Cornel Ozies started his extensive career as a video editor at his local TV station ‘Goolarri’ in Broome Western Australia; he went on to win awards for films including Jarlmadangah Dreams and Bollywood Dreaming. Our Law is his latest offering, produced and filmed on location in WA.
Set in Warakurna – a town located 330 kilometres west of Uluru at the base of the majestic yet oddly named ‘Rawlinson Ranges’. Brevet Senior Sergeant’s Revis Ryder and Wendy Kelly are the local cops presiding over the only police station run entirely by indigenous officers in Western Australia. Their main barrier to effective communication with the local community is the fact that many residents only speak the local dialect Ngaanyatjarra. They’ve realised that language builds rapport and are doing their best, with help from the locals to get a grip on it. It’s a difficult task; Papa means dog for example, not grandpa.
In contrast to most communities, the cops in Warakurna are beloved by the locals, policing by getting to know the community and talking through problems, building mutual respect.
Ryder coaches the footy team and Kelly works with the local women making bush medicines. It’s a sad day for the community when Sergeant Kelly leaves to take up a position 1100km’s away in Kalgoorlie, she’s off to work on a police reconciliation action plan and to train WA police in building relationships with aboriginal communities. Watching the nightly news, perhaps she could follow this up by training police officers in the USA as well?
Cinematographer Sam Bhodi Field beautifully captures the magnificent landscapes of outback Western Australia.
Our Law could be a blueprint for future policing techniques in Australia.
Audiences can watch Our Law on NITV on Karla Grant Presents on Monday 22 June at 8.30pm or purchase tickets to a sneak peek virtual screening at Sydney Film Festival, running online from 10 – 21 June 2020.