Adam Goodes speaks candidly in the new documentary The Australian Dream.
Adam Goodes speaks candidly in the new documentary The Australian Dream. Supplied

More than a film about football

NEARLY four years on from his exit from AFL, Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes tells his story in his own words in a new documentary opening in cinemas this week.

But while the The Final Quarter used original footage and sound bites to tell the story of the racially-charged booing saga which led to Goodes' early retirement, The Australian Dream is a much wider examination of the racism faced by indigenous Australians.

Writer and narrator Stan Grant says the film, which takes its name from the journalist's influential 2015 Ethics Centre speech, is much more than just a sporting documentary.

"Adam is central to it but in a sense it's a bigger film than what happened on a football field," he says.

"The film is a juxtaposition of three things: Adam and what he went through, the speech I gave on the Australian dream and the legacy of our history. Those three things give us a bigger story to tell than the booing of a football player. It's as much about the 200 years that came before that. I think that's why Adam wanted to be involved and be interviewed in it. There's a bigger story here than just AFL."

Journalist Stan Grant wrote and features in the documentary movie The Australian Dream.
Journalist Stan Grant wrote and features in the documentary movie The Australian Dream. Supplied

Goodes gave director Ian Darling his blessing to make The Final Quarter, but wasn't otherwise involved in the making of the film. The Australian Dream is where he speaks candidly about his childhood and reflects on his sporting career and activism. While the two films aren't related, they compliment each other in their different approaches.

"There was interest from a lot of different places in both Adam's story and mine. I'd had meetings with other production companies about my book and the speech I'd given," Grant says.

"But in each case the timing wasn't right or I didn't feel like they'd got it. It was the same for Adam. Then I was approached by Passion Pictures, a British production company with a very, very long track record in telling sports stories that had a bigger political story to tell.

"The ability to marry all those elements felt like a really satisfying and fulfilling thing to do. It was also something for us to cling on to - not just an endless tale of woe but also resilience and hope."

Adam Goodes in a scene from the movie The Australian Dream.
Adam Goodes in a scene from the movie The Australian Dream. Supplied

Some have questioned the choice to include interviews with conservative commentator Andrew Bolt and Collingwood Football Club President Eddie McGuire, who was forced to apologise for making offensive comments about Goodes in an on-air gaffe on his breakfast radio show in 2013.

But Grant defends the decision, saying the dignity of the film's other interviewees including indigenous athletes Nova Peris, Nicky Winmar and Gilbert McAdam will prevail.

"You can't censor or edit those voices out. Andrew spoke for a proportion of the population that still hold those views," he says.

"The dignity and courage of the indigenous (subjects) speaks far more profoundly. It's a counterpoint to what we're hearing from Eddie and Andrew. To leave them out would not have told a full story, and it would have been disingenuous.

"We can't wish things away; they are what they are. We need to hear those things and ultimately, I know which voices speak more powerfully."

The Australian Dream opens in cinemas tomorrow.