Saturday, July 7, 2018

A00955 - Irena Szewinska, Champion Polish Sprinter

Irena Szewinska, Champion Polish Sprinter, Is Dead at 72

Irena Szewinska won a gold medal and set a world record in the women’s 400-meter event at the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal on July 29, 1976.CreditAssociated Press
By Daniel E. Slotnik
Irena Szewinska, a sprinter and long jumper who won seven medals in five Olympic Games, tying an Olympic women’s record and becoming a national hero in Poland, died on Friday at a hospital in Warsaw. She was 72.
The cause was cancer, said Henryk Urbas, the press spokesman for the Polish Olympic Committee.
Szewinska’s athletic accomplishments and long run of Olympic appearances led many to consider her one of the greatest Polish athletes of the 20th century. In a tribute on Twitter, President Andrzej Duda of Poland called her “the first lady of Polish sport,” and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called her “an inspiration for generations of Polish athletes.”
A versatile, indefatigable athlete, Szewinska set multiple world records; at one point she had the fastest times in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints. She stood a reedy 5 feet 9 inches tall and had a devastating kick, or last burst of speed, that sometimes let her snatch victory by a stride.
Szewinska (pronounced sha-VEEN-ska) competed in her first Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964, when she was 18. She won silver medals in the 200-meter race and the long jump and a gold in the 400-meter relay.
In later Olympics she won two more gold medals, in the 200-meter race at the Mexico City Games in 1968 and the 400-meter in Montreal in 1976; and two bronzes, in the 100-meter in 1968 and the 200-meter at the Munich Games in 1972.
The only woman to win seven Olympic medals for track and field events before Szewinska was the Australian runner and hurdler Shirley Strickland, who won her medals in three Games beginning in 1948.
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The 400-meter finals in Montreal in 1976 was one of Szewinska’s most dramatic races. In the months before, she and the East German sprinter Christina Brehmer had both broken the world record for the 400-meter race, and now they were meeting in Montreal.
Szewinska pulled ahead in the last seconds of the race to beat Brehmer by several meters for the gold medal. She had also set a new world record, 49.28 seconds — one that held until 1978, when the East German runner Marita Koch broke it.
1976 Oympic Games Montreal. Women's 400m FinalCreditVideo by Kleonia Kotecka
Szewinska at the International Association of Athletics Federations Indoor World Championships in Sopot, Poland, in 2014. She was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame in 2012.CreditAlik Keplicz/Associated Press
Szewinska’s next, and last, Olympics were not as exciting. She pulled a muscle at the 1980 Games in Moscow and retired soon after.
Irena Kirszenstein was born on May 24, 1946, to Jakub and Eugenia (Rafalska) Kirszenstein in what was then Leningrad, Russia. After the end of World War II the family returned to Poland and lived in Warsaw, where a teacher first discovered her swiftness at a school competition.
In 1967 she married Janusz Szewinski, a hurdler and coach who later became a sports photographer. She earned a degree in economics from the University of Warsaw in 1970.
In addition to her husband, with whom she lived in Lomianki, outside Warsaw, her survivors include two sons, Andrzej and Jaroslaw, and four grandchildren.
After her competitive career ended, Szewinska worked for different athletic bodies and became an advocate for female athletes. Over the course of her career she was a member of the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations’ women’s committee as well as the president of the Polish Women’s Sport Association.
Szewinska’s Olympic medals and world records were not her only honors. She was a five-time gold medalist at the European Athletics Championships and won more than two dozen times at the Polish Championships.
She was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and the International Association of Athletics Federations’ Hall of Fame in 2012. Four years later she received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest award.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A00954 - Molly Kelly, Australian Aborigine Who Walked 1,000 Miles Along Rabbit Proof Fence

