Angela Bates The Head Of First Nations For Screen Australia

Updated: Sep 30, 2021


Screen Australia is pleased to confirm the appointment of Angela Bates as Head of First Nations Angela is a proud Malyangapa Māori woman from Broken Hill, Far Western NSW…Angela comes to this new role as Head of First Nations with over 20 years’ experience in the media sector as a TV producer, writer, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker with a focus on news and current affairs.


She has held multiple roles at Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA radio), Sydney’s Koori Radio, SBS TV’s Living Black program and National Indigenous Television (NITV). While at NITV she was the inaugural executive producer for NITV National News, where she set up the first ever nightly Indigenous news service on national television. She also initiated and set up Awaken, a half hour weekly panel program hosted by Stan Grant, as well as co-produced, wrote and presented the documentary Homelands, which centres around the Homelands issue in the Northern Territory, and produced a number of NITV News specials and live events. In 2015, she became the general manager for the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network, an alliance of Indigenous Television Networks from eight countries around the world including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Hawai’i. Prior to commencing her role as Development and Investment Manager at Screen Australia, she was a multiplatform reporter and radio news presenter with ABC Broken Hill, covering the Far West region of NSW.

Angela holds a Master of Arts: Screen Business and Leadership from Australian Film Television Radio School (AFTRS). Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “Angela has dedicated her entire career to representing and promoting Indigenous perspectives, and championing First Nations stories and voices. Her expertise spans 20 years in multiple broadcasting roles including ABC, SBS and NITV, as well as roles at the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the World Indigenous Television Network. Combined with her senior board and leadership roles previously representing Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council and currently serving on the Mutawintji Board of Management, she is, without doubt, uniquely placed to lead our First Nations Department as the local screen industry continues to evolve. “We feel incredibly privileged and excited to have Angela at the helm of the First Nations Department as Screen Australia continues to support the incredible Indigenous creativity in our industry. First Nations filmmakers have given us some of the most distinct and acclaimed stories in our history. With Angela’s breadth of experience and expertise, combined with her passion for the industry, we have confidence she will continue to develop and nurture the next generation of talented screen practitioners in our country as well as ensure First Nations stories are celebrated both in Australia and shared with audiences around the world.”

On accepting the Head of First Nations position, Angela Bates said, “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a First Nations creator in the screen industry, with the global appetite for our stories growing at a thrilling pace. It’s a credit to Wal Saunders, Sally Riley, Erica Glynn and Penny Smallacombe, who have all led the Department at various times over its 28 year history, that our Australian First Nations sector is in such terrific shape. In particular I'd like to pay tribute to Penny who pushed boundaries, strongly advocated authentic storytelling, identified, supported and nurtured extraordinary First Nations talent and content. I look forward to continuing the great work of those before me, and leveraging as many opportunities as possible for our sector.” Angela succeeds Penny Smallacombe, who departed the agency in May after almost seven years in the role. Angela steps in to the role from her current position within Screen Australia as Development and Investment Manager in the First Nations Department, where, over two years she has supported a slate of successful film and television titles including Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky; Total Control series 2; Little J & Big Cuz series 3; Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply, a special Indigenous initiative with Screen Australia and New Zealand Film Commission; new TV crime drama True Colours, as well as the pilot of the First Nations Creator Program, Screen Australia’s first joint partnership with Instagram Australia.