Salute (2008 film)
|Directed by||Matt Norman|
|Produced by||Matt Norman|
|Written by||Matt Norman|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Salute is a 2008 Australian documentary film written, directed and produced by Matt Norman. It is about Norman's uncle, Australian track athlete Peter Norman, specifically the actions he took at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
The film provides an insight into and incident at the 1968 Summer Olympics which saw two United States athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, give the black power salute from the victory dais after the 200 metres final. The film focuses on the third man on the dias, silver medal winner Peter Norman, who showed his support for Smith and Carlos by donning an "Olympic Project for Human Rights" (OPHR) badge on his way to the podium. It was also Norman who suggested to Smith and Carlos that they share the black gloves used in their salute, after Carlos had left his gloves in the Olympic Village. This is the reason for Smith raising his right fist, while Carlos raised his left. Asked later about his support of Smith and Carlos' cause by the world's press, Norman said he opposed his country's government's White Australia policy.
The film documents the subsequent reprimand of Norman by the Australian Olympic authorities, and his ostracism by the Australian media. Despite Norman running qualifying times for both the 100m and 200m during 1971/72, the Australian Olympic track team did not send him to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. It also documents Norman's reunion with Smith and Carlos, shortly before his death in 2006.
The film debuted at the Sydney Film Festival on 8 June 2008. It was released Australia-wide on 17 July 2008.
While there had been attempts by American filmmakers to put together a piece on the event, these earlier films had overlooked the actions of Peter Norman. As a result, Matt Norman realised that the full story of his famous uncle had never been told. He began filming Salute at the end of 2002. With no budget, no funding and no help, he went about making a film that he hoped would get picked up by a local film festival.
In 2008, Andrew Mackie and Richard Payton of Transmission films were signed on as Australian distributors and later brought on board Paramount Pictures Australia to release the film nationally in cinemas throughout Australia.
Matt Norman is now working on a dramatised version of the event, entitled 1968. He is currently speaking with film studios in Hollywood to find stars to portray Smith, Carlos and Norman. Matt Norman is currently writing the screenplay of the dramatised version.
- 2009 – Atlanta Film Festival – Best Social Documentary
- 2009 – Grand Jury Award: Best Documentary – Santa Cruz Film Festival.
- 2009 – Nominated Best Documentary by the Australian critics circle awards
- 2008 – Sydney Film Festival: Audience Choice Award for Best Australian Documentary
- 2008 – Sydney Film Festival: Runner up "Best Documentary"
- 2008 – Rhode Island Film Festival: Audience Choice Award – Best Documentary
Salute grossed $233,411 at the box office in Australia.