The company was founded in 1992 by writer/director/producer Rachel Perkins who was joined by producer Darren Dale in 2002. In 2010 Blackfella Films was a recipient of Enterprise funding from Screen Australia and former ABC Television Head of Drama Miranda Dear joined Blackfella Films as a producer with a brief to develop the company’s drama slate. In 2011 Rachel Perkins and Darren Dale as directors of Blackfella Films were ranked number 16 in the Encore Power 50. In 2013 producer Jacob Hickey was appointed Head of Factual, based in the company’s Melbourne office.
A standout achievement for the company was the award-winning 7 part documentary series First Australians. The landmark multi-platform history series, broadcast on SBS Television to over 2.3 million viewers, was accompanied by an internationally acclaimed interactive website. First Australians was awarded Australia’s top honours for documentary including the Australian Film Institute (AFI) and IF Awards, the UN Media Peace Prize, TV Week Logie and Australian Writers and Directors Guild Awards. First Australians has sold throughout the world, and is the highest selling educational title in Australia.
The feature documentary The Tall Man, produced by Darren Dale with executive producer Rachel Perkins and directed by Tony Krawitz, received the inaugural Walkley Award for Documentary and was nominated for four Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards including Best Feature Documentary. It screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011, was released in cinemas nationally by Hopscotch/eOne, and broadcast on SBS Television in 2012.
The Tall Man was followed by the telemovie Mabo for ABC1, produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear and directed by Rachel Perkins, featuring Jimi Bani as Eddie Koiki Mabo and Deborah Mailman as his wife Bonita. It was broadcast on ABC1 in June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark High Court decision on native title. Among numerous accolades, writer Sue Smith received the 2012 AWGIE for Best Original Telemovie Screenplay and Deborah Mailman received the 2013 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actress.
In 2012 Blackfella Films also completed production on the groundbreaking 6 x 1 hour ABC drama series Redfern Now, developed in collaboration with renowned UK scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern as Story Producer. The series was the first Australian drama series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians, and was invited to participate in both the FIPA and Series Mania television festivals in 2013. A further series of 6 x 1 hour episodes was produced in 2013, and the final telemovie instalment was broadcast in 2015.
Redfern Now received an extraordinary level of critical and popular acclaim, including the 2013 and 2014 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama Series and the 2014 AACTA Award for Best Television Drama Series. In 2013 writer Steven McGregor received the AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television and Leah Purcell received the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama, and in 2014 composer Antony Partos received the AACTA Award for Best Original Music Score in Television. Director Rachel Perkins also received Australian Directors Guild (ADG) Awards for Best Direction in a TV Drama Series in consecutive years in 2013 and 2014 for her work on the series, and again in 2016 for the Redfern Now Telemovie: Promise Me.
In 2014 Blackfella Films produced the 3 x 1 hour factual series First Contact for SBS which won the 2015 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Factual Program. The series garnered national attention and acclaim for its treatment of contemporary Australian attitudes towards Indigenous Australians. A further series is in production.
The 14 x half hour teen drama series for ABC3 Ready For This, a co-production with award winning Dance Academy producer Joanna Werner, received the 2015 AACTA Award for Best Children’s Television Series and the 2016 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Children’s Program.
Recently broadcast on SBS was the 3 x 1 hour big science series DNA Nation.
Currently in production is a multiplatform event for SBS titled Deep Water - comprised of a 4 x 1 hour crime drama series starring Noah Taylor and Yael Stone, a feature documentary and complementary online programming, a second series of First Contact and the feature documentary Literacy for Life which explores the success of a Cuban adult literacy program in outback New South Wales.
Blackfella Films has an extensive slate of television drama and factual programming in development, including Grand Days, the television adaptation of Frank Moorhouse’s award winning ‘Edith Trilogy’ of novels for Foxtel.
Rachel Perkins’ Australian Aboriginal heritage (Arrernte/Kalkadoon) has informed her entire filmmaking career. She founded Australia’s premier Indigenous production company Blackfella Films in 1992, and has contributed extensively to the development of Indigenous filmmakers in Australia and, more broadly, to the Australian film and television industry.
