10th Nov 2004

Five Seasons (2004)

Purchase this title online here.

In these fast and modern times, the Numurindi people are still guided by the seasons and stories of the Dreamtime. This observational documentary focuses on Moses Numamurdirdi and his family’s fight to hold onto their culture and ways in an ever-changing world.

Five Seasons explores the lifestyle of the Numurindidi people of South East Arnhemland in the Northern Territory’s Gulf of Carpentaria. Their world is guided by the weather, which consists of five distinct seasons. Moses Numamurdirdi a senior custodian of the region introduces the viewer to a way of that life that combines a cultural knowledge of thousands of years with the benefits of the modern world.

52 minute documentary
Writer: Steven McGregor and Danielle Maclean
Director: Steven McGregor

The Numurindi people have developed a culture where all things past and present including the weather are interrelated. This relationship extends to previous generations, together with the animal and plant kingdom. Five Seasons explores this intricate relationship through the eyes of the Numurindi people of South East Arnhemland in the Northern Territory’s Gulf of Carpentaria.

In this region of Australia western society operates on two distinct seasons, the wet and the dry. The Numurindi people operate on a calendar that has five seasons. The seasons dictate what their country will provide for them, for example when the Pandanus nuts turn red and fall from the trees it is the time sea turtles are laying their eggs. Turtle eggs are a much favoured food source for the people.

Moses Numamurdirdi is a senior custodian for the region. He takes the viewer through the 12 months of the five seasons, from the vast dried up flood plains where salt-water crocodiles perish due to lack of water through to the spectacular thunderstorms, which isolate the communities due to the roads being cut off from the rising rivers.

Moses provides a unique insight into a way of life that is rarely accessible to western society. He is a provider of not only food for his community but also strong cultural leadership. He combines his knowledge of the land and culture with the benefits of the modern world such as the 4wd drive and outboard motors for hunting turtle and Dugong.

While enjoying the benefits of the modern world the Numurindi people are still guided by the seasons and the stories of the dreamtime. This spiritual connection resonates throughout the documentary giving the audience an evocative entrée to the world’s oldest living culture.

Five Seasons (2004) from CAAMA on Vimeo.

DVD available from Ronin Films.

Further clips and teachers notes are available from Australian Screen. The Five Seasons Study Guide is available for download. If you intend to use this film in the classroom please purchase an educational copy from Ronin Films.

5 Seasons Press Kit


2005 Sydney Film Festival
2005 Stringworld Homelands Movies Film Festival, Darwin
2005 Garma Festival, Gulkula NT
2005 Sydney Indigenous Arts Festival
2005 Green Wave 21st Century Euroekofest Bulgaria
2006 All Roads Film Festival, USA


Special thanks
Community of Numbulwar
Numamudirdi Family
Nundhirribala Family
Rami Family
Nunggayinbala Family

Director - Steven McGregor
Producers - Priscilla Collins, Citt Williams
Writers - Steven McGregor, Danielle MacLean
Director of Photography - Warwick Thornton, Allan Collins ACS
Editor - James Bradley
Composer - George Papanicolaou
Sound Recordist - Chris West
Narrator - Tom E Lewis
Sound Post Production - Michael Gissing, Digital City Studios
Production Manager - Lisa Stefanoff, Rachel Clements
Additional Camera - Colin Richards
Additional Sound & Unit Manager - Neville Khan
Assistant Editor - Dena Curtis
Musicians - George Papanicolaou – Keyboards & Percussion
Kit Webster - Didgeridoo
Sound Engineering - Mark Lyall
Translations - Langayina Rami, Virginia Rami
Titles & Graphics Design - Ben Foley
Colour Grade and Subtitles - Cutting Edge
Archival Footage - Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies
Tom Eccles and Caroline Carmody
Completion Guarantor - FACB, Corrie Soeterboek
Legals - Karen Goodwin, Marshalls & Dent Lawyers

Thanks to
Maureen, Ellen, Amy,Beck Cole, Vance Glynn, TEABBA, Numbulwar School Literacy centre, Numbulwar Health Clinic, Bernie McBain, Steven Gaskett, Vance Chow, Amy Frasca, Sarah Robins, Lisa Scott

Produced in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Commissioning Editor - Michael Allder
Produced in association with SBS Independent
Commissioning Editor - Ned Lander
Principal Investor - Australian Film Finance Corporation Australia Limited, Susan MacKinnon