Screen Australia appoints Head of First Nations

Angela Bates to develop and nurture the next generation of Indigenous screen creatives.

Screen Australia is pleased to confirm the appointment of Angela Bates as Head of First Nations.

She succeeds Penny Smallacombe, who departed the agency in May, and is promoted from her current position as Development and Investment Manager in the First Nations Department, where she has supported titles including Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky, Total Control, Little J & Big Cuz, new crime drama True Colours, and a First Nations Creator Program.

She has over 20 years’ experience as a TV producer, writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker with multiple roles at Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA radio), Sydney’s Koori Radio, and National Indigenous Television.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “Angela has dedicated her entire career to representing and promoting Indigenous perspectives, and championing First Nations stories and voices. Her expertise spans 20 years in multiple broadcasting roles including ABC, SBS and NITV, as well as roles at the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the World Indigenous Television Network. Combined with her senior board and leadership roles previously representing Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council and currently serving on the Mutawintji Board of Management, she is, without doubt, uniquely placed to lead our First Nations Department as the local screen industry continues to evolve.

“We feel incredibly privileged and excited to have Angela at the helm of the First Nations Department as Screen Australia continues to support the incredible Indigenous creativity in our industry. First Nations filmmakers have given us some of the most distinct and acclaimed stories in our history. With Angela’s breadth of experience and expertise, combined with her passion for the industry, we have confidence she will continue to develop and nurture the next generation of talented screen practitioners in our country as well as ensure First Nations stories are celebrated both in Australia and shared with audiences around the world.”

Angela Bates said, “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a First Nations creator in the screen industry, with the global appetite for our stories growing at a thrilling pace. It’s a credit to Wal Saunders, Sally Riley, Erica Glynn and Penny Smallacombe, who have all led the Department at various times over its 28 year history, that our Australian First Nations sector is in such terrific shape. In particular I’d like to pay tribute to Penny who pushed boundaries, strongly advocated authentic storytelling, identified, supported and nurtured extraordinary First Nations talent and content. I look forward to continuing the great work of those before me, and leveraging as many opportunities as possible for our sector.”

Recruitment for the Development and Investment Manager for the First Nations Department will commence shortly.

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