Media Release September 7, 2021

Sydney Film Festival announces the first recipient of the Deutsche Bank Fellowship for First Nations Film Creatives

Sydney Film Festival (SFF) and Deutsche Bank have today announced Darlene Johnson as the inaugural recipient of the Deutsche Bank Fellowship for Australian First Nations Film Creatives.

The Fellowship awards Darlene Johnson a $20,000 grant to further develop her skills through professional development or industry placement.

On receiving the award Johnson said, “As a Koori Dunghutti woman I am honoured and humbled to be the first recipient of the Deutsche Bank Fellowship.”

“This is an amazing opportunity which targets mid-career First Nations creatives. I’d like to thank Deutsche Bank for this Fellowship and the incredible Sydney Film Festival for this wonderful and unique opportunity. I also want to express my gratitude to the deadly industry leaders who made up the selection panel.”

“As Indigenous storytellers, we have so much to share with the rest of the world. We need to forge ahead into the future and become real players in the mainstream industry so we can tell our uniquely universal stories for a global audience”, she said.

With production credits including River of No Return (SFF 2008); The Redfern Story (SFF 2014), nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award at SFF; and Bluey (SFF 2015), winner of the Event Cinema Australian Short Screenplay Award at SFF – the Fellowship will allow Darlene to continue to develop and expand her skills.

Working with Aquarius Films, Darlene will use the opportunity to support her ambition to move into long-form drama. This will involve undertaking a producer/director attachment with the production company and working to develop and produce her own concept for TV.

Additionally, Darlene will work alongside and learn from award-winning director Jocelyn Moorhouse on the upcoming production Savage River, a premium drama series commissioned by the ABC and produced by Aquarius Films.

Glenn Morgan, Deutsche Bank Australia’s CEO said, “When we set out to create this Fellowship with the Sydney Film Festival earlier this year, we knew that it would attract some outstanding talent. Needless to say, it surpassed all expectations and we know the judging panel really had their hands full.”

“On behalf of everybody at Deutsche Bank, congratulations to Darlene for winning. We can’t wait to see where your career takes you and we hope the grant helps,” he said.

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, “First Nations filmmaking is very important to Sydney Film Festival. First Nations filmmakers make some of the greatest films from Australia and there’s evidence of that through film festival selections in the great festivals all around the world. I’d like to congratulate Darlene Johnson, a very deserving first recipient of the Fellowship.”

In addition to the Fellowship, Deutsche Bank will support SFF, through a partnership alignment with the Festival’s First Nations film program. The SFF First Nations film program is also supported by Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department.

Deutsche Bank Fellowship Information visit: