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Traditional Water Wisdom – DOUBLE FEATURE DAY – EVENING

  • Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema 506 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON, M5S 1Y3 Canada (map)

Putuparri and the Rainmakers
AUSTRALIA | 2015 | 86 min

In aboriginal wisdom lies the deep connection to land and the water needed to make it live.

Short | The Rainmakers of Nganyi
SOUTH AFRICA | 2015 | 8.5 min
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Putuparri and the Rainmakers
AUSTRALIA | 2015 | 86 min

Filmmaker: Nicole Ma

Emcee: Rick Miller
Co-presenter: imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival

 Putuparri and the Rainmakers is a universal story about the sacred connection between land and place that makes life meaningful. It takes viewers on an emotional journey to meet the traditional rainmakers of Australia's Great Sandy Desert, who have fought a 20-year battle to win back their traditional homeland.

Spanning 10 years, the film follows Tom 'Putuparri' Lawford as he navigates the deep chasm between his Western upbringing and his growing activism for his family's homeland. On a trip back to his country in the desert, Putuparri is amazed to find that the dreamtime myths are real – there is a country called Kurtal and a snake spirit that lies at the centre of a rainmaking ritual.

Read more about them and other traditions in ancient indigenous rainmaking.

The Rainmakers of Nganyi
SOUTH AFRICA | 2015 | 8.5 min

Filmmaker: Steve McDonald

Researchers at Kenyan universities faced a problem: their weather forecasts weren’t being taken seriously. Threatened by climate change and weather extremes, farmers were losing crops and finding it increasingly difficult to predict the weather. Even so, they did not trust the scientific forecasts and would only listen to traditional rainmakers. 


To bridge the gap, the universities began to use rainmakers in the village of Nganyi, Western Kenya, as communication agents. But then the researchers started to notice striking similarities between their predictions and the rainmakers’. Were they really forecasters? And can the rainmakers really make it rain?  This is the story of how new research is bringing together ancient and modern ways of knowing, to build climate resilience in Africa.