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Podcast – Angela Bates: Mystery Road: Origin, True Colours and We Are Still Here

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations Angela Bates on a prolific 12 months for the department and why she’s optimistic about the future.

Splice of production still from True Colours, Angela Bates headshot and production still from We Are Still Here.

True Colours, Angela Bates, We Are Still Here

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

From Logie-award winning SBS/NITV documentary Incarceration Nation to opening Sydney Film Festival with We Are Still Here, as well as funding TV projects such as Total Control Season 2, Mystery Road: Origin and True Colours, to say it’s been a busy 12 months for the First Nations Department would be an understatement.

Head of First Nations Angela Bates, a proud Malyangapa, Wanyawalku and Barkandji woman from Far West NSW, who stepped into the role in 2021 says a focus for her going forward is growing the number of First Nations producers in the industry.

“I’m feeling really optimistic about the future of First Nations storytelling in this country. We’ve got the 30-year anniversary of the First Nations Department coming up next year in 2023 and it’s amazing to see how it’s evolved and grown over that period of time,” she says.

“Because what we are achieving didn’t happen overnight. It happened over a long period of time and I think with each head of department they’ve built a vision and left a legacy.

“The future is very bright.”

Throughout the episode of the podcast, Bates talks to some of the challenges and achievements with those projects, as well as speaking to topics like talent escalation, pitching, her thoughts on the screen sector, and how initiatives have been important to the Department since its inception in 1993, when Sand to Celluloid funded the likes of Warwick Thornton, Sally Riley, Richard Frankland, Rima Tamou, Darlene Johnson and Bill Crow to make their own short films.

Bates brings to the role more than 20 years’ of experience in the media sector as a TV producer, writer, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She was the inaugural executive producer for NITV National News and set up the first ever nightly Indigenous news service on national television. She also set up Awaken, a half hour weekly panel program hosted by Stan Grant; co-produced, wrote and presented the documentary Homelands; was a multiplatform reporter and radio news presenter with ABC Broken Hill; and was the general manager for the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network.

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