Award Winning Doc The Last Daughter Releases in June


The Last Daughter, winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2022 Adelaide Film Festival, will have a national cinema release from June 15.

The Last Daughter, co-directed by Brenda Matthews and Nathaniel Schmidt, tells Brenda’s story.  

Brenda’s first memories were of growing up in a loving white foster family, before she was suddenly taken away and returned to her Aboriginal family.

Decades later, feeling disconnected from both halves of her life, she went searching for the foster family with whom she had lost all contact.

Along the way she uncovered long-buried secrets, government lies, and the possibility for deeper connections to family and culture.

The Last Daughter is a documentary about Brenda’s journey to unearth the truth about her past, and to reconcile the two sides of her family.

Through dramatic recreations of the past and interviews with Brenda and members of her two families, unfolds a deeply emotional and healing story about love, loss and reconnection.  As Australia prepares for a referendum on an Indigenous voice to Parliament, this story of reconciliation could not be more profound or timely.

The film has been brought to screen through collaboration between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal cast and crew.  At the heart of our collaboration is the Aboriginal cultural framework: the Banaam Framework.  All members of the team were educated in and agreed to operate within the framework. It’s a relational-based role and function framework, not a hierarchical one. The knowledge of this framework is held by Kyle Slabb (Executive Producer/Cultural Advisor).

A basic understanding of this framework recognises two key roles in any task.  Gogaun (literal meaning is ‘older brother’) the person designated as the knowledge holder for that task. Banaam (literal meaning is ‘strong brother’) is the person(s) who support a Gogaun to be able to achieve the task. This is also the default position when there may be doubt over who takes a Gogaun role in a situation. The framework also recognises that the person who brings someone into the project is ultimately responsible for them.  Brenda is Gogaun for her story (author and owner of her story) and the filmmaking team has a responsibility to be Banaam to her, doing everything in their strength to support her in telling it. 

Brenda and Nathaniel were mentored as directors by Professor Larissa Behrendt (After the Apology – 2017). They also participated in the 2022 DOC NYC x VIDEO CONSORTIUM Storytelling Incubator program.

The Last Daughter is a Gravity Films production. Producers are Simon Williams and Brendon Skinner, Executive Producer and Cultural Advisor is Kyle Slabb.  The Last Daughter is a Bonsai Films release.

Principal production funding from Australians Together in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from the Adelaide Film Festival and The South Australian Film Corporation. Local distribution by Bonsai.

Brenda Matthew’s The Last Daughter memoir is published by Text Publishing, from 4 April 2023.

Press Release

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