Rachel has directed three feature films: Radiance, One Night the Moon (which received 5 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards), and most recently the musical Bran Nue Dae. It screened at the Sundance, Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals, and achieved a box office of $7.5 million in Australia. Rachel’s films have screened at over 75 film festivals worldwide.
In 2012 Rachel directed the telemovie Mabo, which screened on the ABC to mark the 20th anniversary of the historic High Court decision. Mabo was nominated for Most Outstanding Mini Series or Telemovie at the 2013 TV Week Logie Awards.
Rachel has directed three episodes of the landmark television drama series Redfern Now for the ABC. The first Australian drama series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians, Redfern Now was awarded the 2013 and 2014 TV Week Logies for Most Outstanding Drama Series, and the 2014 AACTA Award for Best Television Drama Series. In 2013 and 2014 Rachel received the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) Award for Best Direction in a TV Drama Series for her work on Redfern Now.
In 2014 Rachel completed the documentary Black Panther Woman, which was a finalist in the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival. The film will screen on SBS early in 2015.
Rachel also wrote, directed and co-produced the seven-hour documentary series First Australians (2009), which received Australia’s top honours including AFI and IF Awards, the UN Media Peace Prize, TV Week Logie, and the Writers and Directors Guild of Australia Awards. First Australians has sold throughout the world and is the highest selling educational title in Australia.
Rachel’s other documentary work includes the series Blood Brothers, on which she was one of the writers, directors and producers as well as Spirit to Spirit, an international co-venture of Indigenous partners from New Zealand, Scandanavia, Canada and Australia.
With her Blackfella Films business partner, Darren Dale, Rachel Perkins co-curated the film program for the Message Sticks Indigenous Festival at the Sydney Opera House from 2002 until 2011, and in 2012 presented the curated program of Indigenous films Blackfella Films Presents in partnership with major Australian film festivals. In 2013 and 2014 Rachel has curated the film programs for the Corroboree Sydney Indigenous arts festival and the Garma Indigenous Festival.
Since 2000, Rachel has been Managing Editor and Publisher of The Black Book Indigenous arts directory which is hosted online by Blackfella Films.
Rachel was honoured to receive the inaugural Contribution to Television IF Award at the 2011 Jameson IF Awards. In addition to her experience as an executive producer for both ABC and SBS Television, Rachel has previously served on the Council of the Australian Film Television and Radio School, the NSW Film and Television Office (now Screen NSW), the Australia Film Commission, and was a founding member of the National Indigenous Television Service (NITV).
She was a member of the board of Screen Australia from 2009 to 2013, and a Fellow of The University of Sydney Senate from 2011 to 2013. Rachel is currently on the Board of the Charles Perkins Trust.
Darren Dale has been a company director of Blackfella Films, Australia's premier Indigenous production company, since 2000. In 2008 Darren, together with Rachel Perkins, produced the landmark multi-platform history series First Australians, broadcast on SBS to over 2.3 million viewers and accompanied by an internationally acclaimed interactive website. Amongst First Australians’ many accolades were AFI, TV Week Logie, AWGIE and Director’s Guild Awards.
The 2010 SBS documentary Lani’s Story was the recipient of a United Nations Media Peace Award, the second consecutive year Darren was awarded this prize.
In 2011, Darren produced the feature documentary The Tall Man for SBS, based on the award-winning book by Chloe Hooper. Premiering at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival, the film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). The Tall Man received the AWGIE Award for Best Broadcast Documentary and the inaugural Walkley Award for Documentary, and was released theatrically by Hopscotch Films. The acclaimed telemovie Mabo, produced for the ABC with Miranda Dear, written by Sue Smith and directed by Rachel Perkins, screened at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012 as a Special presentation ahead of its national broadcast to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the landmark High Court decision.