Molly Kelly, whose childhood trek across 1,000 miles of the Australian desert to return to her Aboriginal mother inspired the 2002 movie ''Rabbit-Proof Fence,'' died on Tuesday at her home in Jigalong in Western Australia, her family said. She was thought to be 87.
Ms. Kelly was about 13 when she, her little sister and a cousin made the nine-week journey with little food or water. When her story came out decades later, she became a symbol of the resilience of Aborigines in the face of mistreatment by Australia's European settlers.
In 1931, Ms. Kelly was taken from her mother and sent to a government institution to be trained as a domestic servant along with her sister and cousin.
Thousands of such forced separations created what are now known as Australia's ''stolen generations.'' The policy aimed at assimilating Aborigines into mainstream society began in 1905 and continued until 1971.
The three girls immediately fled the institution. Ms. Kelly decided that since Jigalong was on a rabbit-proof fence -- intended to stop the spread of imported rabbits -- they could follow it north to their home.
Continue reading the main story
They crossed a flooded river, sand dunes, a desert and a salt lake. They slept in hollowed-out rabbit burrows and ate sweet potatoes and wild bananas. Nine weeks after they began, they made it home.
''She was a person that was utterly willful, who decided she would not be dictated to, took on the whole state apparatus and managed to win,'' said Christine Olsen, the screenwriter of the film.
Ms. Kelly's daughter, Doris Pilkington Garimara, learned of the story and wrote it down only after she was reunited with her mother more than 20 years after she also was taken away by authorities.
While many members of the ''stolen generations'' have reunited with their families, some will never know their real relatives. The Australian government has not formally apologized for the policy.
Philip Noyce, the film's director, plans to return to Jigalong to pay his respects, The Australian Associated Press reported Thursday.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A00953 - Daisy Kadibil, One Who Followed The Rabbit Proof Fence

Daisy Kadibil, 95, Whose Australia Trek Inspired a Film, Dies

Daisy Kadibil and a biographical note she wrote. After being taken from their parents under an Australian program to assimilate Indigenous people into the dominant society, she and her sister and a cousin walked hundreds of miles across rough terrain to get back home.CreditTobias Titz
By Jacqueline Williams

SYDNEY, Australia — Daisy Kadibil, an Aboriginal Australian, was about 8 years old and living in the vast, sparsely populated Outback in the early 1930s when her country’s government forcibly separated her from her parents and sent her to a resettlement camp hundreds of miles away.
Her removal had been ordered under an Australian assimilation policy that sought to absorb Aboriginal people into the country’s white society by taking children from their families and indoctrinating them in the ways of that dominant culture.
Daisy was taken from her home in Jigalong, an Indigenous community in the Pilbara region in northwestern Australia, where she had grown up. A sister, Molly, and a cousin, Gracie, were also seized, and all three girls were sent to an Indigenous settlement near the Moore River, just north of Perth, the nearest city, about 800 miles to the south.
There, longing for home, they sought to escape. In 1931 they succeeded, embarking on foot on a treacherous nine-week trek north across rough terrain and using as their guide a barbed-wire fence that had been built to keep rabbits away from pastureland — an astonishing feat that inspired a book and the acclaimed 2002 Australian movie “Rabbit-Proof Fence.”

Ms. Kadibil, the last remaining of the three, died on March 30 in South Hedland, Western Australia. She was 95. Her death, which was not widely publicized at the time, was confirmed by a grandson, Darryl Jones, who said she had dementia.
The film that depicted the girls’ journey, directed by Phillip Noyce, won numerous awards on the international festival circuit. (Ms. Kadibil was played by Tianna Sansbury.) It also brought the issue of the so-called stolen generation of Aboriginal Australian children to audiences around the world.
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In his review in The New York Times, Stephen Holden described the movie as a “devastating portrayal” of Australia’s “disgraceful treatment” of its Aboriginal population.
“On the side of wrong is the Australian government,” he wrote, “which, for more than half a century, carried out this appalling program of legalized kidnapping.”

The movie was based on the book “Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence” (1996), by Doris Pilkington Garimara, who died in 2014. The author was the daughter of Ms. Kadibil’s sister, Molly Kelly, and her book was partly based on her mother’s experiences during the journey, though she interviewed Ms. Kadibil, her aunt, extensively in her research.

A scene from the 2002 film “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” based on Ms. Kadibil’s nine-week trek home with her sister and cousin. From, left, Tianna Sansbury as Daisy, the youngest of the three; Laura Monaghan as the cousin, Gracie; and Everlyn Sampi as Ms. Kadibil’s sister, Molly.CreditMiramax Films

