The Indigenous Department is an essential area within Screen Australia, and has made culturally significant contributions to the Australian and international screen industry during the 26 years since its inception by the Australian Film Commission in 1993. Following consultation with members of Indigenous communities, the then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programme was established to fund a series of short films. The department, fully staffed by Indigenous Australians, now funds critically acclaimed content across film, television and online, connects Indigenous content creators with local and global opportunities, and carefully develops emerging Indigenous talent through strategic special initiatives.
An important role of the department is to facilitate sharing of Indigenous Australians’ stories with diverse audiences - Indigenous communities, Australian viewers and international audiences. The importance of this interaction cannot be understated as a means to ensure that Indigenous Australians’ stories and culture are seen, shared and valued.
The Indigenous Department of Screen Australia celebrated its 25th year in 2018. The department took the opportunity to reflect on past successes and look forward by creating a new strategy and areas of focus so it can continue to deliver its mission:
Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department identifies and nurtures talented Indigenous Australians to ensure their bold, distinctive voices are heard through the engaging stories they craft.
As part of this period of reflection, the Indigenous Department embarked on a collaborative, consultative and wide-ranging review of its current and future approach towards filmmaking. The department sought input from key stakeholders including recipients of Screen Australia funding and Indigenous members of the creative screen community, along with state and territory agencies, broadcasters and other key screen sector partners. Through this process, the department has identified key challenges and opportunities, and created a strategy that will guide the department in future years.