Explore Croatian heritage through an Indigenous lens at the screening of COUNTRYMAN

Waverley Council

Waverley Council is proud to host Bondi surfer Peter Pecotić and First Nations Warumungu artist Joseph Williams’ feature documentary COUNTRYMAN at Bondi Pavilion Theatre on Monday 21 August 2023 at 6:30pm.

COUNTRYMAN, (or MANU WALJJI in the Warumungu language and ZEMLJAK in Croatian) documents Pecotić’s journey into the Australian Outback to retrace his father’s footsteps from the late 1950s to find the descendants of settlers from his tiny home island of Korčula in Croatia.

Armed only with a campervan, smartphone and a drone, Pecotić’s journey takes an unexpected turn when he meets Williams in Tenant Creek. Williams believes that his father is also European and together they set off on an epic 10,000-kilometre journey to find the father he has never known.

“Our film celebrates the friendships and strong connections that bind Australian communities and how much more we have to learn from each other,” Pecotić said.

“We hope our film can help bring communities together in greater friendship and understanding to support reconciliation and give a greater sense of belonging. With the Indigenous Voice to Parliament on our political horizon, now’s the time to look at who we are – and how we want to be seen by others.”

Their ensuing friendship and cultural exchange make for a moving cinematic experience as co-producers Pecotić and Williams unpack Australian identity in all its forms, the environment and reconciliation.

Mayor of Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos, will be introducing the film and there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers at the conclusion of the screening. The event also includes cultural performances from the Dalmatian region of Croatia as well as from local artist Walangari Karntawarra.

“With the Voice to Parliament Referendum just around the corner, I cannot think of a better time for audiences to gain a deeper understanding of identity and the challenges we face as a community on the road to reconciliation,” Mayor Masselos said.

“It is an honour to be screening this film at Bondi Pavilion for the very first time and several scenes from the documentary were shot on Country in and around Bondi.”

Pecotić’s late father was the initial inspiration for the film which is being screened around Australia.

Tickets are $10 and all profits from ticket sales will go to Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation for the Nynkka Nyunyu Arts and Culture Centre.

/Public Release. View in full here.