It was one of the most successful Australian films of recent times having grossed more than $20 million at the box office globally and winning 11 AACTA awards last year.It also received a 10-minute standing ovation when it premiered out of competition at the prestige Cannes Film Festival last year.
The Sapphires tells the story of four indigenous singers in the 1960s who travel to Vietnam to entertain troops. Directed by Queensland aboriginal filmmaker Wayne Blair, is based on the popular 2004 play of the same name written by indigenous stage and screen writer Tony Briggs.
Last week The Courier-Mail reported that US film distribution company Anchor Bay had redesigned the cover for its North American DVD. The new cover art features Irish actor Chris O’Dowd dominating the foreground over a blue-wash faded picture of his Aboriginal female co-stars Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell.
Fans accusing Anchor Bay of racism and sexism. Melbourne woman Lucy Manne calls on the distributor to change the contentious cover in an online petition.The petition calls for the American film distributor to scrap an allegedly racist version of The Sapphires DVD
Manne’s petition says, The Sapphires is about to be released on DVD in the US, which is great, Not so great is the cover which features a huge photo of a male supporting character, with the female stars of the show relegated to the background (in a weird blue monotone effect, just to add insult to injury). Disgusting.
Irish star Chris O’Dowd has described the move by Anchor Bay as “vile”. He posted on his Twitter feed in response to several followers. O’Dowd, who is more familiar to international audiences for his work in US comedies Bridesmaids and This is 40, agreed with Twitter followers contacting him with their concerns. “Yup, that’s pretty vile. Certainly not my choice” “It’s ridiculous, it’s misleading, ill-judged, insensitive and everything the film wasn’t,”
However Jessica Mauboy said “It doesn’t cross my mind, we all had a part and all had a moment and we all loved it.
New cover image.
Personally I don’t see why they needed to change the cover in the first instance.