Ms. Kelly died in 2004, and the sisters’ cousin Gracie Cross died in 1983.
The girls were among thousands of Aboriginal Australian children forcibly removed from their families and transported to settlement camps hundreds of miles away. Once in the camps, as they were taught the customs of white Australian society, they were forbidden to speak their native language. The assimilation policy started in the early 1900s and lasted into the early ’70s.
“This was an incredibly destructive policy which left in its wake a real trail of heartache and pain in Indigenous communities, which continues to be felt today,” Paddy Gibson, a senior researcher at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Tributes to Ms. Kadibil poured out across social media after her death.
“May you finally rest in peace with your sisters, Aunty Daisy Kadibil,” the South Australian Film Corporation posted on Instagram.
Samina Yip, who works for the Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation in Australia, tweeted: “In this year of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman, why was she not given a state funeral?”
A private funeral was scheduled for Saturday in Jigalong.
Ms. Kadibil spent many years working as a cook and housekeeper on ranches in the Pilbara and lived much of her later life in Parnngurr, a community near Jigalong where her descendants continue to live. She was part of the Martu group, the traditional owners of a large part of central Western Australia.
It was Ms. Kadibil’s strong connection to her family and her country and a desire to keep her language and culture that motivated her to go back home after she and the other children were taken away to the settlement camp, said Sue Davenport, advisory director of Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, an organization working with the Martu people, who knew Ms. Kadibil in her later years.

“What it indicated is the strength of character of Daisy that then pervaded the rest of her life,” Ms. Davenport said in an interview.
Ms. Kadibil’s daughters became strong advocates for the Martu people. One daughter, Noreena Kadibil, returned to Martu land with her husband to establish the Parnngurr community in the early 1980s.
Ms. Kadibil’s grandchildren are now leaders of that community, Ms. Davenport said.
Her grandson Mr. Jones said of Ms. Kadibil, “She used to tell us about her journey because I forced her.” He recalled pleading, “Nana, tell me more, tell me more, I like it, I like it.”
Ms. Kadibil lived in Parnngurr well into her 80s before moving to a nursing home, where she died. Besides Mr. Jones, her survivors include her daughter Noreena and three other children, Elizabeth, Jerry and Margaret Kadibil, as well as several other grandchildren.
“Daisy’s remarkable story is an indelible part of the history of the Shire of East Pilbara,” said Lynne Craigie, president of the shire, or local government region, “and one that will always be shared and never forgotten.”

Daisy Kadibil (née Burungu; 1923–2018) was an Aboriginal Australian woman whose experiences shaped the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence and subspequent film Rabbit-Proof Fence. She was a member of the Stolen Generations, which were Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families by the Australian government.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kadibil was born in 1923. Her mother was of the Martu people and her father Thomas Craig was of English descent, making her "half-caste" in the eyes of the Australian government.[2] In 1931 when Kadibil was about 8 years old, she was removed from her family in the Jigalong Community by the Australian government and sent to the Moore River Native Settlement. Her cousins Molly and Gracie, whose mothers were Daisy's aunts, were also taken from home and sent to Moore River as well.[1][3] Daisy and Molly shared a father, Thomas Craig, making them both half-sisters and cousins.[4] The girls stayed only one night in the internment camp before making their escape to travel home.[5] Estimates of their journey range from 800–1,000 mi (1,300–1,600 km) long.[1][6] The trip took the girls 8 weeks to complete; they used Australia's rabbit-proof fence as a guide to travel north.[1] The journey home was difficult, as the girls had to sleep under bushes or in rabbit burrows. Molly carried each of the younger girls in turn as they evaded search parties sent out by A. O. Neville; they also found their own food. Farmers and hunters aided the girls by giving them food as well.[2]

Book based on her experiences[edit]

Kadibil's niece Doris Pilkington Garimara, who was Molly's daughter, authored Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, which was published in 1996.[1] Doris had also been sent to the Moore River internment camp, and was not reunited with her mother Molly for 20 years.[2]

Later life and death[edit]

Kadibil worked as a housekeeper and cook on stations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.[1] She married and had four children.[5] She had children in Wiluna, Western Australia, then returned to Jigalong.[7] Members of her family established and still head the Parnngurr Community. She died in a nursing home in South Hedland, Western Australia on March 30, 2018.[1]
Rabbit-Proof Fence
Rabbit-Proof Fence movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhillip Noyce
Produced byPhillip Noyce
Christine Olsen
John Winter
Screenplay byChristine Olsen
Based onFollow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
by Doris Pilkington Garimara
StarringEverlyn Sampi
Kenneth Branagh
David Gulpilil
Music byPeter Gabriel
CinematographyChristopher Doyle
Edited byVeronika Jenet
John Scott
Rumbalara Films
Olsen Levy
Showtime Australia
Distributed byBecker Entertainment
Release date
  • 4 February 2002
Running time
93 minutes[1]
LanguageWestern Desert language
BudgetUSD$6 million
Box officeUSD$16.2 million
Rabbit-Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film directed by Phillip Noyce based on the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. It is loosely based on a true story concerning the author's mother Molly, as well as two other mixed-race Aboriginal girls, Daisy Kadibil and Grace, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, Western Australia, to return to their Aboriginal families, after being placed there in 1931. The film follows the Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being pursued by white law enforcement authorities and an Aboriginal tracker.[2]
The soundtrack to the film, called Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence, is by Peter Gabriel. British producer Jeremy Thomas, who has a long connection with Australia, was executive producer of the film, selling it internationally through his sales arm, HanWay Films. In 2005 the British Film Institute included it in their list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.


