FESTIVALS: The 60th Sydney Film Festival wrapped on Sunday 16 June 2013 with the Australian Premiere of the documentary 'Twenty Feet from Stardom', bringing to a close the most highly attended Sydney Film Festival to date.
“Attendances at films and talks grew by 17% to 143,050,” said SFF CEO Leigh Small. “There was also a 22% increase in tickets issued leading to a 20% increase in revenue. Beyond the numbers, the favourable buzz all over the city was palpable – this is an event that Sydney continues to embrace anew each year.”
“In this, my second year as Festival Director, it was both exciting and humbling to be part of a team that delivered to Sydney its 60th film festival,” said SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “Seeing such growing popularity with audiences for the screenings, talks and other events makes all the hard work seem so worthwhile. The filmmakers who participated in the festival were delighted with the response of the audience, and it was great to see so many Australian and international filmmakers interacting and sharing ideas, approaches and inspiration.”
This year, SFF announced a new partnership entitled Screen: Black with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, a team that has nurtured many of the projects and filmmakers that Sydney Film Festival has screened. This year’s program featured award-winning director Ivan Sen’s Opening Night film 'Mystery Road'; Steven McGregor’s documentary 'Big Name No Blanket'; emerging talent Dylan McDonald’s documentary, 'Buckskin' – which was awarded the 2013 Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize – and Jon Bell’s short film 'The Chuck In'.
The Hon. George Souris, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and Minister for the Arts, said the 60th Sydney Film Festival has played a starring role in a spectacular month of special events.
“Sydney Film Festival is part of what is fast becoming a globally recognised winter festival program that showcases Sydney’s creative expertise and capacity for staging major events.”
“Congratulations to Nashen Moodley and the SFF team on preparing such a superb program, which included several World Premieres. It’s pleasing to see so many sold-out sessions, including the Opening Night screening of 'Mystery Road'. If the lines outside the cinemas on George Street waiting to attend SFF films are any indication, the enthusiastic support of audiences demonstrates the importance of arts and culture to the community. The NSW Government recognises this through its support for the screen industry, as well as tourism and major events,” said Minister Souris.
The Festival Hub at Lower Town Hall returned for a second successful year with attendances increasing by 16 per cent. Over ten days the Festival Hub attracted over 9,000 visitors for free filmmaker talks, screenings, live acts and mingling with other patrons at the Keystone Bar. A Hub highlight was awarding-winning European artist and filmmaker Jeff Desom’s Rear Window Loop, stunning 20-minute panoramic three-channel video projection shown daily. Other memorable moments included steamy burlesque performances, outrageous home-grown stand-up comedy, and a dance-a-rama Freak Me Out disco spun by the genre’s programmer Richard Kuipers.
All up there were a total of 278 sessions held across the 12 days of the Festival, including 192 films from 55 countries in 54 languages, 20 world premieres, 4 international premieres and 124 Australian premieres, 17 retrospective titles, 82 features, 51 documentaries and 30 short films.
For the first time ever SFF screened films from Angola ('Death Metal Angola', screening in the Sounds onScreen program), Bangladesh ('Television'), North Korea ('Comrade Kim Goes Flying'), Malawi ('William and the Windmill') and Saudi Arabia ('Wadjda' directed by Saudi Arabia’s first-ever female filmmaker).
Over 150 Australian and International filmmakers attended SFF 2013. This prestigious list included guests from 19 countries who attended over 75 talks and Q&A sessions hosted by filmmakers, writers, actors and industry guests across six venues over 12 days. There were 15 free talks and more than 60 screenings with filmmaker introductions and post-film Q&As at this year’s festival, across all venues.
“Sydney Film Festival is both an important cultural event for Sydney and the Australian film industry,” said Ruth Harley, Screen Australia’s Chief Executive. “The Festival is significant in the development of fostering the talents of new Australian filmmakers and showcasing the best new Australian films. It also provides an opportunity for audiences to interact with international filmmakers. It is wonderful to see the Sydney Film Festival continue to grow in popularity with audiences.”
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