As the daughter of Charles Perkins, Rachel Perkins grew up in a politically active family. She regularly took part in demonstrations and dicussions on Aboriginal affairs. Perkins began her media career in Alice Springs working for the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA). In 1991 she moved to Sydney to work for SBS Television where she produced a number of documentaries including the award-winning Blood Brothers.
In 1995, Perkins was awarded the first Indigenous scholarship to study producing at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). She has subsequently worked for the Australian Film Commission and as a film director.
In 2011, Perkins was awarded the Australian International Documentary Conference Stanley Hawes Award in recognition of her contribution to documentary filmmaking in Australia.
Based on the stage musical of the same name by Jimmy Chi and the band Kuckles, Bran Nue Dae is set in 1969 and follows Willie, a young man who struggles to find a balance between the three things that drive his life: his love for his girl Rosie, his respect for his mother, and his religious faith. Willie's uncomplicated life of fishing and hanging out with his mates and his girl in the idyllic world of Broome is turned upside down when his mother returns him to the religious mission for further schooling and entry into the priesthood. After being punished for an act of youthful rebellion, he runs away from the mission on a journey that leads him to meet his 'Uncle Tadpole' and eventually return to Broome. Along the way, Willie and Uncle Tadpole meet a couple of hippies, spend the night in gaol, and meet a gun-toting roadhouse operator, while managing to stay one step ahead of Father Benedictus, who wants to bring Willie back to the mission.
'First Australians chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia as never told before, from the perspective of its first people. First Australians explores what unfolds when the oldest living culture in the world is overrun by the world's greatest empire.
'Over seven episodes, First Australians depicts the true stories of individuals - both black and white - caught in an epic drama of friendship, revenge, loss and victory in Australia's most transformative period of history.
'The story begins in 1788 in Sydney, with the friendship between an Englishmen (Governor Phillip) and a warrior (Bennelong) and ends in 1993 with Koiki Mabo's legal challenge to the foundation of Australia. First Australians chronicles the collision of two worlds and the genesis of a new nation.' Source: www.sbs.com.au (Sighted 27/09/2008).
A young girl goes missing within the Australian landscape and her father refuses to let an Aboriginal man, Albert, be included in the search party and utilise his 'tracking' skills. It is a decision that proves fatal. Months later, the child's mother approaches Albert to begin the tracking process that eventually leads her to her lost child.