Image: The Bula’bula shoot, July 2020, photo by Hilary Crawford.

NIFA 2020 | Behind the Scenes

If you’ve watched the NIFA 2020 ceremony, then no doubt it’s brought on a smile and perhaps even a tear or two. If you haven’t spoiler alert! Save this read for later, and watch the NIFA here.

Originally intended to be held as an in-person gala ceremony, Covid-19 had other plans. Like so many industry events this year the inaugural NIFA, along with the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, had to be reimagined.

Filming an awards ceremony in the midst of a global pandemic comes with it’s own unique set of challenges. From navigating the logistical issues of border closures and security, lockdowns and social distancing, through to liaising with the many Art Centre managers who work remotely across our vast country. All the while filming our winners’ stories without letting them know they’d won till the very end!

It required flexibility, collaboration and creative thinking, and thankfully our DAAFF team and amazing partners were well up to the challenge. Together creating an awards ceremony with footage filmed across six locations in the space of just two weeks.

Alongside partners NITV in NSW and Global Headquarters in Darwin, our team travelled by plane, car, light aircraft and helicopter from one side of the country to the other.

A glimpse at some of the behind the scenes action, filming up in the NT…

En route to Peggy Griffiths, with NT Heli Ops and Global HQ…

Taking in the local ‘ant people’ (aka termite mounds) at the NT & WA border with Peggy Griffiths of Waringarri Aboriginal Arts (centre), her daughter Jan, and granddaughters Delany and Cathy.

“We in Jalin Community. And this is my home. I been here for a while because this is my country and my Dreaming here. That’s why I’m staying here. This community, we’ve been here for long time ago.”

Peggy Griffiths, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts

With Kieren Karritpul at Nauiyu Community, Daly River, NT, filmed on Country and in the studio with Merrepen Arts Manager Cathy Laudenbach and Mandy Tripcony.

Daly River is where I grew up, and I enjoy going out hunting around the billabongs and river. It is a special place. When I was a kid, I used to go out with my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother out in the bush. Used to go hunting, fishing, or collecting weaving materials with them. They used to do art, weaving, painting. I used to sit and watch… I want you to see that in my art, there’s a story behind it being passed down from my Elders.”


Kieren Karritpul, Merrepen Arts

Above | With the artists of Bula’bula Arts, Ramingining, East Arnhem Land, NT, filmed on Country, where the ladies harvest pandanus for weaving. 

“It doesn’t matter who can win because we are all Aboriginal people. If someone wins we all can be happy.” 

Daphne Banyawarra, Bula’bula Arts

With Bede Tungutalum. Bede is from the community of Wurrumiyanga, but we loved interviewing him down on the beach in Darwin, which is deeply connected to his People.

“My Country is on Melville Island on a place called Munupi. Munupi is my tribe, that’s on Melville as well, which is me. I call myself as Munupilla.”

Bede Tungutalum

A Big Thank You

The DAAFF team would like to thank each of the amazing designers and artists for taking part in the film, for their unique contributions to Australia’s fashion and textile sector, and for generously sharing a glimpse into the personal stories of their work and communities.

“It was an absolute privilege to be invited onto Country, and into the communities, homes and families of these incredibly humble and gifted creatives during the NIFA. To share time with them, given COVID-19 restrictions, was particularly special. This provided a unique insight into the cornerstones of their creations, collaborations and partnerships.” 

Mandy Tripcony, DAAFF General Manager

(aka NIFA logistics and trainee camera assistant!)

DAAFF was proud to have created such an authentic, heartfelt insight in this iteration of the inaugural awards. We look forward to a physical Darwin event in the future, where we can come together in person to celebrate the exciting and innovative fashion and textiles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Thank you to the team who worked behind the scenes on the project. Special shout out to: 

  • The incredible production team at Global Headquarters
  • NITV
  • NIFA host Rachael Hocking dressed by Jen Huffer with fabric designed by Injalak Artists Priscilla Badari, Lynne Nadjowh, Katra Nganjmirra
  • Creative Director, Nina Fitzgerald
  • Logistics and trainee camera assistant Mandy Tripcony
  • Expert flying skills from Dave Warton from NT HeliOps
  • Eric Avery for a breathtaking sunset concert, dressed by Country Road
  • Nadine Lee Larrakia Cultural Support
  • Mary Williams, Larrakia Welcome to Country
  • And thanks again to our amazing NIFA Industry & Award partners!

Here are just some of our favourite moments below. Enjoy!

Stay Tuned

Congratulations to all of our nominees and of course to the winners. Thank you to all our Industry, Media and Award partners and we look forward to sharing more from Indigenous Fashion Projects soon!

You can rewatch moments from the broadcast on Facebook HERE and now on SBS On Demand HERE.

To stay updated, be sure to follow @indigenousfashionprojects on Instagram and sign up to the DAAFF newsletter.


– The Bula’bula shoot, July 2020, photos by Hilary Crawford and Simon Manzie.

– En route to Peggy Griffiths, with NT Heli Ops and Global HQ, July 2020, photo by Simon Manzie.

– Tiffany Manzie and Mandy Tripcony en route to the Border, July 2020, photo by Simon Manzie.

– Peggy Griffiths, Waringarri Arts, with daughter Jan and granddaughters Delany and Cathy. Images courtesy Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation 2020

– Kieren Karritpul at Nauiyu Community, Daly River, NT. Images Courtesy Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation 2020

– Bede Tungatulum. Images Courtesy Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation 2020