The Fringe Dwellers

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The Fringe Dwellers
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Produced by Sue Milliken
Written byBruce Beresford
Rhoisin Beresford
Starring Kristina Nehm
Justine Saunders
Kylie Belling
Music by George Dreyfus
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Tim Wellburn
Release date
October 1986
Running time
98 minutes
BudgetA$1.26 million [1]
Box office$174,433 (Australia)

The Fringe Dwellers is a 1986 film directed by Bruce Beresford, based on the 1961 novel The Fringe Dwellers by Western Australian author Nene Gare. [2] The film is about a young Aboriginal girl who dreams of life beyond the family camp that sits on the fringe of white society (the term fringe dwellers having specific application in Australia).


The film is acclaimed as being the first Australian film featuring Indigenous actors in all the major roles.[ citation needed ] It achieved critical and international success when it was released in 1986, but gained only a lukewarm reception in Australia. [3]



Beresford had been interested in making a film from the novel since he read it in the mid 1970s, buying his copy at a second-hand book shop in London. Funding was difficult to raise but eventually was done through the Australian Film Commission and Queensland Film Corporation. [4]


The film was nominated for seven AFI Awards and won for the Best Adapted Screenplay (Bruce Beresford, Rhoisin Beresford). It was also entered into the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. [5] Some Aboriginal activists walked out of the screening at Cannes. [4]

Box office

The Fringe Dwellers grossed $174,433 at the box office in Australia. [6]

See also

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  1. Geoff Gardner, "The Fringe Dwellers", Australian Film 1978-1992, Oxford Uni Press, 1993 p197
  2. Nene Gare, The Fringe Dwellers, Sun Books, Melbourne, 1966 (first published by Heinemann, London, 1961).
  3. Australianscreen - info
  4. 1 2 David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p202-204
  5. "Festival de Cannes: The Fringe Dwellers". Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  6. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

Further reading