Set in 1931, two sisters, 14-year-old Molly and 8-year-old Daisy, and their 10-year-old cousin Gracie live in the Western Australian town of Jigalong. The town lies along the northern part of one of the fences making up Australia's rabbit-proof fence (called Number One Fence), which runs for over one thousand miles.
Over a thousand miles away, the official Protector of Western Australian Aborigines, A. O. Neville (called Mr. Devil by them), signs an order to relocate the three girls to his re-education camp. The children are referred to by Neville as "half-castes", because they have one white and one Aboriginal parent. Neville's reasoning is portrayed as: the Aboriginal people of Australia are a danger to themselves, and the "half-castes" must be bred out of existence. He plans to place the girls in a camp where they, along with all half-castes of that age range, both boys and girls, will grow up. They will then presumably become labourers and servants to white families, regarded as a "good" situation for them in life. Eventually if they marry, it will be to white people and thus the Aboriginal "blood" will diminish. As such, the three girls are forcibly taken from their families at Jigalong by a local constable, Riggs, and sent to the camp at the Moore River Native Settlement, in the south west, about 90 km (55 miles) north of Perth.

Map of the rabbit-proof fence showing the trip from Moore River to Jigalong.
During their time at the camp, Molly notices a rain cloud in the sky and infers that if she, Gracie and Daisy were to escape and go back to Jigalong on foot, the rain will cover their tracks, making them difficult to follow. Gracie and Daisy decide to go along with Molly and the three girls sneak off without being noticed and run away. On the same day, however, their absence is noted, and Aboriginal tracker, Moodoo, is called in to find them. However, the girls are well trained in disguising their tracks. They evade Moodoo several times, receiving aid from strangers in the harsh Australian country they travel. They eventually find the rabbit-proof fence, knowing they can follow it north to Jigalong. Neville soon figures out their strategy and sends Moodoo and Riggs after them. Although he is an experienced tracker, Moodoo is unable to find them.
Neville spreads word that Gracie's mother is waiting for her in the town of Wiluna. The information finds its way to an Aboriginal traveller who "helps" the girls. He tells Gracie about her mother and says they can get to Wiluna by train, causing her to leave the other two girls in an attempt to catch a train to Wiluna. Molly and Daisy soon walk after her and find her at a train station. They are not reunited, however, as Riggs appears and Gracie is recaptured. The betrayal is revealed by Riggs, who tells the man he will receive a shilling for his help. Knowing they are powerless to aid her, Molly and Daisy continue their journey. In the end, after a nine-week journey through the harsh Australian outback, having walked the 2,400 km (1,500 miles) route along the fence, the two sisters return home and go into hiding in the desert with their mother and grandmother. Meanwhile, Neville realizes he can no longer afford the search for Molly and Daisy and decides to suspend the pursuit.


The film's epilogue shows recent footage of Molly and Daisy. Molly explains that Gracie has died and she never returned to Jigalong. Molly also tells us of her own two daughters; she and they were taken from Jigalong back to Moore river. She managed to escape with one daughter, Annabelle, and once again, she walked the length of the fence back home. However, when Annabelle was 3 years old, she was taken away once more, and Molly never saw her again. In closing, Molly says that she and Daisy "... are never going back to that place".



The film is adapted from the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, by Doris Pilkington Garimara, which is the second book of her trilogy documenting her family's stories.[3]


Public reception[edit]

