/News 13.12.23


Born in Alice Springs (Mparntwe), Kaytetye man Dylan River is one of Australia’s most exciting up-and-coming creatives, with notable acclaim across the crafts of directing, writing, and cinematography.

Son of celebrated filmmaker Warwick Thornton (New Boy, Sweet Country, Firebite) and grandson of Aboriginal broadcasting powerhouse Freda Glynn, Dylan started developing a cinematic sensibility at a young age, and while he has clearly inherited his father’s skill for cinematography, it is obvious that Dylan applies his very own brand and style to the projects on which he works.

Dylan has very quickly made his mark on the Australian screen industry with his debut documentary Buckskin (2013) winning the Foxtel Documentary Prize at the 60th annual Sydney Film Festival in 2013 and stepping into the position as Second Unit Director on the acclaimed feature film Sweet Country (2017).

Dylan River talks with Pedrea Jackson on the set of Robbie Hood

Since then Dylan has developed an impressive array of credits across a wide variety of projects. From the introspective and visually captivating The Beach (2020), where his cinematographic talents shone through, to the light-hearted humour of A Sunburnt Christmas (2020), to the adrenaline filled documentary feature Finke: There and Back (2018) – a passion project which covers one of the most brutal and extreme motocross races in the world (a race that Dylan has completed eight times).  

Irrespective of the content type, Dylan’s versatility and creative talent shines through consistently as he continues to develop a distinct creative voice. “My parents drummed into me the idea that if you’re going to do something, do it with importance,” Dylan notes, “so if you’re going to tell a story, make it important.”

His work has seen several wins and nominations at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television (AACTA) Awards, most recently as the director of Mystery Road: Origin, a quintessentially Australian neo-noir series featuring Aboriginal detective, Jay Swan.

Dylan features in an excellent interview about the creative process and his creative thinking behind Mystery Road: Origin here:

Dylan’s most recent project is Thou Shalt Not Steal, a dark comedy road-trip set in the 1980s about a young Aboriginal delinquent searching for the truth behind a mysterious family secret as she escapes from detention and reluctantly teams up with an awkward teenager named Gidge. 

The eight episode series is commissioned by Australian streaming service Stan and is being produced by multi-Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning Ludo Studio by Charlie Aspinwall and Daley Pearson (Bluey) with whom Dylan previously produced irreverent comedy series Robbie Hood

Thou Shalt Not Steal’s Dylan River, Sherry Lee Watson and Will McDonald (image courtesy Stan)

Robbie Hood, which Dylan also wrote and directed was an amusing dark comedy conceptualised as a mixture between the classic Robin Hood folktale and Dylan’s own experiences growing up as a kid in Alice Springs. The series won a 2019 AACTA Award for Best Online Comedy or Drama and smashed audience records when it was released on Australian streaming service SBS OnDemand.

For Thou Shalt Not Steal Dylan has again taken on dual roles as director and co-creator, alongside AACTA Award-winning First Nations Executive Producer Tanith Glynn-Maloney (Finding Jedda, She Who Must Be Loved, Robbie Hood).

Both Thou Shalt Not Steal and Robbie Hood were shot on location in the Northern Territory and were supported by Screen Territory through Production Funding.

Dylan has a number of other projects that he is currently developing on his slate.