The company was founded in 1992 by writer/director/producer Rachel Perkins who was joined by producer Darren Dale in 2001. In 2010 Blackfella Films was a recipient of Enterprise funding from Screen Australia. Former ABC Television Head of Drama Miranda Dear joined the company as a producer and was Head of Drama from 2010 to 2020. 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 ABC telemovie Mabo, produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear and directed by Rachel Perkins, featuring Jimi Bani as Koiki ‘Eddie’ Mabo and Deborah Mailman as his wife Bonita. It was broadcast 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 season of 6 x 1 hour episodes was produced in 2013, and a final telemovie instalment was broadcast in 2015.
Redfern Now has received an extraordinary level of critical and popular acclaim, including the 2013 and 2014 TV Week Logie Awards 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 telemovie Redfern Now: 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.
The 14 x half hour teen drama series for ABC3 Ready For This, a co-production with award winning 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.
Broadcast on SBS in 2016 were the 3 x 1 hour big science series DNA Nation featuring Ian Thorpe, Ernie Dingo and Julia Zemiro, and a second 3 x 1 hour season of the acclaimed First Contact.
Also for SBS in 2016, Blackfella Films produced the major multiplatform event Deep Water. It comprised a 4 x 1 hour crime drama series starring Noah Taylor and Yael Stone which has sold worldwide including to the BBC, Netflix, SundanceTV/AMC and Acorn, the companion feature documentary Deep Water: The Real Story which investigates the events that inspired the drama series, and complementary online programming. Deep Water: The Real Story received top honours at the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, sharing the Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting with Top of the Lake.
In 2017 SBS broadcast Filthy Rich & Homeless, a major 3 x 1 hour factual series exploring homelessness in Australia. The feature documentary In My Own Words, which celebrates the success of an Indigenous adult literacy program, screened at the Sydney Film Festival and was nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award ahead of its broadcast on SBS and NITV.
In 2018 SBS broadcast a further season of Filthy Rich & Homeless, which received the Silver World Medal at the 2019 New York Festivals International TV & Film Awards and the Gold Trophy for Reality TV at the 2019 Venice TV Awards, and How ‘Mad’ Are You? a two part documentary series exploring mental health in Australia.
Premiering at Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, Total Control, a 6 x 1 hour drama series directed by Rachel Perkins and produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear, won Best TV Drama at the 2019 AACTA Awards, with Deborah Mailman receiving the award for Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama, and Rachel Griffiths the award for Best Guest/Supporting Actress. The series went on to win the 2020 MIPCOM Diversify TV’s Excellence Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity (Scripted) and the Bronze Award for Entertainment Program (Drama) at the 2021 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.
In 2020, the ABC broadcast the documentary Maralinga Tjarutja directed by Larissa Behrendt, which won the 2020 AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television and the Silver Award for Documentary (Human Rights) at the 2021 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards. SBS broadcast the 4 part landmark observational series Addicted Australia and a third season of Filthy Rich & Homeless which won the 2021 BANFF World Media Festival International Rockie Award for Best Docuseries and the Gold Award for Documentary (Social Issues) at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.
Screening on the ABC in 2021 were the feature documentary Step into Paradise about the enduring collaboration of iconic fashion designers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, a second season of Total Control produced by Darren Dale and Books That Made Us - a three part factual series about Australian literature.
Currently in production are an adaptation of Dark Emu for the ABC, and for SBS the historical documentary series First Wars about the nation’s frontier conflicts.
In 2019 Blackfella Films received the prestigious Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award. The prize is awarded annually to screen practitioners whose work exhibits innovation, imagination and impact.
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 four feature films: Jasper Jones (nominated for Best Film at the 2017 AACTA Awards), as well as Radiance, One Night the Moon (which received 5 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards), and the musical Bran Nue Dae which 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 ABC1 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 directed three episodes of the landmark ABC television drama series Redfern Now. 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) Awards for Best Direction in a TV Drama Series for her work on Redfern Now. In 2015 she directed the final telemovie instalment of Redfern Now: Promise Me, for which she received the 2015 ADG Award for Best Direction in a TV Drama Series.
In 2018 Rachel directed all 6 episodes of the first season of critical and ratings hit Mystery Road for the ABC.
