Change Ahead for the AFI

Undergoing a reinvention, the AFI is, among other things, looking to change its name and the running of its main event – the AFI Awards.

9b7c039a1b07724c8cbf.jpg

Now in its 53rd year, the Australian Film Institute (AFI) is announcing "a period of consultation with its constituents and the wider community" as it reviews its strategic aims and programs, and prepares to embark on a period of significant development.

Ultimately, these changes will result in the establishment of an ‘Australian Academy'. The idea behind this Academy is to adapt successful elements from some of the world's leading screen organisations.

"We thought a better way to engage with the industry would be to try and improve our professional membership structure," AFI's CEO, Damian Trewhella, told FILMINK yesterday about the proposed changes. "Our proposal was to transform the longstanding AFI membership structure to a more ‘Academy model' that both the Brits and the Americans have."

So how will this structure work exactly? All the specifics and technicalities haven't been nutted out yet but Trewhella says that, "We're proposing an Honorary Council that helps govern this new entity and it's made up of representatives from each of the different guilds. There will also be a mix of people from film, television, documentary and there will be a gender, age and geographical balance among them."

One of the significant changes in this process will be to move the awards ceremony from Melbourne to Sydney and crucially, it will take place in late January rather than December. It's a move that attempts to pull the Australian ceremony in line with the "Awards Season" - the period when the Academy Awards and BAFTAS take place - and will also allow the industry to include many more projects from 2011.

While this move undoubtedly hopes to see the AFI awards considered more seriously within an international context, Trewhella was also conscious that this change in date would see the Awards take place closer to Australia Day, and he was keen to see local films more closely associated to our national identity.

Obviously, this change in date will mean that this year, there will be no awards ceremony, with the first to commence in late January, 2012.

Over the past few years, one could argue that the AFI's role as a cultural institution and hub has diminished so that now it is recognised almost solely as the host of the annual AFI Awards. Trewhella hopes that the awards are just the first change in an overall strategic reinvention for the institution.

"It's about trying to get a more broad based structure behind us, so each year, when we try and think about what is really important, all of the industry will be very well represented," Trewhella explains. "It's quite a big improvement on the way the AFI does things. I think we've seen the Brits and Americans develop structures that have been more successful so it's trying to move in line with things people recognise and understand."

For more information about these changes, visit the AFI website, which has just launched the Industry Consultation.

comments powered by Disqus
follow us on twitter
like us on facebook

latest issue

Filmink latest issue

latest features

FilmInk’s Top 10 Films Of 2014

We rewind back through the last twelve months and count down the ten best flicks of the year.

The Horror, The Horror...

Hollywood is hard-pressed when it comes to delivering something new, and that’s double the case when it comes to the horror genre.

FilmInk’s Christmas Games Guide

We’re here to let you know which end of year releases are worthy of your attention – and will keep you sane during the silly season. Game on!

Run Khan Run!

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan talks about his new role in ‘P.K.’, an Indian comedy being branded the new Forrest Gump.

latest reviews

What's Wrong With Australian Films
What's Wrong With Australian Films

This doco tackles this constantly debated question with a bold and fresh approach.

Big Eyes
Big Eyes

Tim Burton strips back his usual theatrics to tell this simple but touching story reminiscent of the filmmaker's early work.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (3D)
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (3D)

While it’s plagued by the problems of its predecessors, Peter Jackson’s final voyage to Middle-Earth packs a surprising amount of punch.

Keep On Keepin' On
Keep On Keepin' On

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a fan of jazz to be a fan of this joyful, revelatory music doc.