Blacktracker 1996

Blacktracker is based on Michael Riley’s grandfather Alexander Riley, a legendary tracker who worked for the NSW Police Force from 1911 to 1950. In 1943 Tracker Riley was awarded the highest police award, the King’s Medal for Distinguished Service, and this film is a tribute to his achievements. Blacktracker combines Bernadette Yhi Riley’s research of her grandfather with a dramatised narrative of Tracker Riley’s solved murder cases and achievements in finding people lost in the bush. It was shot with the involvement of many family members, was written and directed while Riley was working with ABC Television’s Aboriginal Programs Unit and stars renowned actors including the late Bill Hunter. Riley won a Tudawali Award, sponsored by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), for Direction in a Documentary for the 30-minute film and Blacktracker went on to inspire Rachel Perkins’s award-winning film One night the moon 2001, which starred singer Paul Kelly and Aboriginal singer Ruby Hunter.

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