The Sapphires scoops AACTA awards | Connect Asia

The Sapphires scoops AACTA awards

The Sapphires scoops AACTA awards

Updated 31 January 2013, 14:56 AEST

The indigenous musical The Sapphires wowed them at the box office, now the movie has received a huge nod from Australia's movie industry.

Last night the film - about an Aboriginal group of singers sent to entertain the troops during the Vietnam War - scooped eleven awards at the industry's night of nights, the AACTAS.

Among the big winners were actors Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman and Jessica Mauboy.

Correspondent: Simon Santow

Speakers: Jessica Mauboy, actor; Wayne Blair, Director of The Sapphires

ANNOUNCER: And the award goes to (opening envelope) Jessica Mauboy, the Sapphires.

(Jessica Mauboy singing)

SIMON SANTOW: Jessica Mauboy has come a long way from almost winning the talent quest, Australian Idol.

(Jessica Mauboy singing)

SIMON SANTOW: Last night she was named best supporting actress at the Australian Academy of Cinema, Television and the Arts Awards.

JESSICA MAUBOY: Thank you so very much for believing in me and for having me in your wonderful film. To all the aunties, to Deborah and Shari and Miranda for being my team mates, for looking out for me.

SIMON SANTOW: And what a team it was.

(Excerpt from the movie The Sapphires)

SIMON SANTOW: The Sapphires tells the true story of an all girl group of Indigenous singers sent to Vietnam during the war.

Their job was to entertain the troops and bring smiles to the faces of the weary.

(Excerpt from the movie The Sapphires)

SIMON SANTOW: The film was the Australian movie hit of 2012, topping the home grown box office.

Director Wayne Blair says not only is the story compelling but the importance of getting Indigenous faces into mainstream movies can't be overestimated.

WAYNE BLAIR: To get these four young girls of colour into Australian TV rooms, it's sort of unheard of. You just have to look at the commercial stations today, you know, Seven, Nine, Ten, I can that out loud because they're the three commercial stations and you just look at prime time TV and there's not many people of colour in those shows.

But you go to UK and America of course, they're everywhere so this is a little step towards the future but you know, it is not going to change everything but it's a start.

You know, it's a start and it's not just the major cities either. It's great when you sort of travel through Queensland or WA or South Australia, to Gawler or Mackay or Broome of all places and you know, people come up to you and you know, they've got two or three copies of the DVD you know for one family.

SIMON SANTOW: And he says while audiences around the world are being exposed to Indigenous culture, the film is still to be released in the influential US market.

WAYNE BLAIR: It's been a journey, I mean, you know I've been to Hamburg, Zurich, London, Dublin, Busan, South Korea just when Gangnam Style was hitting the roof.

SIMON SANTOW: (Laughs)

WAYNE BLAIR: You know, Toronto, LA, New York and we haven't even been, you know we haven't released over in the states yet, March 22nd is the release date for the film to go to America.

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