Australian Film Festival

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Australian Film Festival
Australian Film Festival Logo.jpg
Australian Film Festival Logo
Genre Film festival
Location(s) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Australian Film Festival is an annual film festival held in the Australian city of Sydney. The festival showcases the films of Australian talent working in a variety of mediums, including; feature films, short films, television and online web content. In addition to showcasing Australian film, the festival promotes the growth and recognition of Australian cinema through industry led workshops and discussion forums. It is well known for hosting the Australian Film Walk of Fame, which has honoured recipients such as Claudia Karvan, Jack Thompson, Gary Sweet, Roy Billing, Steve Bisley and Michael Caton.

Film festival event with films being shown

A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of films in one or more cinemas or screening venues, usually in a single city or region. Increasingly, film festivals show some films outdoors. Films may be of recent date and, depending upon the festival's focus, can include international and domestic releases. Some festivals focus on a specific film-maker or genre or subject matter. A number of film festivals specialise in short films of a defined maximum length. Film festivals are typically annual events. Some film historians, including Jerry Beck, do not consider film festivals official releases of film.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Television Telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.



Established by current festival director Barry Watterson, The Australian Film Festival evolved from the 2009 Australian Film Week, a week-long showcase of classic Australian films held at the Randwick Ritz cinema [1] during Sydney's Coogee Arts Fest. [2] The expansion saw the festival become Australia's most comprehensive presentation of Australian film, with founding director Barry Watterson citing the purpose of the festival being "The long term development of Australian film content in a rapidly changing environment and the building of audiences for Australian film." [3]

2010: 24 February-7 March

The Australian Film Festival premiered on 24 February 2010 at Randwick Ritz cinema. [4] In collaboration with Popcorn Taxi, the festival's opening night reunited the original cast and crew of Mad Max for a screening of the Australian cult film, followed be a Q&A with actors including Steve Bisley and Hugh Keays-Byrne. [5] The festival ran for 11 days, and screened 21 feature films, short films and documentaries, including; Happy Feet , The Dinner Party and Bad Boy Bubby .

Popcorn Taxi was an Australian independent non-competitive film festival that presented regular film screenings followed by a live Q&A with related 'talent' immediately afterward. The unique nature of each screening was that the events provide patrons with the opportunity to discuss the film with the filmmaker, actor, producer, et al. immediately after viewing it. Feature films, shorts, TV projects and documentaries were all represented within Popcorn Taxi.

<i>Mad Max</i> 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action thriller film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy, and starring Mel Gibson as "Mad" Max Rockatansky, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, and Roger Ward. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by Miller and Kennedy. The film presents a tale of societal collapse, murder, and revenge set in a future Australia, in which an unhinged policeman becomes embroiled in a violent feud with a savage motorcycle gang. Principal photography took place in and around Melbourne, Australia, and lasted six weeks.

Cult film Film that has acquired a cult following

A cult film or cult movie, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a cult following. Cult films are known for their dedicated, passionate fanbase, an elaborate subculture that engage in repeated viewings, quoting dialogue, and audience participation. Inclusive definitions allow for major studio productions, especially box office bombs, while exclusive definitions focus more on obscure, transgressive films shunned by the mainstream. The difficulty in defining the term and subjectivity of what qualifies as a cult film mirror classificatory disputes about art. The term cult film itself was first used in the 1970s to describe the culture that surrounded underground films and midnight movies, though cult was in common use in film analysis for decades prior to that.

The inaugural Australian Film Festival concluded on 7 March with the Australian Short Film Competition, coinciding with The Spot Food and Film Festival at Randwick. [6]

The Spot, New South Wales human settlement in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Spot is a locality in south-eastern Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Spot is located in the south-eastern part of the suburb of Randwick, around the intersection of Perouse Road and St Pauls Street. It is a vibrant part of Randwick and consists of a collection of shops, restaurants, cafes and a cinema.

