Celebrate NAIDOC Week 2023 With These Films, Documentaries and Specials

An image showing Firebite, a part of the best things to watch on TV during NAIDOC Week 2023

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2023 is ‘For Our Elders’. The idea is about paying respect to and celebrating Indigenous cultural, educational, and social leaders. With the vote on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament coming up this year, there’s never been a better time to acquaint yourself with the people who are guiding Indigenous culture.

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

“The equality that we continue to fight for is found in their fight,” the National NAIDOC Comittee said in a statement announcing the theme for 2023.

“Their tenacity and strength has carried the survival of our people. It is their influence, and through their learnings that we must that when it comes to future decision making for our people, there is nothing about us, without us.”

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. It’s an annual invitation to learn more about the people by whom this gorgeous country has been looked after for so many thousands of years.

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 number of great films, shows, and documentaries to get started with.

For the fifth year running, SBS and NITV 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.

Going Places with Ernie Dingo

An image of Going Places With Ernie Dingo, part of the best tv, films, and shows to watch during NAIDOC Week 2023
Image: NITV and SBS

Legendary Indigenous actor and comedian Ernie Dingo is returning to our screens for the fifth season of Going Places. This season sees Ernie joined by a cast of co-hosts featuring Aaron Fa’Aoso, Narelda Jacobs, Rae Johnston, and Bianca Hunt. Together they pitch in to help Ernie bring some of the country’s best-loved and best-kept secrets into our homes.

Expect to see stunning scenery and touching stories of people who know it best, with the team ranging from the Bay of Fires in Tasmania to sugarcane country in Queensland.

The 12 episode season will air weekly, starting from Saturday, 8 July at 7:30pm on NITV, SBS, and on SBS On Demand.


SBS is re-running the 2021 vampire hit Firebite so if you missed it the first time, nows the chance to catch up.

The AMC original show is set in a remote mining town in South Australia. Indigenous vampire hunters Tyson and Shanika keep the peace but find themselves in a life-and-death battle when the last vampire king pays their town a visit.

The show is a sci-fi analogy of the history of Australian colonisation and a ripping thriller to sink your teeth into.

‘Firebite’ will air weekly on NITV and SBS On Demand from Thursday, 6 July at 9:30pm.

The Point: Referendum Road Trip

An image showing The Point: Referendum Road Trip, part of the best films, TV, and shows to watch during NAIDOC Week 2023
Image: NITV and SBS

Wuthathi and Meriam man John Paul Janke and Whadjuk Noongar woman Narelda Jacobs are the hosts of NITV and SBS’s The Point. The flagship news and opinion show centring on racism and Indigenous experience will be airing a Voice to Parliament special this NAIDOC Week.

The Point: Referendum Road Trip sees the pair highlight the views of Indigenous people on the upcoming referendum. They’ve taken their show on the road to regional Queensland where they’ll be identifying issues in the community that the locals want addressing.

This is just one in a number of road trip specials that The Point is hosting this season. It’s ideal viewing for anyone who has yet to get their head around the Voice to Parliament.

The Point: Referendum Road Trip will air on Tuesday, 4 July at 7:30pm on NITV and at 10:30pm on SBS.

The SBS Elder in Residence Oration

SBS is championing a new series giving their Elder in Resident space to reflect on the importance of Eldership in the Indigenous community.

Widjabul Wia-bal woman from the Bundjalung nation, Rhoda Roberts AO, was announced as the inaugural SBS Elder in Residence in 2021. She is a revered and celebrated pioneer in the arts and creative sector and an eminent community and industry leader.

Roberts is going to be giving the first SBS Elder in Residence Oration, speaking on the continued practice of teaching and sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in this most important of years.

The one-off special will air on Sunday, 9 July at 7:30 on NITV and SBS On Demand.

Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow

Last year saw the deaths of both Uncle Jack Charles and Archie Roach: two titans of Indigenous culture in Australia and true embodiments of the concept of Elder. Their deaths were no doubt in mind when the NAIDOC Committee chose this year’s theme.

Archie Roach was a powerful Gunditjmara and Bundjalung singer-songwriter who campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Indigenous people. A portrait of his life was captured in a documentary last year that focused on his performance of Kura Tungar: Songs from the River song cycle with Ruby Hunter.

The documentary, Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow, was named as the top documentary of the year by Guardian Australia and won the AIDC 2023 Prize for Best Feature Documentary. It’s absolutely a great one to check out this NAIDOC week to reflect on this year’s theme.

You can stream the doco on AppleTV, Stan, YouTube, or Google Play Movies.

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.

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