For over 30 years, First Nations owned production company Blackfella Films has created innovative premium content across factual and drama in both series and feature formats for television, theatrical and online platforms. Its award winning productions have screened at the premier international festivals including Series Mania, Toronto and Berlin, and distinguished its team as creators and curators of distinctive Australian content.

The company was founded in 1992 by writer/director/producer Rachel Perkins who was joined by producer Darren Dale in 2001. Former ABC Television Head of Drama Miranda Dear joined the company as a producer and Head of Drama from 2010 to 2020. In 2013 producer Jacob Hickey was appointed Head of Factual, based in the company’s Melbourne office. Erin Bretherton joined the company as Head of Scripted Development and producer from 2020 to 2023. In 2022, founder Rachel Perkins departed the company to pursue other life goals. In 2024 First Nations screen executive and producer Penny Smallacombe was appointed Head of Scripted.

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 International 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 Redfern Now: Promise Me 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 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, and the 4 part landmark observational series Addicted Australia which won the Gold Award for Documentary (Social Issues) at the 2022 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 which won the Gold Award (Entertainment Program - Drama) at the 2022 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards, and Books That Made Us, a three part factual series about Australian literature which also won a Gold Award (THE ARTS) at the 2022 New York Festivals Television & Film Awards.

In 2022, the major historical documentary series about the nation’s frontier conflicts The Australian Wars (aka First Wars) was broadcast on SBS. It received the 2023 MIPCOM Content Innovation Award for Representation and Inclusion – Unscripted, the 2023 TV Week Logie for Most Outstanding Factual or Documentary Program, the AIDC Award for Best Documentary/ Factual Series, the Digital History Prize at the 2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the Gold (History & Society) Award at the 2023 New York Festival Awards. The series received the 2024 AACTA Award for Best Documentary or Factual Program and Best Direction in Nonfiction Television, and was also a finalist in the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism and the 2023 Asian Academy Creative Awards.

Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey were Executive Producers on the 6 x 30 minute documentary series Our Law for NITV, produced by Pink Pepper and Periscope Pictures. A second season of Our Law is in production in 2023. They are collaborating once again on the series Our Medicine.

Recently completed for the ABC are the 6 x 30 min factual series First Weapons (co-produced with Inkey Media) which is nominated for Buzzy Awards for Most Innovative Factual Program/Project of the Year and Best Writing at the 2023 World Congress of Science & Factual Producers, and the feature documentary The Dark Emu Story which premiered in Official Competition at the 2023 Sydney Film Festival, received the 2023 Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism: Documentary, and is nominated for Best Documentary at the 2024 AACTA Awards.

Also premiering on SBS in 2023 was the factual series Meet the Neighbours and on Disney+ the 4 x 1 hour documentary series Never Let Him Go, a Blackfella Films co-production with US company Show of Force for ABC News Studios/Hulu/Disney+.

Currently in production are a third season of Total Control for the ABC, and for SBS the feature documentary Psychedelics: Stepping Into the Unknown.

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.