Director Warwick Thornton shares untold story with film Sweet Country


Warwick Thornton. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Warwick Thornton. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

DIRECTOR Warwick Thornton is not one to shy away from the harsh reality of what Australian Aboriginal people have faced in the past and continue to face today.

After devastating and marvelling audiences with his tragic love story Samson and Delilah (2009), about two outcast indigenous teenagers, he is back with Sweet Country, about an indigenous man who shoots a white man in the 1920s and must face a racist community.

Thornton came to Perth recently for a sold out Q and A session at Luna Leederville that erupted with applause and a standing ovation.

He described the moment as “beautiful”.

Thornton said as an indigenous artist, he felt a responsibility to tell untold stories.

“Many Australian stories haven’t been told and the curriculum neglects a lot of stories,” he said.

“It is up to artists in general to tell these stories.”

He said he tackled tough themes and stories in his films, but did not have the luxury of leaving them behind on set because he lived them.

“I am Aboriginal; this is my life, I can’t walk away from it,” he said.

“I had a cup of concrete when I was younger and I had to harden up.”

Thornton said Perth was his last Australian stop on the tour to promote the film, with Europe next on the schedule.

“It’s a tough world; we come with a small budget and in the USA they can have $50 million on an advert campaign and hysterics,” he said.

“We have a $2 million budget and no money for our own hysteria.

“Next week I have London, Paris and Berlin, but that’s in one day, but I don’t complain because people are embracing the film.”

Sweet Country is in cinemas now.