The 2011 Dungog Film Festival (DFF) program will screen 194 features, documentaries, TV-sneak peaks and for the first time digital content, later this month.

Festival director and co-founder Allanah Zitserman said the the only all-Australian film festival in the world was continuing to grow despite challenging economic circumstances.

“Perceived success does not always bode well with asking for favours,” she said. “Our income was served a hit from the lingering GFC [global financial crisis] effect and a series of heart-wrenching natural disasters which caused many potential sponsors to, understandably, relocate funds.”

The festival, which was launched yesterday at Sydney's Rocks, has been supported by NSW Mineral Council, Oovie, Events NSW, CountryLink, Getty Images and several others.

This year's DFF will include the world premiere of ten feature films, such as Frank and Jerry (dir. Nick McGee) and a screening of the first Chinese-Australian feature The Dragon Pearl, starring Sam Neill. The much anticipated world premiere for documentary Charles Blackman: An Imprint In Time will screen on May 27 while the short Moving Day will screen on May 28.

Three feature films made by Australian school students through DFF’S Oovie Student Film Project will also premiere at the festival this year, which Zitserman estimates will attract over 7000 people to the area.

The NSW Minister for the Arts (and Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing) George Souris was quick to highlight NSW’s position within the national cinematic output (47 per cent of the national total), as well as his own status as an avid Dungog-ian.

“I actually have a full collection of the t-shirts, and I treasure it,” confessed the MP to a receptive audience. “They’re going to be a collectors item: I leave the labels on, leave the plastic covering on, because nothing can beat the slogan that captured my imagination from day one – Done-Cannes, Done-Sundance, Dungog.”

Amongst the other speakers were Su-Ern Tan (Deputy CEO of the festival’s major sponsor NSW Mineral Council), director Peter Duncan and local actress Susie Porter.

Screenwriter and playwright David Williamson (Gallipoli) and composers Lisa Gerrard and Michael Yezerski will also be running Masterclasses over the weekend.

The full festival program can be found here shortly.

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