Rachel Perkins, co-founder of National Indigenous Television Limited and founder of Blackfella Films, joins journalist Catherine Liddle tonight on Awaken to discuss what drives her to challenge the status quo, her life growing up as an Arrente woman to Indigenous activist parents, and her passion project Songlines.
Rachel’s cut through vision has helped changed the way the nation sees Indigenous Australians, but what’s her story?
Catherine explores the meaningful events that move and inspire Rachel, the people she’s met along the way and the stories she’s shared which has shaped her life to become one of Australia’s most influential storytellers.
Her incredible career has brought Australians a multitude of programming telling our First Australian stories through the arts including: Radiance, a film which launched Deborah Mailman’s career into the spotlight, First Australians, an Australian historical and educational documentary series shown in schools, co-created television series Redfern Now, and most recently directed First Contact which followed six non-Indigenous Australians into Indigenous Australia.
On the importance of how storytelling has come so far, Rachel says: “Today we stand on the shoulders of giants. All of our opportunities have been created by Indigenous people who went before us and fought for us to have these opportunities. I feel a great obligation to continue to make a contribution to our community and to our nation progressing.”
Her ability to share Indigenous stories has been widely acclaimed, creating new dialogues and educating audiences and the industry into evolution through storytelling, self-expression and empowerment.
Recently she has been recording the songlines of Australia’s First Nations people to preserve the heritage of the Arrente tribe, and mentions: “This was one of the most important projects I’ve been involved with across my career because it’s personal to me. It’s for my tribe, for my family and I felt it was my responsibility to try and help do something about it.”
Her continuing body of work as a screenwriter, producer, director, board member and festival director embodies her passion and skill in bringing Australian Indigenous stories to the screen.
“The was our purpose, to change a new generation of Australians and how they saw their country, and talk about topics affecting our First Nation’s people,” she adds.
Tuesday 6 December at 9.00pm on NITV.