In 2019 Rachel directed the 6 x 1 hour ABC drama series Total Control for the ABC, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, won the 2019 AACTA Award for Best TV Drama Series, the 2020 MIPCOM Diversify TV’s Excellence Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity (Scripted) and the 2021 Bronze Award for an Entertainment Program (Drama) at the New York Festivals TV & Flm Awards.
Rachel also wrote, directed and co-produced the seven-hour documentary series First Australians (2008), which received Australia’s top honours including AFI and IF Awards, the UN
In 2014 Rachel completed the documentary Black Panther Woman for SBS, which was a finalist in the Documentary Australia Foundation Award at the Sydney Film Festival.
In 2015 she raised funding from a wide variety of sources for the Arrernte Women’s Project, an archival recording of the traditional dances of the Arrernte women of Central Australia as a cultural project to preserve a unique cultural tradition.
Rachel is currently directing and writing First Wars for SBS, a major historical documentary series about the nation’s frontier conflicts.
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, Scandinavia, 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. Rachel has also 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 is a Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She 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).
Rachel 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.
In 2008 Darren, together with Rachel Perkins, produced the landmark multi-platform history series First Australians for SBS which received many accolades including AFI, TV Week Logie, AWGIE and Australian Director’s Guild Awards. In 2011, Darren produced the feature documentary The Tall Man which premiered at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival and screened at TIFF and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), and received the inaugural Walkley Award for Documentary.
In 2012 Darren and Miranda Dear produced the ABC telemovie Mabo, followed by two seasons and a telemovie of the groundbreaking drama series Redfern Now in collaboration with Emmy Award-winning UK writer Jimmy McGovern. Redfern Now won the TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama Series in 2013 and 2014, and the 2014 AACTA Award for Best Television Drama Series. The telemovie Redfern Now: Promise Me was broadcast in 2015.
In 2014 Darren produced the acclaimed First Contact for SBS which won the 2015 TV Week Logie for Most Outstanding Factual Program. He has also produced the SBS ‘big science’ series DNA Nation, How ‘Mad’ Are You? which explores mental health in Australia, a second season of First Contact and three seasons of the award winning Filthy Rich & Homeless.
In 2016 Darren produced, with Miranda Dear, the drama series Deep Water accompanied by the feature documentary Deep Water: The Real Story and a multiplatform project for SBS investigating gay hate murders in Sydney. The feature documentary In My Own Words for NITV premiered at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.
Darren was Executive Producer on the 14 x half hour ABC3 teen drama series Ready for This, winner of the 2015 AACTA Award for Best Children’s Television Series and the 2016 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Children’s Program.
Completed in 2019 was the AACTA Award winning Best Television Drama Total Control for the ABC. Produced with Miranda Dear, it premiered at TIFF and was awarded the 2020 MIPCOM Diversify TV’s Excellence Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity (Scripted), and the Bronze Award for Entertainment Program (Drama) at the 2021 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.
In 2020 Darren completed the third and final season of Filthy Rich
Festivals TV & Film Awards, and also for SBS the major observational series Addicted Australia. For the ABC Darren produced, with Jacob Hickey, the documentary Maralinga Tjarutja which won the 2020 AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television and the Silver Award for Documentary (Human Rights) at the 2021 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.
In 2021, Darren produced for the ABC a second season of Total Control, the feature documentary Step into Paradise about iconic fashion designers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson and Books That Made Us - a 3 part factual series about Australian literature.
Currently in production is an adaptation of Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu for the ABC, and for SBS the historical series First Wars about the nation’s frontier conflicts.
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 Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane International Film Festivals.
Darren is a Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He currently serves on the board of ACMI, the Sydney Film Festival and the Sydney Festival. He was on the board of Screen NSW from 2011 to 2015, the Council of the Australian Film Television and Radio School from 2012 to 2018, with a term as Deputy Chair from 2014 to 2018. In 2012 he was the recipient of the prestigious AFTRS Honorary Degree.
In 2009 Jacob wrote and directed the feature length documentary Inside the Firestorm for the ABC telling the story of Australia’s worst bushfire disaster ‘Black Saturday’. The documentary won the 2010 AFI Award for Best Direction in a Documentary.
Other projects include the series Immigration Nation, on which he was both series producer and director, and Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta, on which he was series producer and writer. It won Gold and Silver Medals at New York Film Festivals International Television and Film Awards. In 2012 Jacob was the series producer, director and writer of Dirty Business – How Mining Made Australia for SBS.
