Death or Liberty

Cinema, Television

The story of the political prisoners exiled to the Australian colonies as convicts in the late 18th and 19th Centuries. Their legacy is inspirational. Liberalism, republicanism, trade unionism, working class politics, democracy, responsible government… all arrived in the colonies shackled in chains.

This fine documentary imaginatively examines the way a national psychology, preserved in songs and poems, was developed in a new country of grating rawness, emptiness and class inequality by pioneering political prisoners, their democratic spirit in direct, sometimes violent, opposition to the English military class that ruled them under the dark shadow of the convict system.
Graeme Blundell, The Australian, January 2016

Awards and Festivals

  • Spotlight Platinum Award (US)
  • Accolade Award of Excellence (US)
  • Accolade Award of Merit (US)
  • Finalist in the ATOM Awards (Aus)
  • Official Selection BOFA Festival (Aus)
  • Official Selection Bali International Film Festival (Indonesia)
  • Finalist IDFA Awards Best Documentary Series (Ireland)
Executive Producers Craig Dow Sainter
Stephen Rooke
Producers Stephen Rooke
Steve Thomas
Kath Symmons
Anna Grieve
Writers Steve Thomas
Keith Farrell
Directors Keith Farrell
Steve Thomas
Director of Photography Ellery Ryan
Editor Cuan Mac Conghail
Narrator Tex Perkins