Dynamic Duos: Blackfisch’s mother-daughter duo

This week in Dynamic Duos, majority-owned Indigenous production agency Blackfisch Film's owner, Malinda Rutter, and junior producer, Annabell Rutter-Peters, discuss the highs and lows of family working together.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two colleagues with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Malinda Rutter:

Annabell is not only one of Blackfisch Film’s most important staff members; but also my daughter!

The first time I met Annabell in person was when I was in labour with her! It was excruciating. A long, long, long day in the winter of 1997. On TV was the Thredbo disaster. Annabell is my ‘mini me’, so much so that when she was little, people did double-takes in the street, and would comment. If I post a photo of her on social media, people think it’s an old photo of me.

As a mother, I can tell you she is an exceptional, and talented elite athlete, smart as a whip, holds a degree in criminology, and has emotional empathy, maturity, and a great understanding of others that few of us ever achieve. But one skill she has never mastered is keeping her house clean! She has the quickest wit and is hysterically funny, and that’s why she got away with murder as a child, and still does. Our clients love her.

We are Aboriginal of the Gamilaroi People, and Annabell is as passionate as I am about helping close the gap for our mob, working with our mob, and making a difference. She helped me with many projects while she was studying; so I twisted her arm to join my production company, Blackfisch Films. With my fingers, eyes, and legs crossed, I hoped she would love it and be as passionate about our work as I am, and it was and still is a success!

In all honesty, I have no rose-coloured glasses for my children. However, Annabell is an amazing junior producer who understands the storytelling and craft our game needs. Annabell is our succession plan, and one day, Annabell will run Blackfisch Films for the good of our mob and staff, because we are all family. But for God’s sake, daughter, learn to clean… it kills me! Mind you, this trait is not just restricted to Annabell; it is all the girls in production. I can’t tell you how often I clean the kitchen after them each day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Annabell Rutter-Peters: 

Well, I met Malinda (mum) on the 28th of July in 1997, the day that I was born. But I’m sure she has a better recollection of our first meeting. A few years ago, I was ‘persuaded’ in the form of rental assistance; to come and work for my Mother’s company, Blackfisch.

I wasn’t quite sure whether I would fit in, or even like working at a production agency. As a few months went by I started to realise that this profession might be for me, even though it had been somewhat pushed down my throat.

Working with Mum on projects where we get to collaborate and swap idea’s is something pretty special. It’s amazing how our professional relationship has evolved over time. The synergy between us not only stems from our familial connection but also from a shared passion for the work we do.

So, here’s to Mum and our daily adventures in the wild world of collaboration. With a vocabulary that could give a seasoned truck driver a run for their money and a brain that could outshine a planet, teaming up with her is a journey I plan to embark on forever. Unless, of course, you decide to retire and hand me the reins – and that’s when everyday becomes a Friday!

Malinda on Annabell:

Most memorable moment with Annabell: There are so many, but it’s the fun and love she brings to every project.

Best word to describe her: Absolutely fabulous.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: When I ask her to do something, she says no, as she believes I am an overthinker and it’s not the right time, and usually she is right.

Annabell on Malinda:

Most memorable moment with Malinda: In collaborative moments, I’ve discovered a unique dynamic – a blend of personal understanding and professional cooperation. It’s not just about creating successful projects, it’s about the shared excitement when an idea comes to life, the shared frustration when facing challenges, and the shared satisfaction when overcoming them.

Best word to describe her: If I had to pick a single word to describe Mum as a colleague, it would be “resilient.” She has an uncanny ability to bounce back from setbacks and face challenges head on. Her famous quote, which I am getting a bit sick of is “there is never a problem, only a solution”, especially when it is my problem, and I can’t think of a solution!

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: ‘Mum-Malinda’, and ‘Professional-Malinda’ are pretty much the same person. She treats everyone in the office like family, to the point where it might be pushing HR rules a bit. We are all grateful for the stocked fridge, albeit one with alcohol (for Fridays of course!). Her loving and understanding nature isn’t just a workplace front, it’s the genuine care she extends to each member of our work family. Whether it’s a personal challenge or a professional struggle, Mum is there with a listening ear and words of wisdom that go beyond the realms of a typical boss.


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