Concerns regarding Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship of First Nations fellowship

This letter was sent to Sydney Film Festival 1 June 2022 regarding the Festival’s major corporate sponsor Deutsche Bank, who is financing Adani Enterprises.

Dear Ms Weir,

As a First Nations custodian representing the Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples, I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the Sydney Film Festival’s major corporate sponsor Deutsche Bank, and particularly its sponsorship of the Deutsche Bank Fellowship for First Nations Film Creatives.

I applaud the intention of the Sydney Film Festival to highlight First Nations filmmakers and stories, but I am concerned Deutsche Bank’s involvement compromises the credibility of this intention. Deutsche Bank claims it supports the Indigenous community via this initiative, but at the same time the bank is financing Adani Enterprises, which is trampling the rights of Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. 

I am concerned Deutsche Bank is exploiting the Sydney Film Festival’s good reputation through this sponsorship to give cover to the bank’s destructive lending activities. I encourage you to rethink the bank’s connection to this prize and the Festival.  

Back in 2014, Deutsche Bank was one of the first banks to rule out funding the disastrous Adani Carmichael thermal coal project in Australia. This project does not have the free, prior and informed consent of the Wangan & Jagalingou people.

However, Deutsche Bank has breached this promise and its policy of not directly or indirectly financing new thermal coal mines via its financing of the Adani Group, and in particular the Adani Enterprises subsidiary, which constructed, owns and operates the Carmichael mine and rail line. Adani Group has described Deutsche Bank as one of its “relationship banks”.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people have voted against the Adani Carmichael coal mine several times and we continue our active and ongoing resistance to it as its development threatens our land and culture. We have been at Waddananggu, at the mine site, conducting continuous cultural ceremony on our land since August 2021. We’ve lost so much already, we can’t afford to lose anymore.

I encourage you to reconsider Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship of this Fellowship. The importance of this opportunity for First Nations people should not be tarnished by Deutsche Bank’s involvement in the prize.


Coedie McAvoy, Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodian

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