The Adelaide Film Festival Board proudly presents the Don Dunstan Award, recognising an exceptional individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Australian screen culture.

As Premier of South Australia, Don Dunstan led an ambitious cultural agenda that inspired a nation. He advocated for diversity in storytelling and promoted the state’s cultural vibrancy, establishing the first government film agency, the South Australian Film Corporation.

The Award honours his legacy with previous recipients including Andrew Bovell, Judy Davis, Rolf de Heer, Freda Glynn, David Dhalatnghu Gulpilil AM, Scott Hicks, David Jowsey, Dennis O’Rourke, Bruna Papandrea, and the combined contributions of David Stratton AM and Margaret Pomeranz AM.

The 2023 Don Dunstan Award Recipient is Sally Riley!

Wiradjuri woman Sally Riley has always been a robust voice for Aboriginal representation in the film industry. Until recently she was ABC’s Head of Drama and Entertainment, Sally also served as the Executive Producer on both the award-winning film Mabo and the acclaimed series Redfern Now – the first television drama commissioned, written, acted and produced by Indigenous Australians.

In the annual Don Dunstan Award essay, distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO reflects on Sally Riley’s robust voice for Aboriginal representation in the film industry.

“Sally Riley’s legacy goes beyond the content she has commissioned on the screen. It goes to the capacity building of First Nations creatives in the film and television industry and in seeing First Nations stories becoming central in the national narrative. This legacy also tracks the move from Indigenous people being peripheral to Australian storytelling, to commanding the stories told about us.” 

Read the full essay here.

Past recipients of the Don Dunstan Award include: 

  • David Jowsey (2022)
  • Bruna Papandrea (2020)
  • Freda Glynn (2018)
  • Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton (2017)
  • Andrew Bovell (2015)
  • Scott Hicks (2013)
  • Judy Davis (2011)
  • Jan Chapman (2009)
  • Rolf de Heer (2007)
  • Dennis O’Rourke (2005)
  • David Gulpilil (2003)