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AFTRS CEO Dr Nell Greenwood and AFTRS Council Chair Ms Rachel Perkins

For the first time in the School’s 50 year history, AFTRS Council is chaired by a former graduate. Ms Rachel Perkins, a woman of the Arrernte and Kalkadoon nations, has been appointed as Chair by the Albanese Government for a period of three years.

With a distinguished 30-year career in film and media, including founding Blackfella Films and a portfolio of acclaimed works, Rachel is an educator, leader and mentor committed to supporting the next generation of First Nations storytellers and emerging talent across Australia. Rachel’s appointment recognises her firsthand knowledge of the School’s impact and value to Australia’s cultural history.

Rachel has a long history with AFTRS, having studied here in the early 90’s. She came as a scholarship student from her home in Alice Springs to study production, in a cohort that included Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah).

In 1992 she founded Blackfella Films, which has gone on to become one of Australia’s leading production companies. In 1998, her debut feature, Radiance, won the audience vote for best feature film at both Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. She has since gone onto become a celebrated writer, director and producer, working across features such as Jasper Jonesand One Night the Moon, television series such as Mystery Road and Total Control, telemovies like Mabo, and documentary series including First Australians and The Australian Wars, which won the AACTA Awards for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television and Best Documentary. She was also the 2002 recipient of the Byron Kennedy Award for outstanding creative enterprise within the industry.

Rachel has worked with the Australian Film Commission (now Screen Australia), NITV and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Foundation. She served as a Member on the AFTRS Council from 1998 to 2003.

As part of the announcement, Minister for the Arts Tony Burke said Ms Perkins’ was made for this role. “Rachel is one of Australia’s leading storytellers, particularly when it comes to First Nations stories. As graduate herself, Rachel knows the importance of AFTRS and the difference it makes.”