The one thing Goodes never fully got over
THE Australian Dream, the highly anticipated documentary about former AFL champion Adam Goodes, will open the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.
The film, written by award-winning journalist and broadcaster Stan Grant, explores issues of race, identity and belonging from the perspective of Goodes, a dual Brownlow Medallist and indigenous rights activist.
Six years ago, Goodes demanded that a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter who'd called him an "ape" be removed from the ground, unwittingly prompting a ferocious national conversation about racism.
The film says neither Goodes, or the AFL, have ever fully recovered from the fallout.
Producer Nick Batzias, of Good Thing Productions, told Confidential: "It's a look at Australia through the prism of what Adam experienced. It also asks, how can this still happen in modern Australia?
"We know it's the Australia we're in, like it or not, but how can we move forward to the Australia we could be?"
Mr Batzias added: "I have not watched the film once without crying. Sometimes it's out of embarrassment over what went on during our watch, and when I say 'our,' I mean all Australians.
"But it's also for the fact that there are many Australians who have stood up and said 'we stand with Adam'.
"That balance is very important for the story. (Goodes and Grant) didn't want it to be didactic or polarising because that's no way to move forward."
The doco also features interviews with Eddie McGuire, Nicky Winmar, Gilbert McAdam, Nova Peris, Linda Burney.
Mr Batzias hopes the film stirs a proper conversation for change.
He said: "Regardless of what side of the political or cultural sphere you sit on, there's an overwhelming agreement that so much of this stems from a lack of understanding, and it leads to things being misread or mis-said.
"We need to have these conversation is an open forum rather than have it become a slinging match. But let's have this conversation with a bit of empathy and walking a mile in Adam's shoes."
Mr Grant said he was thrilled that The Australian Dream would have its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
"This is the story of Adam Goodes and a moment when Australia faced the worst in itself. But it is more than that - it is the story of a country and its history. A story of pain but, above all, hope," he said.
The Australian Dream is a co-production with Britain's Passion Pictures, which has won Oscars and BAFTAs for its work.
MIFF runs from August 1 to 18.