Speakers Profile - Rachel Perkins

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Rachel is one of Australia's most accomplished and versatile directors. Her thirty-year career spans feature films, documentary series and more recently television drama.

In 2019, she directed the six-part television series Total Control (Blackfella Films/ ABC) which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was followed with a special screening at Series Mania in Paris. The series was a ratings hit for the ABC and won Best Drama Series, Leading Actress and Supporting Actress for Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths respectively, at the 2019 AACTA awards.

In 2018 Rachel directed all six episodes of the television series one, Mystery Road (Blackfella Films/ ABC, 2018), starring Aaron Pederson and Judy Davis. It delivered outstanding audience results for the ABC and the highest on demand ratings in ABC iView history. It also garnered outstanding reviews and five AACTA Awards, including the top award for Best TV Drama. It also won the Logie Award for Most Popular Television Drama and Best Actress for Debora Mailman.

Rachel received the Best Director Award for a television drama series from the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) for her work on Mystery Road. This is her fourth consecutive ADG Award for direction in the television drama category.

She was also given this honour for her work on both series of Redfern Now (Blackfella Films/ ABC, 2012-13) and the telemovie version of the series titled Promise Me (2015). Redfern Now was highly acclaimed, winning the Logie Awards and AATCA Awards for most outstanding drama series in 2013 & 2014.

Rachel's first movie Radiance (Eclipse Films, 1998), an ultra-low budget film was awarded the audience prize at the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra film festivals, and launched the career of Deborah Mailman, who won best actress that year and was the first Aboriginal women to do so.

Rachel's other two feature films, Bran Nue Dae (Robyn Kershaaw Productions, 2009) and Jasper Jones (Porchlight Films, 2017) were also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Her telemovies, Mabo (Blackfella Films/ ABC, 2012) and One Night the Moon (ABC, 2001) have also been recognised for their historical significance and artistic innovation. These films have screened throughout the world at more than 75 film festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and the London film festivals.

Rachel is also an accomplished documentary maker. In 2009 she made the landmark seven-hour documentary series First Australians (Blackfella Films, 2009) that she co-wrote, directed and co-produced. Six years in the making, it swept Australia's top honours including AFI and IF Awards, the UN Media Peace Prize, TV Week Logie, and the Writers and Directors Guild of Australia Awards. First Australians has sold throughout the world and is the highest selling educational title in Australia. Most recently, she wrote, directed and produced The Australian Wars (Blackfella Films/ NITV and SBS, 2022), another landmark 3-part documentary series, which saw her journey across the country to explore the bloody battles fought on Australian soil and the war that established the Australian nation, seeking to change the narrative of the nation.

Rachel has contributed to the film and television industry on most of its major boards including the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the Australian Film Commission, Screen Australia, NITV, Indigenous Screen Australia, the National Indigenous Media Association of Australia and the NSW Film and Television Office. Rachel received the inaugural Contribution to Television IF Award, the Byron Kennedy AFI Award in 2002 and the Australian International Documentary Conference Award in 2011.