Sydney Film Festival

Sydney Film Festival image

The Sydney Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Sydney, usually over 12 days in June. The competitive film festival draws international and local attention, with films being showcased in several venues across the city centre and includes features, documentaries, short films, retrospectives, films for families and animations. The festival's director is Nashen Moodley, who commenced in early 2012, replacing Clare Stewart.

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History

Influenced by the experience of Australian film makers with the Edinburgh Film Festival since 1947 and the festival connected with the annual meeting of the Australian Council of Film Societies held at Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria in 1952, later Melbourne International Film Festival, a committee sprang from the Film Users Association of New South Wales to establish a film festival in Sydney. The committee included Alan Stout, Professor of Philosophy at The University of Sydney, filmmakers John Heyer and John Kingsford Smith, and Federation of Film Societies secretary David Donaldson. Under the direction of Donaldson, the inaugural festival opened on 11 June 1954 and was held over four days, with screenings at Sydney University. Attendance was at full capacity with 1,200 tickets sold at one guinea each.

By 1958, the festival attracted its first international sponsored guest, Paul Rotha, and advertising into the festival catalogue. The following year, the program expanded to seventeen days and by 1960 exceeded 2,000 subscribers with the introduction of the Opening Night feature film and party. Censorship difficulties arose in the mid-1960s and continued until such time as the festival was granted exemption from censorship in 1971.

From inception until 1967, the University remained the annual home of the festival. The following year, the festival moved to the Wintergarden in Rose Bay where it remained for the ensuing five years. The historic State Theatre became the home of the festival in 1974, and remains one of the festival venues to date. In 2007, the festival introduced a series of live gigs, shows and cabaret-style screening at the nearby Metro Theatre, to expand the festival beyond the traditional cinema experience, and allow a platform for emerging technological innovations in the wo... ...read more

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