The Tall Man (2011 film)

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The Tall Man
The Tall Man (2011 film) poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byTony Krawitz
Produced byDarren Dale
Written byTony Krawitz
Music byDavid McCormack
Antony Partos
CinematographyGermain McMicking
Edited byRochelle Oshlack
Distributed by Blackfella Films
Release date
  • 2 March 2011 (2011-03-02)(Adelaide)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish

The Tall Man is a 2011 Australian documentary film directed by Tony Krawitz. It is about the death of Cameron "Mulrunji" Doomadgee in police custody on Great Palm Island, Palm Islands, Queensland on 19 November 2004.

Contents

The film premiered at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival. [1]

Synopsis

The Tall Man explores the community reaction and events surrounding the death of Cameron Doomadgee, a 36-year-old Palm Island man who, while walking home intoxicated singing his favourite song Who Let the Dogs Out? , was arrested for harassing and attacking public bystanders. Doomadgee was arrested by Sergeant Chris Hurley, or 'the tall man', and was 45 minutes later found dead in police custody with his liver almost split in two, four broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, severe bruising to his head and a torn portal vein. The police claimed that his death was caused by him tripping on a step and colluded to protect Chris Hurley from facing any charges over the incident.

In response to the news that police were claiming Mr. Doomadgee's death was the result of an accidental fall, up to 200 Palm Islanders rioted and burnt down the local police station, adjoining courthouse and police barracks. 80 reinforcement police officers carrying machine guns were flown in by helicopter to the island and 28 locals were arrested. Almost all of the 28 locals served jail sentences.

Due to media attention and public protests, manslaughter charges were laid against Chris Hurley, making him the first police officer in Australian history to even have to appear in court for the death of an Aboriginal Australian in police custody.

Believing themselves to be above the law and not required to be accountable for their actions, police around Australia staged protests demanding that Chris Hurley should not face prosecution. Although Chris Hurley was found not guilty at his trial, a final inquest by Coroner Brian Hine delivered an open finding, that Mr Doomadgee was assaulted, but police collusion on evidence meant that he could not determine if the death was deliberate or accidental. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Cast

Production

Script

The film's script was based on the book The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper. [6]

Casting

The film aims to include Aboriginal Australians telling their own stories in their own voices, in accordance with Blackfella Films's main objective. [3]

Despite months of negotiations, the Queensland Police Service declined to be involved and no members of the Queensland Police were willing to be interviewed. [2]

It is telling, I think, that the Commissioner of Police in Queensland still doesn't feel that he needs to talk, on the record, about one of the most important moments in race relations in our current history. That no one felt the need to give even a simple interview. I think that mirror is too big to hold up.

Darren Dale, The Sydney Morning Herald . [3]

Reviews

Margaret Pomeranz described The Tall Man as "one of the most explosive stories of our time". [7]

Awards

CeremonyCategoryResult
AWGIE Awards Best Public Broadcast DocumentaryWon [10]
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival Best DocumentaryWon [10]
Walkley Awards Best Long-form Journalism DocumentaryWon [10]
Samsung AACTA Awards Best Feature Length DocumentaryNominated [10]
AACTA Awards Best Direction in a DocumentaryNominated [10]
AACTA Awards Best Cinematography in a DocumentaryNominated [10]
AACTA Awards Best Editing in a DocumentaryNominated [10]

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Queensland Police Service police service of Queensland, Australia

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is the principal law enforcement agency responsible for policing the Australian state of Queensland. In 1990, the Queensland Police Force was officially renamed the Queensland Police Service and the old motto of "Firmness with Courtesy" was changed to "With Honour We Serve". The headquarters of the Queensland Police Service is located at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane.

Palm Island, Queensland Town in Queensland, Australia

Palm Island is a locality consisting of an island group of 16 islands, split between the Shire of Hinchinbrook and the Aboriginal Shire of Palm Island, in Queensland, Australia. The locality consists of the Palm Island group, also known as the Greater Palm group, which was originally named the Palm Isles.

Bernard Fanning Australian musician and singer-songwriter

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Aboriginal deaths in custody

Aboriginal deaths in custody became an issue of community concern in Australia because a disproportionate number of Indigenous Australians had died while being held in prisons or under the arrest of police. This concern was particularly acute in the 1980s, when there was a perception by some that these deaths were being caused, either directly or indirectly, by the police and prison authorities. There was a Royal Commission in 1987 which highlighted deficiencies in the standards of care to the deceased.

