Darren Dale named as Board Chair of Sydney Film Festival

Dale will step into the role of Chair following the retirement of media entrepreneur, producer and philanthropist Deanne Weir.

Sydney Film Festival has announced the appointment of acclaimed First Nations Producer Darren Dale as Board Chair.

Recognised as a pivotal figure in Australia’s film and television industry, Dale will step into the role of Chair following the retirement of media entrepreneur, producer and philanthropist Deanne Weir after eight years on the Board.

A director of Blackfella Films since 2000, Darren’s portfolio boasts landmark productions including The Dark Emu Story (SFF 2023), Mabo (SFF 2012), First ContactFilthy Rich and Homeless, and Redfern Now. He is also a leading advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content whose work has achieved local and global acclaim.

Beyond his role at Blackfella Films, Dale is a recognised figure in global cinema as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. His board roles at ACMI, Sydney Film Festival, and Sydney Festival, coupled with leadership positions at Screen NSW and the Australian Film Television and Radio School, underscore his industry influence and commitment.

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley and CEO Frances Wallace said in a joint statement: ‘Darren’s calibre and visionary leadership as the SFF Board Chair fills us with immense excitement. His unwavering commitment to storytelling, particularly from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, assures us of a transformative era for the Festival.

‘As we anticipate this new chapter, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Deanne for her outstanding leadership. Under her guidance, the Festival successfully navigated unprecedented challenges and achieved remarkable milestones. Her dedication and determination have left an enduring imprint on our organisation.’

Dale said: ‘It is both an honour and a privilege to assume the role of Board Chair for the Sydney Film Festival, a venerable cultural institution that I have drawn great inspiration from throughout my career. Under Nashen Moodley’s exemplary artistic leadership, SFF not only showcases the very best of global cinema but also has an essential and unwavering commitment to platforming the works of emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds including a commitment to First Nations filmmaking that is truly unique in the world.

‘I am excited to get to work alongside Nashen and CEO Frances Wallace on the continuing evolution of this remarkable festival.’

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites