In this lively musical comedy drama set in the late '60s, Willie (Rocky McKenzie) is a 16-year-old living in Broome, an Aboriginal community on the western coast of Australia. Willie is an easygoing kid who doesn't ask for much from life beyond enjoying time with his friends and getting a date with Rosie (Jessica Mauboy
), a pretty girl who attends the same church. But Willie's mother thinks he should be following a more responsible path, and convinces him to transfer to a Catholic boarding school for boys in Perth. It doesn't take long for Willie to run afoul of Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush
), the school's iron-willed headmaster, and Willie runs away. Stranded in Perth, Willie is befriended by Uncle Tadpole (Ernie Dingo
), a streetwise character who lived in Broome as a youngster. Uncle Tadpole offers to help Willie get back home, and they hit the highway, hitchhiking back to Broome and catching rides with a handful of colorful strangers, including Teutonic tourist Slippery (Tom Budge
) and flower child Annie (Missy Higgins). But as Willie and Uncle Tadpole make their way across the continent, Father Benedictus is in hot pursuit, determined not to let a truant slip from his grasp. Bran Nue Dae
was adapted from the hit stage musical by Jimmy Chi that was a major box-office success and multiple award winner in Australia during the early '90s; the film version received its word premiere at the 2009 Melbourne Film Festival, where it received the Audience Award for Best Film.