Wik vs Queensland recounts impact of groundbreaking case


A new documentary by an Indigenous Queensland-based production company will explore a confronting period in the state’s recent past with support from Screen Queensland.

Wik vs Queensland was commissioned by NITV, and supported by Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.

Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said Wik vs Queensland will engage viewers in a critical part of Australia’s history.

“The documentary examines the central role of land rights in maintaining and preserving Aboriginal language and culture, along with the actions of past Queensland governments,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The case, Wik vs Queensland, culminated on 23 December 1996 with the High Court of Australia’s landmark ruling regarding native title rights.”

“Government investment in local productions support the telling of local stories, with Wik vs Queensland focussing on an important Queensland story that reverberated nationally and globally,” the Premier said.

“This production will also showcase Queensland’s talented indigenous filmmakers and provide development opportunities for our emerging creatives.”

Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira said Wik vs Queensland was the first major documentary to be produced by Bacon Factory Films and directed by Indigenous film maker Dean Gibson.

Wik vs Queensland will film in Brisbane and in Far North Queensland in Cairns, Aurukun and Townsville,” Ms Vieira said.

Wik vs Queensland draws upon archival footage and interviews with those involved in the proceedings and those who live today on the Wik lands of the Western Cape.

Ms Vieira said Wik vs Queensland would also provide a training ground for emerging Indigenous filmmakers who will serve as attachments to the film.

“The attachments will gain a real insight into the day to day experience of making a film,” Ms Vieira said.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for the next generation of filmmakers to work on a documentary that tells a very personal story against the backdrop of a tumultuous time in Queensland’s history.”

Wik vs Queensland was developed with investment from Screen Queensland as part its commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent and growing a strong local industry.

Channel Manager of NITV Tanya Orman said, “This is an incredible untold story that defined our nation. We are pleased to be able to bring this story to life for a new generation of Australians.”

Liz Stevens, Senior Manager, Documentary, Screen Australia said, “Nearly 21 years since Wik vs Queensland played out in the High Court, this documentary offers a unique Indigenous perspective on those momentous events, with the creatives having secured remarkable access to key members of the Wik community.

“In the safe hands of director Dean Gibson, Wik vs Queensland will be appointment viewing on NITV,” Ms Stevens said.

Wik vs Queensland is produced by Bacon Factory FilmsBent 3 Land Productions and Freshwater Productions, commissioned by NITV with principal production funding from Screen Australia and in association with Screen Queensland.

Wik vs Queensland is in pre-production and will air on NITV in December 2017.