Why Analyse Impact of Indigenous Film? Kelrick Martin’s ‘Prison Songs’

Listen to the Voice of Max, an educated, well-to-do, moreover cultured, albeit drug-addled, detainee confined to Six Years term for ‘blagging’.

Hear the Wails of Malcolm, whose rapacious appetite for alcohol fuelled his Four Year incarceration.

Tune in to Dale, whose dual-heritage Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian identities, a source of alienation, and familial experiences of domestic violence predicated his Four and a Half Year sentence.

Rooted in poignant, intimate stories and diffused, albeit engaging, subversive musical interventions towards discrimination, disadvantage and persecution, the observational document (or, rather, resource) of Prison Songs’, with its raw, yet captivatingly touching, quasi-poetic lyricism, recounts for the over-represented incarcerated Indigenous Australian Peoples; in Berrimah Prison in this instance. The ‘brainchild’ of Kelrick Martin, Prison Songs serves, as a radically-expansive approach towards this ‘infotainment’ format, to aid a raised consciousness on disproportionately excessive internment-centric Indigenous issues, including domestic violence; cultural, in addition to social, isolation; mental, as well as physical, health; alcohol and/or drug misuse; criminal activities; racial discrimination; and poverty.


By virtue of Martin’s incandescent, albeit provocative, musical sensibilities, whereby, as a powerful platform for storytelling, prisoners ‘sing their hearts out’ through variegated genres, Prison Songs, in vein of Brian Hill, encourages, as if by osmosis, a complex, yet talented, Indigenous creative community to attract, confront and, thus, enrich a non-Indigenous Australian audiences’ unconsciously festered, distorted understandings of Indigenous Australian Peoples.

Insofar as to achieve this through such deceptively engaging modes of topical musical, as well as lyrical, productions, Martin needs to measure, by way of its ‘Education and Outreach Strategy’, the impact and scope of Prison Songs’ success to better inform, and guide, audiences, supporters and services that address the behind-the-scenes motives at work towards the over-representation of incarcerated Indigenous Australian Peoples.

Have You Ever Misread, or, Worse, Confused an Indigenous Film’s Motivation?

Dig In and Circulate the Cause!

Thomas Joannides


Image Source: http://outdoor.lunapalace.com.au/


Documentary Australia Foundation n.d., Prison Songs, Documentary Australia Foundation, accessed 23 October 2016, <https://www.documentaryaustralia.com.au/films/2851/prison-songs&gt;
Laurie, V 2016, SBS Documentary Prison Songs Tells Inmates’ Tales in Their Own Words, The Australian, accessed 23 October 2016, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/television/sbs-documentary-prison-songs-tells-inmates-tales-in-their-own-words/news-story/f75d1fa01af037f3ea4c747079cd573a&gt;
Martin, K 2016, Telling Indigenous Incarceration Stories Through Song, Interview with Samantha Jones on May 16, Right Now, accessed 23 October 2016, <http://rightnow.org.au/interview-3/telling-indigenous-incarceration-stories-through-song/&gt;
Prison Songs 2016, Prison Songs, accessed 23 October 2016, <http://prisonsongs.com.au/&gt;


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