Penelope McDonald, principal of Chili Films, an independent Australian production company, is an accomplished producer and director with a number of internationally acclaimed productions to her credit. In mid-2004 she took up a position as the inaugural Director of the newly established NT Film Television & New Media Office.
Chili Films produced the highly acclaimed feature documentary My Mother India for SBS Television. It has been a box office hit, screening for more than six months in Sydney. Much Ado About Something, with director Mike Rubbo, has screened on ABC, BBC and PBS, as well as touring theatrically in Australia.
Chili Films produced 12 state-of-the-millennium audio-visual installations that have been on permanent display in the Gallery of First Australians at the new National Museum of Australia since 2001.
Penelope McDonald and Chili Films' body of work explores culture and relationships between cultures, particularly between indigenous and other cultures, with the award- winning documentaries Too Many Captain Cooks, Black Sheep and Photographic Memory; and dramas My Mother My Son, My Bed Your Bed and Payback.
One of Penelope's early films, Night Cries, directed by Australian artist Tracey Moffat, was a finalist in Cannes in 1990 and has been one of Australia's most successful short films in the last decade.
In addition to her work with Chili Films, Penelope worked for many years with Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory. She worked in the education sector, with both children and adults, and has also been employed on contract by peak government film organisations including the Australian Film Television and Radio School, the New South Wales Film and Television Office and Film Australia. She was a founding member and past president of Women in Film and Television, and is a member of the Australian Film Institute.