Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department turns 25

Standing L-R: Ivan Sen, Shari Sebbens, Warwick Thornton, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Hunter Page-Lochard
Seated L-R: Tasia Zalar, Penny Smallacombe, Elaine Crombie, Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Rachel Perkins, Dylan River
Photo credit: Daniel Boud for Screen Australia

Thursday 30 August 2018: Indigenous screen industry veterans and emerging artists came together this morning at Carriageworks, Redfern to celebrate 25 years of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department.

In attendance were director Rachel Perkins (Mystery Road TV series, Bran Nue Dae), director and actor Leah Purcell (Redfern Now, Wentworth), and directors Ivan Sen (Mystery Road, Goldstone), Dylan River (Nulla Nulla) and Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah, Sweet Country).

The screen creatives were joined by audience favourites Rob Collins (Cleverman), Elaine Crombie (8MMM, Kiki and Kitty), Aaron Fa’Aoso (Little J & Big Cuz, The Straits), Aaron McGrath (Mystery Road TV series, Jasper Jones), Hunter Page-Lochard (Spear, Cleverman) and Tasia Zalar (Mystery Road TV series, The Warriors).

“When Wal Saunders set up the Indigenous Department in 1993, it would have been unthinkable that over 160 First Nations screen stories would end up being made. Twenty five years later, it’s unthinkable to imagine the Australian screen industry without our Indigenous stories and the people who tell them,” said Penny Smallacombe Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia. This anniversary is an incredibly special moment in Australia’s cultural history, and one that Indigenous people can treasure.”

“Today I looked around the room and saw 25 years of progress personified,” Penny Smallacombe Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia noted, “For instance, Warwick Thornton and Rachel Perkins were part of the very first short film series funded by the Indigenous Department, and a quarter of century later Warwick is a Caméra d’Or-winning director and Rachel just helmed the most successful ABC iview drama in history – Mystery Road. And significantly, new names such as Dylan River, Aaron McGrath and Tasia Zalar have worked on projects from both Warwick and Rachel, so we’re seeing generational and sustained changed. I cannot tell you how significant that is, knowing that young Indigenous people will grow up seeing themselves on screen.”

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