In collaboration with Emmy Award-winning UK writer Jimmy McGovern and Miranda Dear, Darren has produced two series of the ground breaking Redfern Now for the ABC, the first drama series on Australian television to be written, produced and directed by Indigenous Australians. In 2013 and 2014 it won the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama series, and in 2014 the AACTA Award for Best Television Drama Series, among numerous other nominations and accolades. A final telemovie instalment of Redfern Now will be broadcast in 2015.
In 2014 Darren produced First Contact, a 3 x 52 minute documentary series for SBS which generated outstanding ratings, audience response, media attention and critical acclaim. Darren is currently producing another 3 x 52 minute documentary series for SBS, DNA Nation, and has several television drama and documentary projects in development.
With his Blackfella Films business partner, Rachel Perkins, Darren co-curated the film program for the Message Sticks Indigenous Festival at the Sydney Opera House from 2002 until 2011, and in 2012 presented the curated program of Indigenous films Blackfella Films Presents in partnership with the major Australian film festivals.
Darren currently serves on the board of Sydney Festival and the Council of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and in 2012 was the recipient of the prestigious AFTRS Honorary Degree.
In 2010 Miranda Dear joined Blackfella Films from the ABC where she worked first as an executive producer and then as Head of Drama. At the ABC she commissioned the drama series The Slap, The Straits, Paper Giants, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the first series of Rake and many more.
Prior to that Miranda was Senior Commissioning Editor Drama at SBS Independent, responsible for the commissioning of film and TV series from Australian independent producers: amongst them the Academy Award winning animation Harvie Krumpet and award-winning feature films Look Both Ways and Somersault. Miranda began her career with UK public broadcaster Channel 4.
In 2011 Miranda, together with Darren Dale, produced the critically acclaimed telemovie Mabo, which screened as a Special Presentation at the Sydney Film Festival 2012. In 2012 Miranda and Darren went on to produce the ground breaking series Redfern Now for ABC1. The series has received many accolades including the 2013 and 2014 TV Week Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series, and the 2014 AACTA Award for Best Television Drama Series. A final telemovie instalment is currently in production, for broadcast in early 2015.
Miranda is currently producing, in collaboration with Dance Academy producer Joanna Werner, the ABC3 childrens television series My Life in 50 Words or Less.
As a BBC news trainee, Jacob Hickey started his career in current affairs and went on to work on many award winning projects, including hard-hitting investigations, primetime observational documentaries and historical series. After almost ten years at the BBC, Jacob moved to Melbourne. In 2009 Jacob wrote and directed Inside the Firestorm; a feature length documentary for the ABC telling the story of Australia’s worst bushfire disaster, ‘Black Saturday’. The documentary won Jacob the 2010 AFI Award for Best Direction in a Documentary.
Jacob's next project was working as series producer and director on Immigration Nation. The three part documentary was broadcast on SBS in January 2011, and nominated for Best Factual Series at the 2011 AACTA Awards. Jacob then took up the post of series producer and writer on Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta. The high profile series for SBS told the dramatic and tumultuous story of the Vietnamese community synonymous with the western Sydney suburb. The production attracted one of the biggest audiences ever for an SBS documentary, received great critical acclaim, and won Gold and Silver Medals at the New York Film Festival’s International Television and Film Awards.
2012 saw Jacob series producing, directing and writing Dirty Business – How Mining Made Australia, another major historical documentary series for SBS that told the remarkable story of an industry that has shaped the nation for more than 150 years. In 2013, Jacob acted as consultant and writer on the sequel to Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta and is in development on a new documentary series for Blackfella Films.
In July 2013 Jacob joined Blackfella Films in the newly created position of Head of Factual, responsible for the development and production of the company’s factual slate.
Prior to joining Blackfella Films as Business Affairs Manager in 2011, Helen had a diverse career in film and television production and post-production, managed the Industry and Cultural Development funding program at the Australian Film Commission (AFC), and was Administrator of the Australian Directors Guild (ADG).