Doomadgee, Queensland Town in Queensland, Australia

Doomadgee is a town and a locality in the Aboriginal Shire of Doomadgee, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Doomadgee had a population of 1405 people.

Aboriginal Shire of Palm Island Local government area in Queensland, Australia

The Aboriginal Shire of Palm Island is a special local government area of Queensland, Australia, managed by the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council under a Deed of Grant in Trust granted to the community on 27 October 1986. It is located on the Palm Island group, off the north Queensland coast near the city of Townsville.

The 2004 Palm Island death in custody incident relates to the death of Palm Island, Queensland resident, Cameron Doomadgee on Friday, 19 November 2004 in a police cell. The death of Mulrunji led to civic disturbances on the island and a legal, political and media sensation that continued for fourteen years.

"Black Tears" is a song by Australian alternative rock band Powderfinger, from their sixth studio album Dream Days at the Hotel Existence. The song is an acoustic ballad in a folk music style, beginning with one guitar and a lead vocal, later introducing a guitar with a synthesised effect from the first chorus. Following the Dream Days at the Hotel Existence release, live versions of the song have been released on other recordings.

Chloe Hooper Australian writer

Chloe Melisande Hooper is an Australian author.

Gulf Country Region in Queensland, Australia

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The trial of Lex Wotton relates to the events surrounding the Townsville, Queensland proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court concerning the actions taken by Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council member Wotton during the 26 November 2004 Palm Island riots.

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Great Palm Island island off the North-Eastern Australian coast

Great Palm Island, usually known as Palm Island, is the largest island in the Palm Islands group off Northern Queensland, Australia. It is known for its Aboriginal settlement, once an Aboriginal reserve, which is also known by a variety of other names including "the Mission", Palm Island Settlement or Palm Community. The original inhabitants of the island were the Manbarra, also known as the Wulgurukaba. The island is also sometimes called Bwgcolman, from the name recently given to the Aboriginal people from disparate groups who were deported from many areas of the Queensland mainland to the reserve.

Chris Hurley may refer to:

Blackfella Films

Blackfella Films is a Sydney-based documentary and narrative production company, founded in 1992 by Rachel Perkins. The company produces distinctive Australian short and feature-length content for film and television with a particular focus on Aboriginal Australian stories. Its productions have included the documentary series First Australians, the documentary The Tall Man, the television film Mabo, and the TV series Redfern Now.

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<i>Wotton v Queensland</i> (No 5)

Wotton v Queensland is a class action lawsuit brought against the State of Queensland and the Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service on behalf of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders who live on Palm Island in Queensland, Australia.

<i>The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island</i> book by Chloe Hooper

The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island is a 2008 book by Chloe Hooper. It is about the events surrounding the death in custody of Aboriginal Australian man, Cameron Doomadgee. It won numerous awards and was shortlisted for many others in 2009.

Vernon Ah Kee Australian artist

Vernon Ah Kee is an Australian award-winning artist, political activist and founding member of ProppaNOW. He is an Aboriginal Australian man with ties to the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji and Gugu Yimithirr peoples in Queensland, Australia. His art practice typically focuses on his Aboriginal Australian identity and place within a modern Australian framework. He is a contemporary artist, based primarily in Brisbane, and is regarded as one of Australia's most prominent, active artists. Ah Kee has exhibited his art at numerous galleries across Australia, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. He has also exhibited internationally, most notably at the 2009 Venice Biennale and the 2015 Istanbul Biennial, having been chosen to represent Australia.

Palm Island Aboriginal Settlement, later officially known as Director of Native Affairs Office, Palm Island and also known as Palm Island Aboriginal Reserve, Palm Island mission and Palm Island Dormitory, was an Aboriginal reserve and penal settlement on Great Palm Island, the main island in the Palm Island group in North Queensland, Australia. It was the largest and most punitive reserve in Queensland.

References

  1. "The Tall Man (Film)". Creative Spirits. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  2. 1 2 "About". SBS . Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 Hawker, Philippa (12 November 2011). "A tragedy retraced". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  4. "The Tall Man: About The Show". National Indigenous Television . Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  5. "The critical events of the Mulrunji case on Palm Island". Treaty Republic. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 "Movies - The Tall Man". CreativeSpirits.info. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  7. 1 2 "The Tall Man - Press Kit" (PDF). Blackfella Films . Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  8. "The Tall Man - Timeline". SBS . Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  9. "Films & Events - The Tall Man". SIFF. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "The Tall Man". SBS . Retrieved 2 January 2015.