Open main menu

Rachel Perkins is an Australian film and television director, producer, and screenwriter. She is known for her films Radiance (1998), One Night the Moon (2001), Bran Nue Dae (2010), and Jasper Jones (2017). Perkins is an Arrernte woman from Central Australia, who was raised in Canberra by Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins and his wife Eileen.[1]

Rachel Perkins
Rachel Perkins.jpg
Perkins at the 2012 AACTA Awards in Sydney
Born1970 (age 48–49)
Canberra, Australia
OccupationProducer, director, writer
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)Richard McGrath (divorced)
Parent(s)Charlie Perkins, Eileen Perkins


Early life and educationEdit

Perkins was born in Canberra in 1970.[2] She is a daughter of Charlie Perkins and granddaughter of Hetty Perkins, and has Arrernte, Kalkadoon, and German ancestry. Her sister is Hetti Perkins, an art curator. Her brother is Adam PERKINS. For schooling she and her sister attended Melrose High School.[3]

At the age of 18 Perkins moved to Alice Springs and entered into a traineeship at the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association.[2]


In 1992 Perkins founded Blackfella Films, a documentary and narrative production company creating distinctive Australian content for television, live theatre, and online platforms, with a particular focus on Indigenous Australian stories. Its productions have included multi-award winning seven-part documentary series First Australians, television film Mabo, and TV series Redfern Now.[4]

She served as Commissioner with the Australian Film Commission from 2004 to 2008, and since 2009 has been on the board of Screen Australia.[4]

She was also curator for the 2009 Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival. This tenth anniversary of the festival held at the Sydney Opera House featured the premiere of Fire Talker, a documentary film about her father Charlie Perkins by Australian filmmaker Ivan Sen.[5][6]

Since 2015, Perkins has been the president of the AIATSIS Foundation,[7][8] which is part of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Personal lifeEdit

Perkins has a son, Arnhem, with her ex-husband filmmaker Richard McGrath.[9][10]


  • Blood Brothers (1993) – producer, director, writer
  • Radiance (1998) – director
  • One Night the Moon (2001) – director, writer
  • Flat (2002) – producer
  • Mimi (2002) – producer
  • First Australians (2008) – producer, director, writer, narrator
  • Bran Nue Dae (2010) – director, writer
  • Mabo (2012) – director
  • Black Panther Woman (2014) – director
  • First Contact (2014) – producer[11]
  • Jasper Jones (2017) – director[12]
  • The Prospector (TBD) – director[13]
  • Mystery Road (2019) Television series


Australian Film Institute

  • 1998 – AFI Award Best Achievement in Direction: Radiance (1998) (nominated)
  • 2002 – Byron Kennedy Award

Australian Writers' Guild

  • 2001 – Awgie Award Television – Television Original: One Night the Moon (2001)
  • 2001 – Major Award: One Night the Moon (2001)

Canberra International Film Festival

  • 1998 – Audience Award: Radiance (1998)

Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards

  • 2002 – Special Achievement Award: One Night the Moon (2001)

IF Awards

  • 2001 – IF Award Best Direction: One Night the Moon (2001) (nominated)

Melbourne International Film Festival

  • 1998 – Most Popular Feature Film: Radiance (1998)

New York International Independent Film & Video Festival

  • 2001 – Genre Award Best Feature Film – Musical: One Night the Moon (2001)

AACTA Awards

2019 - Best Television Drama

Australian Directors Guild Awards

2019 - Best director in a television drama series.

Tudawali Film and Video Awards

  • 1994 – The Tudawali Award: Blood Brothers (1993)
  • 2000 – Best direction: Radiance (1998)


  1. ^ Unearthing our first voices (Canberra Times) Archived 10 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Melbourne, The University of. "Perkins, Rachel - The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia". Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  3. ^ Celebrating the Achievements of our Past Students, ACT Government, archived from the original on 30 January 2017, retrieved 31 January 2017
  4. ^ a b "Blackfella Films". Official site. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  5. ^ "SBS Film – Spreading the message by Mary Colbert".
  6. ^ "ABC Sydney – What's on This Weekend – SATURDAY 9 May – FILM FESTIVAL". Archived from the original on 11 September 2009.
  7. ^ Slattery, Claire (18 October 2016). "Foundation launches million-dollar plan to record Australia's songlines". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  8. ^ "A Foundation for all Australians". The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). 14 May 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  9. ^ Dow, Steve. "Rachel Perkins on Jasper Jones and Indigenous activism". Saturday Paper.
  10. ^ Mengel, Noel. "Hurt and healing voiced". Courier Mail.
  11. ^ Munro, Kate (28 November 2014). "First Contact producer Rachel Perkins: 'Prejudice often comes from ignorance … people can change'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  12. ^ Dow, Steve (28 January 2017). "Rachel Perkins on Jasper Jones and Indigenous activism". The Saturday Paper (Australia). Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  13. ^ Windsor, Harry (13 February 2017). "Screen Australia backs new projects from Jocelyn Moorhouse, Leah Purcell". If Magazine (Australia). Retrieved 15 February 2017.

External linksEdit