The film stirred controversy in Australia relating to the government's historical policy of removing part-Aboriginal children, who became known as the Stolen Generations, from Aboriginal communities and placing them in state institutions.[4][5] Eric Abetz, a government official, announced the publishing of a leaflet criticising the film's portrayal of the treatment of indigenous Australians, and demanded an apology from the filmmakers. Director Phillip Noyce suggested instead that the government apologize to the indigenous people affected by the removal policy.[4]
Conservative commentators such as Andrew Bolt also attacked the historical accuracy of the film. Bolt criticized the numerous disparities between the film and Pilkington Garimara's novel, a fact that angered Pilkington Garimara, who said that Bolt had misquoted her.[4] The academic Robert Manne in turn accused Bolt of historical denialism, and scriptwriter Christine Olsen wrote a detailed response to Bolt's claims.[5]
Olsen attributed the angry response among some of the public to the fact that it was based in events that were "demonstrably true" and well-documented.[4] However, the filmmakers said that the film was meant primarily as a drama rather than a political or historical statement. Noyce stated, "If drama comes from conflict, there's no greater conflict in Australian history than the conflict between indigenous Australians and white settlers."[4]
The historian Keith Windschuttle also disputed the film's depiction of events, stating in his work The Fabrication of Aboriginal History that Molly and the two other girls had been removed for their own welfare, and that the two older girls had been sexually involved with white men. Noyce and Olsen rejected these criticisms, stating that Windschuttle's research was incomplete.[6] Pilkington Garimara denied Windschuttle's claims of sexual activity between her mother and local whites, stating that the claims were a distortion of history.[7]

Critical response[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 88% based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6 out of 10. The site's consensus states, "Visually beautiful and well-acted, Rabbit-Proof Fence tells a compelling true-life story."[8] On Metacritic the film has a score of 80 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]
David Stratton of SBS awarded the film four stars out of five, commenting that Rabbit-Proof Fence is a "bold and timely film about the stolen generations."[10]

Box office[edit]

Rabbit-Proof Fence grossed US$3,756,418 in Australia, and $6,199,600 in the United States. Worldwide, it grossed $16,217,411.[11][12]



2001 – Queensland Premier's Literary Awards.[13]
  • Film Script—the Pacific Film and Television Commission Award (Christine Olsen)[14]
2002 – Australian Film Institute Awards[15]
2002 – Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards[16]
  • Best Director (Phillip Noyce)
  • Best Screenplay—Adapted (Christine Olsen)
2002 – Inside Film Awards[17]
2002 – New South Wales Premier's History Awards[18]
2002 (United States) – Aspen Filmfest[19]
2002 (Switzerland) – Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema,[21]
  • ASPI Award (Phillip Noyce)
  • Golden Castle (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (United States) – The 2002 Starz Encore Denver International Film Festival[22]
  • People's Choice Award: Best Feature-Length Fiction Film (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (South Africa) – Durban International Film Festival[23]
  • Audience Award (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (United Kingdom) – Edinburgh International Film Festival[24]
  • Audience Award (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (United Kingdom) – Leeds International Film Festival[25]
  • Audience Award (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (United States) – National Board of Review Awards 2002[26]
  • Freedom of Expression Award
  • Best Director (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (United States) – San Francisco Film Critics Circle[27]
  • Special Citation (Phillip Noyce, also for The Quiet American (2002))
  • Audience Award: Best Foreign Film (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (Spain) – Valladolid International Film Festival[28]
  • Audience Award: Feature Film (Phillip Noyce)
2003 (United Kingdom) – London Critics Circle Film Awards (ALFS)[29]
  • Director of the Year (Phillip Noyce, also for The Quiet American (2002))
2003 (Brazil) – São Paulo International Film Festival[30]
  • Audience Award: Best Foreign Film (Phillip Noyce)


2002 (Australia)
Australian Film Institute Nominations[31]
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (David Gulpilil)
  • Best Cinematography (Christopher Doyle)
  • Best Costume Design (Roger Ford)
  • Best Direction (Phillip Noyce)
  • Best Editing (Veronika Jenet, John Scott)
  • Best Production Design (Roger Ford)
  • Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source (Christine Olsen)
2002 (Australia)
Film Critics Circle of Australia Nominations[16] Australia
2002 (Poland)
Camerimage—2002 International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography[32]
2002 (United States)
Golden Trailer Award Nominations[33]
  • Golden Trailer: Best Independent
2003 (United States)
Golden Globe Nominations[34]
  • Golden Globe: Best Original Score—Motion Picture (Peter Gabriel)
2003 (United States)
Motion Picture Sound Editors Nomination[35]
  • Golden Reel Award: Best Sound Editing in Foreign Features (Juhn Penders, Craig Carter, Steve Burgess, Ricky Edwards, Andrew Plain)
2003 (United States)
Political Film Society Awards[36]
  • Exposé
  • Human Rights
2003 (United States)
Young Artist Awards[37]
  • Best Performance in a Feature Film—Supporting Young Actress (Everlyn Sampi)
  • Best Performance in a Feature Film—Young Actress Age Ten or Under (Tianna Sansbury)