Darren Dale and Rachel Perkins have announced that, after two decades of creative collaboration, together building Blackfella Films into one of Australia’s most celebrated and important film and television companies, Rachel has decided it’s time to pursue other life goals and will be departing the company.
The company’s most recent project, the landmark documentary series The Australian Wars, produced, directed and presented by Rachel, is currently screening on SBS Television.
“I could not be prouder of the legacy of ground-breaking content Rachel and I have built over two decades of creative partnership. From First Australians to Redfern Now, Total Control through to The Australian Wars, our collaboration has delivered on our ambition to inform, entertain and – most of all – change hearts and minds in ways we could never have imagined. Rachel is a creative powerhouse and it has been the privilege of my professional and personal life to have walked this path by her side as my incomparable partner in crime. The team at Blackfella Films continues to grow and develop projects across scripted and unscripted that remain true to our underlying mission of making purpose lead content that connects with audiences and promotes greater understanding across cultural divides,” said Darren Dale.
Rachel Perkins said: “I met Darren in 2001 and our very first conversation was about our mutual determination to pursue excellence. It turned into a 20-year conversation over multiple projects across the continent and the world. I also couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved together, the glass ceilings we smashed along the way and the audiences we have touched. Through all this work together over two decades, Darren’s friendship has been the defining centre of everything I have done. This friendship now allows us to take different paths, knowing it will endure a lifetime. On a very personal level that is thing of which I am most proud.’”
Blackfella Films was founded in 1992. It was one of the first Indigenous led independent production companies at a stage when Indigenous filmmakers were forging new pathways into the industry. One of its first productions was an international co-venture of documentaries from Sami, Māori, First Nations Canadians and Australians , followed by Warwick Thornton’s short film Payback.
Since this time the company has expanded and diversified and its achievements over the past two decades include the highlights:
- 2008 – The First Australians, the landmark multi-platform history series, broadcast on SBS Television to over 2.3 million viewers, 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.
- 2012 – The 6 x 1 hour first season of Redfern Now for the ABC, the first Australian drama series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians. It was invited to participate in both the FIPA and Series Mania television festivals in 2013 and won:
- 2013 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama Series
- 2013 AACTA Award for Best Screenplay in Television for Steven McGregor
- 2013 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama for Leah Purcell
- 2013 Australian Director’s Guild (ADG) Award for Best Direction in a TV Drama Series for Rachel Perkins
- 2012 – For the 20th Anniversary of the historic High Court decision, the telemovie Mabo was commissioned by the ABC, directed by Rachel Perkins and produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear, and won Deborah Mailman the AACTA award for the most outstanding actress.
- 2019 – Season 2 of Filthy Rich & Homeless, produced by Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey for SBS, won the Silver World Medal at the New York Festivals International TV & Film Awards and the Gold Trophy for Reality TV at the Venice TV Awards. Season 3 went on to win the 2021 BANFF World Media Festival International Rockie Award for Best Docuseries and the 2021 – Gold Award for Documentary (Social Issues) at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards
- 2019 – Blackfella Films awarded the prestigious Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award, presented annually to screen practitioners whose work exhibits innovation, imagination and impact.
- 2019 – Season 1 of Total Control premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on the ABC. Directed by Rachel Perkins and produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear. Winner of multiple awards including:
- 2019 AACTA Award for Best TV Drama
- 2019 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama for Deborah Mailman
- 2019 AACTA Award for Best Guest/Supporting Actress for Rachel Griffiths
- 2020 MIPCOM Diversify TV’s Excellence Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity (Scripted)
- 2021 Bronze Award for Entertainment Program (Drama) at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards
- 2021 – The landmark observational series Addicted Australia, produced by Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey for SBS, won the Gold Award for Documentary (Social Issues) at the 2022 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards
- 2021 – Completed for the ABC was feature documentary about Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson Step Into Paradise.
- 2021 – A second season of Total Control was broadcast on the ABC, winning the AACTA Award for Best Guest/Supporting Actress for Rachel Griffiths and the Gold Award (Entertainment Program – Drama) New York Festivals TV & Film Awards
- 2022 – The Australian Wars, written, directed and presented by Rachel Perkins and produced by Darren Dale and Rachel Perkins, was broadcast on SBS to wide acclaim.