Larissa Behrendt’s documentary Araatika: Rise Up!, to make its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, explores how a group of NRL greats came together to invent a new pre-game ceremony in response to the Maori Haka – one that could celebrate First Nation cultures.

After fellow Indigenous players Preston Campbell, Timana Tahu and George Rose devised their own pre-game performance, Dean Widders began a journey to bring this dance – and First Nations pride more broadly – to the game.

So far, his advocacy has garnered support from the Indigenous All Stars league, but his dream is to have Australia’s national team adopt this unifying battle cry.

Araatika: Rise Up! will be released theatrically via Madman Entertainment, before airing on NITV. It is produced by Sam Griffin for EQ Media Group, and executive produced by Brendan Dahill and Paul Wiegard. Financed with support Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the NRL.

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