ABC Applauds Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department
The ABC congratulates Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department for marking 25 years of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, voices and stories, including the landmark ABC series Redfern Now and Mystery Road.
The ABC and Screen Australia share a history of delivering distinctive content, told through an Indigenous lens. Together, we have enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to tell and share their own stories and supported Indigenous talent.
Since 1993, the Indigenous Department has provided $35 million in funding for more than 160 films, TV programs and documentaries, including ABC series The Gods of Wheat Street, Bush Mechanics, 8MMM, The Warriors and Mystery Road – which averaged 1.3m viewers and is the most successful non-children’s show on ABC iview.
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said: “Congratulations to Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department for its crucial role over 25 years in developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories and talent. Together with the ABC’s own Indigenous department, we have ignited conversations and engaged audiences, building greater understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture. I would also like to pay special tribute to Sally Riley for her invaluable work in re-invigorating Indigenous content and storytellers.”
ABC Head Drama, Comedy and Indigenous Sally Riley (who was Head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department from 2000-2010) said, “At the heart of our work are Indigenous filmmakers – the visionary writers, directors, producers and crew who share their personal experiences and take our audiences into the world of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia. The ABC is extremely proud to be part of this journey that is far from over. Let’s keep making stories that push boundaries, defy expectations and are bloody entertaining.”
Screen Australia Head of Indigenous Penny Smallacombe said, “For 25 years Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department has helped to get First Nations stories on screens and very often that was on the ABC. When you think of the moments of seismic change in Indigenous representation on television such as Redfern Now, Gods of Wheat Street, 8MMM, Mystery Road, plus documentaries like Bush Mechanics, Coniston and Crocker Island Exodus, ‘Aunty’ was our steadfast partner.
“You cannot underestimate the power of seeing yourself on screen. Thanks to the ABC, SBS and NITV, a whole generation of Indigenous people now not only expect to see their stories on television, but they absolutely believe it’s possible to make those stories themselves. Our creators have always been welcomed at the ABC, our stories have always been held with care and we now have a catalogue of hits to prove what Indigenous people can do when they are in the driver’s seat.
“To all at the ABC, especially the ABC Indigenous Department, Michelle Guthrie and Sally Riley, thank you for 25 incredible years of stories and for all the stories we’ll tell in the future.”
Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department celebrated its 25th anniversary at a function in Sydney on the 30th of August, which was co-sponsored by the ABC.
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