A member of the Maramanindji people, from the Northern Territory, Penny was, for six years,

Head of the First Nations Department at Screen Australia, overseeing a large slate of successful film and television projects including Total Control, Spear, She Who Must Be LovedSweet CountryWe Don’t Need a Map, Grace Beside Me, Mystery Road, Sweet As, We Are Still Here and Little J and Big Cuz. She also created numerous special initiatives which have provided development opportunities for some of Australia’s most exciting writing, directing and producing talents.

Most recently Penny 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.

Early in her career Penny worked in the Indigenous Programs Unit at the ABC, producing for Message Sticks, Landline and researching for Australian Story, and worked as a Senior Programmer for NITV, National Indigenous Television, a division of SBS.

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

Penny Smallacombe said: “I’m so grateful to be joining the award-winning team at Blackfella Films. 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. Stay tuned!”

For over 20 years Blackfella Films has created innovative and high-quality content across factual and drama in both series and feature formats for television, theatrical and online platforms. Its award-winning productions have screened at the premier international festivals including Series Mania, Sundance, Berlin and Toronto, and distinguished its team as creators and curators of distinctive Australian content.

The third season of Blackfella Film’s hugely successful and critically acclaimed Total Control, starring Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths, 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.