes who left the sport he loved and embarked on an advocacy journey after enduring racial abuse during a game. 

An activist for Indigenous causes, Goodes spoke out about his experience and was met with the heartbreaking fact that Australia is often incapable of and unwilling to confront its own problematic past.

You can watch it on Apple TV, Google Play or Amazon Prime.

For SBS and NITV’s full line-up of NAIDOC Week 2021 programming, head to sbs.com.au

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