From iconic films and TV series like Redfern Now, Samson & Delilah, Spear & Mystery Road, to shorts and documentaries like We Don't Need a Map, Screen Australia's Indigenous Department has provided over $35m in funding for the production, development, and nurturing of talent since its inception in 1993.
The 25th anniversary of the department will be formally recognised later today at a function at Carriageworks in Sydney, with guests including Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Aaron Fa’aso, Deborah Mailman, Aaron McGrath, Ivan Sen and Hunter Page-Lochard.
The department was established in consultation with Indigenous community, conducted by the Australian Film Commission in 1992, and first run by Walter Saunders, whose first initiative, From Sand To Celluloid, funded six Indigenous creatives to make their own short films, including a young Warwick Thornton.
“As Screen Australia celebrates 25 years of our Indigenous Department, we acknowledge everything we have achieved has been the result of a shared dream,” said Penny Smallacombe, Screen Australia’s Head of Indigenous.
“SBS, NITV, the ABC, AFTRS and other Indigenous organisations like CAAMA have all been on this incredible journey and together we have gone from a place where we were absent from screens, or stories were told about us, to being able to tell our own stories.
“Our faces are now routinely seen on television. Our languages are heard at the cinema. Our stories are now shared online with people around the world. Our work is celebrated at internationals festivals, treasured at home and has become a cultural and commercial resource for our people.”
Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason added: “Twenty-five years of work by our Indigenous Department has not only given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a voice, but has given our industry some of the most distinct and acclaimed storytellers in our history.
“Indigenous creativity has gone from being excluded from our screen sector to becoming an essential part of our day-to-day business. From television to cinema to online, across documentary and drama, and both on screen and behind the camera, the incredible body of work created by Indigenous talent is truly something to celebrate.”