Blackfella Films appoints Penny Smallacombe as Head of Scripted

Penny Smallacombe joins the Australian production company to oversee scripted screen productions.

Blackfella Films, the production company behind The Australian Wars, Redfern Now and Total Control, has announced that Penny Smallacombe is the new Head of Scripted.

Smallacombe, a member of the Maramanindji people from the Northern Territory, and the former Head of the First Nations Department at Screen Australia, said she was excited about the opportunity to ‘build on these successes’ at Blackfella Films. She also urged the public to ‘stay tuned’ to see what the company would do next.

Smallacombe’s CV includes overseeing a large slate of successful film and television projects including Total ControlSpear, She Who Must Be LovedSweet CountryWe Don’t Need a MapGrace Beside MeMystery RoadSweet AsWe Are Still Here and Little J and Big Cuz. She also created numerous special initiatives which have provided development opportunities for emerging and established Australian writing talent.

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‘Penny is an outstanding creative executive who brings an invaluable depth of experience in development and production across film and television,’ said Blackfella Films Managing Director, Darren Dale.

‘As a First Nations woman Penny also brings a deep understanding of the storytelling Blackfella Films has been championing for over 25 years and I am so thrilled we will be working together across an exciting and growing slate of projects.’

Most recently, Smallacombe worked for Netflix as the ANZ Grow Creative Manager, and was the creative lead on the series Desert King. She also previously worked with Bunya Productions, including producing the mini-series True Colours for SBS/NITV.

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‘I’m so grateful to be joining the award-winning team at Blackfella Films,’ Smallacombe said.

‘I’ve admired the work, leadership and passion of Darren Dale since meeting him many years ago. Titles like Redfern Now, Mabo, Total Control, First Australians, First Wars and numerous other scripted and factual shows have broken new ground in the Australian screen industry, and to have an opportunity to build on these successes at this time in my career is a great privilege. I can’t wait to see what we can do together.’

The third season of Blackfella Film’s Total Control premiered this month on ABC TV and First Wars (aka The Australian Wars) has been nominated for three 2024 AACTA Awards, announced next month, including Best Documentary Series.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports