In Rhian Skirving and John Harvey’s documentary Off Country, premiering at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), Indigenous teenagers navigate exams, social dramas and maintaining meaningful connections to home while at boarding school.
Every year, around 3,000 Indigenous students receive scholarships to attend some of Australia’s most prestigious boarding schools. It is an immense opportunity, but it also means they must leave their homes and communities. Over the course of a year, Off Country follows several such students, who, despite hailing from distinct nations and having vastly different circumstances, each share a commitment to doing themselves and their families proud–no matter the difficulties.
Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, the film captures the tremendous pressures these students face – from academics and extracurriculars to sustaining ties with kin and culture, all of which are further complicated by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.