In 2013 Jacob joined Blackfella Films’ Melbourne office as Head of Factual.
Jacob was the writer and series producer of the acclaimed First Contact which won the 2015 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Factual Program. Other projects for Blackfella Films include ‘big science’ series DNA Nation, How ‘Mad’ Are You? which explored mental health in Austrlaia, and a second season of First Contact.
Jacob was co-writer, with Amanda Blue, of feature length documentary Deep Water: The Real Story which investigated a spate of gay hate murders and shared the Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting at the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
In 2017 SBS broadcast the ratings hit series Filthy Rich & Homeless on which Jacob was the writer and series producer. In 2019 a second season of Filthy Rich & Homeless won the Silver World Medal at the 2019 New York Festivals International TV & Film Awards and the Gold Trophy for Reality TV at the 2019 Venice Film Awards. The third and final season won the 2021 BANFF World Media Festival International Rockie Award for Best Docuseries and the Gold Award for Documentary (Social Issues) at the 2021 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.
Jacob was the writer, series producer and series director on the major observational series for Addicted Australia for SBS, and also produced, with Darren Dale, the documentary Maralinga Tjarutja for the ABC which won the 2020 AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television and the Silver Award for Documentary (Human Rights) at the 2021 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.
In 2021, Jacob wrote and series produced the factual series Books That Made Us about Australian literature for ABC Arts, and co-wrote, with Amanda Blue, the feature documentary Step Into Paradise about Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson. He is currently working on an adaptation of Dark Emu for the ABC and is series producer on the historical series First Wars for SBS.
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.
Erin is a scripted development specialist, screenwriter and associate producer. She returned to Blackfella Films in 2020 as the Head of Scripted Development and currently manages the company’s slate of series and feature projects through development and production.
Prior to this she was the Development Executive at Dark Horse and the interim Development Executive at Film Victoria where she ran all fiction development programs and initiatives. In 2017, she held the role of Development Executive with Blackfella Films, working on drama series projects commissioned by the ABC, SBS and Foxtel.
Her production credits include associate producer on the second season of hit political drama, Total Control (ABC) and writer, script coordinator and script editor on the award-winning children's series Nowhere Boys (Matchbox Pictures & ABC).
Erin has worked in story rooms with Carver Films, Matchbox Pictures, Every Cloud Productions and Dark Horse and as a freelance developer for a number of Australian production companies. She has partnered with Plot Twist, Cinespace and Screenworks to deliver skills development labs for early-career writers and is engaged as an external assessor for the screen funding agencies and the Cinestory television writing fellowship.
Hannah started her career with Seven BMC at the 2008 Beijing Olympics whilst still studying for a Bachelor of Arts (Acting for Screen and Stage) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. Upon graduating she leaped into the world of lifestyle TV, where she gained her first hands on experience on programs such as 20 to 1, Getaway and Better Homes & Gardens.
From here, the doors were opened to the world of drama which has always been a passion for her. Hannah embraced one opportunity after another, working in the production office on projects such as Underbelly: Badness, Packed to the Rafters Series 6, The Great Gatsby, Wonderland Series 1 & 2, Fury Road, Gods of Egypt, Maximum Choppage, Ready for This and Secret City.
Her passion for the film and television industry and outstanding work ethic has meant she has worked consistently since graduation. Hannah now applies her organisational skills and industry experience to the management of the Blackfella Films offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and providing production support across the company’s slate.
Since completing a Bachelor of Media Arts and Production at UTS in 2008, Bonnie Faulkner has worked on a broad range of documentary, factual and drama projects in both production and post-production. After working for Blackfella Films as a freelancer on several projects, Bonnie joined the company in 2017 using her experience and versatility to provide creative and technical support across the company’s entire production slate.
Her recent credits include being lead assembly editor on the series Addicted Australia, and assembly editor on three seasons of Filthy Rich & Homeless and How ‘Mad’ Are You? for SBS, and as assistant editor on the feature documentaries Step Into Paradise and Maralinga Tjarutja for the ABC. Bonnie was a shooter producer on First Contact season 2 and has worked as director’s assistant on Total Control season 1, Mystery Road season 1 and the feature documentary Deep Water: The Real Story.
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.