2011: 2 March-12 March

In its second year, the Australian Film Festival opened on 2 March with Australian production The Wedding Party , alongside a showcase of Sydney premieres that included The Reef , Griff the Invisible and A Heartbeat Away . [7] Included in the Australian Film Festival Program was a free session of Finding Nemo, which screened outdoors at Clovelly Beach Cinema By the Sea. [8]

<i>The Reef</i> (2010 film) 2010 film by Andrew Traucki

The Reef is a 2010 Australian horror film. The film was written and directed by Andrew Traucki, his second feature film, and is about a group of friends who capsize while sailing to Indonesia. The group decides that their best bet for survival is to swim to a nearby island but they find themselves stalked by a great white shark.

<i>Griff the Invisible</i> 2010 film by Leon Ford

Griff the Invisible is a 2010 Australian romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Leon Ford.

A Heartbeat Away is a 2011 Australian musical comedy film about a marching band in a small town.

Following on from the retrospective session of Mad Max in 2010, Popcorn Taxi returned again with a screening of The Sum of Us . Lead actor Jack Thompson was in attendance for the film and the Q&A session which followed. [9]

The Sum of Us is a play by David Stevens. It is the third play in his now completed A Currency Trilogy of which the first play is The Inn at the Beginning of the World. The second play is The Beast and the Beauty produced by the Old Mill Theatre, Perth, on 22 June 2012.

Jack Thompson (actor) Australian actor

Jack Thompson, AM is an Australian actor and one of the major figures of Australian cinema. He was educated at University of Queensland, before embarking on his acting career. In 2002, he was made an honorary member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS). He is best known as a lead actor in several acclaimed Australian films, including such classics as The Club (1980), Sunday Too Far Away (1975), The Man from Snowy River (1982) and Breaker Morant (1980). He won Cannes and AFI acting awards for the latter film. He was the recipient of a Living Legend Award at the 2005 Inside Film Awards.

The second AFF closed on 12 March with The Spot Food and Film Festival and the Australian Short Film Competition, which was judged by Australian filmmakers and actors, including David Field. [10]

Festival Events

Australian Short Film Competition

The Australian Short Film Competition is traditionally held on the last day of the AFF, and is one of the Festival's competitive elements. In 2011, notable short films screened during the competition included The Telegram Man and the 2011 Academy Award Winning Best Animated Short, The Lost Thing.

In 2010, My Uncle Bluey won the Australian Short Film Competition. In 2011, the competition was won by Ariel Klieman's film Deeper Than Yesterday. [11]

FutureFilm Screenplay Competition

The Future Film Scriptwriting Competition, in association with Networking Action For Filmmakers And Actors, provides writers with the opportunity to have their short scripts acted on stage through a moved reading. In 2011, judges included Liz Doran and Ross Grayson Bell. The winner of the competition is awarded a $1000 cash prize. [12]


The Australian Film Festival presents multiple workshops, seminars and scriptwriting competitions throughout their season, encouraging the growth and discussion of Australian cinema. [13] Past workshops have included discussions with filmmakers, practical filmmaking courses and scriptwriting tutorials. In 2011, filmmakers such as Louise Alston, Gale Edwards and Andrew Traucki all led one of the AFF's workshops. [14]

The Australian Film Walk of Fame

The Australian Film Walk of Fame began in 2008 at the Randwick Ritz as an initiative to honor Australian film celebrities. [15] Recipients inducted to the Walk of Frame prior to the inception of the Australian Film Festival have included Michael Caton, Roy Billing and Charles Tingwell.

On 7 March 2010, with the support of Randwick City Council and the Ritz Cinema, the Australian Film Festival inducted Steve Bisley and Claudia Karvan to the Australian Film Walk of Fame. [16]

In 2011, Gary Sweet and Jack Thompson were both initiated to the Australian Film Walk of Fame on 13 March, the closing night of the second Australian Film Festival. [17]

Festival Directors