After test screenings in several Victorian schools earlier this year, teachers and students said it would be a powerful tool in the classroom.
Fifteen-year-old Jake, from a Geelong school, was moved by the film which explores the booing and media treatment Goodes experienced in the final period of his career at the Sydney Swans, before retiring at the end of the 2015 AFL season.
“Right now I’m sitting here in utter shock, and I’m embarrassed that I was ignorant and didn’t realise all that was going on,’’ Jake said after watching The Final Quarter.
“I think the documentary perfectly educates us that Goodes was standing up for the right thing and we have to learn to be comfortable with that and accept his views.’’
Since the film was broadcast nationally on Channel 10 and WIN in July, hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers have begun incorporating the film into a range of subjects.
The film can now be accessed by every school in every corner of Australia, either by streaming or by requesting a DVD, via the website www.thefinalquarterfilm.com.au
A teacher of Aboriginal Studies and Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) from southern NSW said she was looking forward to sharing the resources with all her fellow staff and students.
“I’ve used the film with my Year 12 class this year and it evoked so much discussion, passion and anger,’’ she wrote. “One of the best documentaries I have ever used as it is so powerful.’’
The Final Quarter is being donated to all schools along with access to 46 lesson plans aligned to years 5-12 of the Australian curriculum.
Shark Island Productions worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission and Reconciliation Australia to develop the long-term education strategy for the film.
The teaching and learning resources and lessons have been created by education experts Cool Australia, with advice from a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers and educators.
There is also learning material and screening guides to accompany the film from the Australian Teachers of Media (AToM), the Human Rights Commission and RA. These can all be accessed from The Final Quarter website.
Sandra Brogden, who co-ordinates a group of Koori Education Support Officers in Victorian schools, has watched the film with students including Aboriginal children and teenage football players across the Government, Catholic and Independent school sectors.
“The power of the film has been seen across all three different sectors,’’ Ms Brogden said.
“No matter what school they were at, all the students came up with the same conclusions and the same feelings that they had to call out racism or say something.
“I think they’ll now be much more aware of that subtle, casual racism that is talked about in the film. Teachers have been looking forward to being able to access the material, which will help to have the conversations that can change attitudes.
“It’s not to make people feel bad but it’s to make them more aware of how their actions and their words can hurt people,’’ Ms Brogden said. “As long as we can bring that awareness to kids, it will benefit not only Aboriginal people and communities, but all people who are different.’’
The 46 lessons which accompany the film are designed for subject areas including Civics and Citizenship, Health and Physical Education, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, English and Media Arts.
They cover themes such as racism and wellbeing, truth-telling, cultural pride, the language of influence, identity and belonging, and respect and bullying in sport.
The first lessons from Cool Australia are available now and others will be rolled out over the next four months.
The education and outreach program for The Final Quarter has been made possible through philanthropic funding and all proceeds from the film are being donated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support organisations.
Director Ian Darling and editor Sally Fryer made the film entirely from archival material, so it would be an account of “what was seen and what was heard’’ by the public during the last three years of Goodes’ career.
They scrutinised hundreds of hours of broadcast and online footage and more than 300 newspaper articles written from 2013, when Goodes was called an ape by a Collingwood fan, to 2015 when he retired.
The 2014 Australian of the Year, Goodes was booed by opposition fans at stadiums during two seasons which prompted a divisive and heated national debate about whether it was racist.
Goodes was devastated by the events and walked away from the game at the end of 2015.
Darling felt Goodes’ treatment by spectators and sections of the media during that period was too disturbing to fade into history without proper investigation.
He and Fryer sought an answer in the mountain of archival material and spent more than a year shaping it into a feature length documentary. The Final Quarter goes beyond the sporting field to become a mirror to the nation, revealing for the first time the full weight of what Goodes endured.
The release of the film in June sparked an ongoing, nationwide conversation about racism experienced by First Nations People in our country.
Now Darling wants the conversation to continue in Australian schools. “We’ve focused our free education campaign on schools and sporting clubs so the next generation of young Australians has a greater awareness about racism and its impact.
“Through The Final Quarter’s extensive education materials, teachers and students will be given tools to have these important but often difficult conversations about racism and bullying in an engaging and constructive way,’’ Darling said.
More than one million Australians have seen the film since it premiered to standing ovations at the Sydney Film Festival and was then broadcast on Network Ten. Darling hopes that number will grow significantly through the education program.
During the Network Ten screening The Final Quarter trended number one on Twitter in Australia and number seven worldwide as thousands of people expressed their feelings about the way Goodes departed the game, and the media’s role in his treatment.
“I’m glad I watched this with an open mind. I was blown away to realize that I am racist. My only defence is ignorance but that changes now. I feel deeply ashamed of my original opinions, and very sad for what Adam Goodes has had to endure.’’ Viewer Rachel, via afl.com.au