We Don't Need a Map

Filmmaker Warwick Thornton investigates our relationship to the Southern Cross, in this fun and thought provoking ride through Australia's cultural and political landscape.

In 2009, Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah won the Camera d'Or at Cannes and he was nominated for Australian of the Year. When asked at a press conference what his main concern would be if he received Australia's highest honour, he replied, "that the Southern Cross is becoming the new Swastika". Seven years later, Thornton takes us on a journey through this five-star constellation's astronomical, colonial and Indigenous history to the present day. For Aboriginal people the meaning of this heavenly body is deeply spiritual, a connection vividly expressed in stories from North East Arnhem Land, Katherine and the Central Desert. By contrast, the star-adorned Eureka Flag was emblematic of protest and defiance from its first appearance, a quality that caused it to be adopted by activists, and lately, the darker side of Australian nationalism. Produced by Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) and shot by Thornton and his filmmaker son, Dylan River, this poetic essay-film features interviews with tattooists, rappers, astronomers... and bush puppets. We Don't Need a Map doesn't shy away from the tough questions about the place of the Southern Cross in the Australian psyche, but Thornton's cavalier spirit and inventive filmmaking skilfully balances the provocative and the pleasurable.

Festival guests: Warwick Thornton, Brendan Fletcher

WARWICK THORNTON is a director, screenwriter and cinematographer raised in Alice Springs. His short films Going Bush (SFF 2005) and Nana (2007) premiered at Berlinale. His first feature Samson and Delilah won the Camera d'Or at Cannes in 2009 and numerous other awards. Warwick was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Imaginative, Canada in 2015. His second feature The Darkside (2013) also premiered at Berlinale. He also directed the opening segments of The Turning (2013) and Words with Gods (2013).

Travelling Film Festival Newcastle, June 23 - 25: Tickets also available for We Don't Need a Map at TFF Newcastle.

Talk: After the screening on Sunday 11 June is an In Conversation with Warwick Thornton, starting at 3.45 pm

We Don't Need a Map is also screening as part of our Opening Night Gala, secure your film and party tickets to the event of the year!

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Warwick Thornton


85 mins

English and Warlpiri, Wardaman, Dhuwala, Dhuwaya with English subtitles

World Premiere



Warwick Thornton, Brendan Fletcher

Brendan Fletcher

Warwick Thornton, Dylan River, Drew English

Andrea Lang

World Premieres, Official Competition, Environmental, Politics & Economics, Indigenous & First Nations, Screen:Black

Production Company: Barefoot Communications