Helen started her career as an assistant film editor and sound editor before moving into production. After graduating from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) she was Associate Producer and Post Production Supervisor on the feature film Floating Life, produced by Bridget Ikin. Her first association with Indigenous cinema was as the producer of the short film Passing Through, directed by Mark Olive, as part of the Shifting Sands Indigenous Drama Initiative. In 2005 Helen was the Supervising Producer on the Dramatically Black Indigenous Drama Initiative, overseeing all aspects of production on 5 x 26 minute dramas.
From 2005 to 2011, Helen was Post Production Supervisor on the feature films Suburban Mayhem, Romulus My Father, Bright Star, Animal Kingdom and the Blackfella Films feature documentary The Tall Man, and a consultant on the features Griff the Invisible, Here I Am and Sleeping Beauty.
Helen is a Producing graduate of the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and also has a MA in Film and Theatre from University of New South Wales (UNSW) and a BA in Media from Macquarie University.
Celia joined Blackfella Films in January 2015 after spending 6 years working in London with the internationally acclaimed production company Big Talk. Her Associate Producer credits include the multi-award winning black comedy Sightseers (Cannes Directors Fortnight 2012), the psychological thriller In Fear (premiered at Sundance 2013), and 2014’s dance comedy Cuban Fury starring Nick Frost, Rashida Jones and Chris O'Dowd for StudioCanal/Film4.
She was involved in several Working Title co-productions for Universal Pictures, including her role as Head of Production at Big Talk for Edgar Wright's The World's End (2013), and as Nira Park's assistant on the hit comedy Paul (2011) directed by Greg Mottola. Other assistant credits include Edgar’s Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (2010), Attack the Block (2011) directed by Joe Cornish for Film4, and the Channel Four comedy series Free Agents (2009).
Prior to Big Talk, Celia worked in Sydney at Macgowan Films and was Assistant Producer on Death Defying Acts starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Guy Pearce. From 2002-2004 she was the Acquisitions Manager for Miramax Films in Sydney, tracking talent and projects in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Simon joined the Blackfella Films Melbourne office in August 2015 as the recipient of a 12 month Factual Researcher Internship funded by Film Victoria and SBS. He is currently completing his Masters of Media at RMIT University majoring in Film and TV. Prior to joining Blackfella Films, Simon worked in student services at RMIT, and was a lecturer and tutor in Digital Media and Indigenous Cinema Studies for Higher Education and TAFE at RMIT from 2010 to 2012. Simon completed a Directing attachment on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries with Every Cloud Productions in 2012.
Simon has been developing his film production skills across documentary, corporate video, drama and other commissioned content for several years and his credits include the Laneway Commission Let’s Talk Treaty for the City of Melbourne, Sorry - a video response to the National Apology to the Indigenous Australian Stolen Generation by Whittlesea Reconciliation Group, various video works for artists including Maree Clarke, Robyn Latham and Kirsten Lyttle, and The Story of Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheenner for playwright John Harding.
He is passionate about and committed to exploring Indigenous factual content, and is looking forward to developing his skills as a researcher across several Blackfella Films projects.
Simon is also practising artist, most recently exhibiting at ‘Blak Dot’ Gallery in Melbourne.
The Black Book, originally created by Rachel Perkins, is a portal for Indigenous organisations and individuals working in the arts, media and cultural industries. The Black Book Online has two main sections: the Black Book Directory and the Black Book Library.
The Directory includes more than 2,700 listings of Indigenous organisations and individuals working across 95 professions. Each listing provides contact information as well as a history of individual professional experience and organisational profiles.
The Library is constantly evolving to include new artistic works by Indigenous people. It currently contains 2,000 works from the late 1890s to the present. The works are divided into three sections - publications, music and screen productions - and then further divided into categories including documentaries, plays, features, albums etc. The listing for each work includes the artist, publisher, release date, distributor contacts and, for publications and screen productions, a synopsis.
The Black Book also offers additional pages which provide up to date information about events across the country, jobs and training opportunities. It also profiles leading Indigenous artists to provide inspiration to users.