In its inaugural year, the Northern Territory Film festival celebrates Balang T Lewis – and helps NT communities watch their stories on screen

As dusk falls on the small community of Beswick, children gather in a circle to dance, impromptu, to the didgeridoo. In the air is the sweet, thick taste of anticipation. Tonight, the inaugural Northern Territory Travelling Film festival (NTTFF) – consisting of a giant al fresco inflatable screen, blown up by hand in each of the 10 Indigenous communities it lands in, covering about 8,400 kilometres – is coming to town.

But there is another reason for the feeling of tension. Billed in the program is Finding Maawirrangga, the 2017 documentary in which actor and musician Balang T Lewis – the star of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith – returns to his grandmother’s country to learn his songlines.

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