A telemovie documenting Eddie Mabo’s land rights battle – Mabo – is set to begin production later this month.

The program will chronicle the Torres Strait Islander’s ten-year battle with the High Court to overturn the concept of terra nullius and recognise native title in Australia.

Director Rachel Perkins of Blackfella Films said: “This is an iconic story in the tradition of great Australian tales – how a man and his wife and mates profoundly changed the nation”.

Eddie Mabo’s campaign for Indigenous land rights was sparked by his discovery that he was not legally recognised as the owner of the Murray Island land, despite it having been passed down to him over 15 generations. His fight for legal acceptance of Indigenous land ownership came at a great personal cost to him and his family.

The ABC TV/Blackfella Films co-production will star Jimi Bani (The Straits, R.A.N) as Eddie Mabo, with Deborah Mailman (Offspring, The Secret Life of Us) playing his wife, Bonita.

It will also star Colin Friels (The Eye of the Storm, Bastard Boys), William McInnes (East West 101, Curtin), Miranda Otto (The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, South Solitary), Ewen Leslie (Love My Way, Kokoda) and Tom Budge (Bran Nue Dae, The Pacific).

Mabo goes into production on October 24 and will be aired on ABC1 in 2012. The telemovie was scripted by Sue Smith (Bastard Boys, R.A.N), and will be filmed on Murray Island and in Townsville, Brisbane and Canberra.

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