Govt boost for Sydney Film Fest

22 February, 2010 by IF

Press release from NSW Government

Minister for State and Regional Development Ian Macdonald and Minister for the Arts Virginia Judge today announced $2.25 million in additional State Government funding for the Sydney Film Festival –


Australia’s oldest continuous film festival. Mr Macdonald said the Festival plays a pivotal role in positioning NSW as Australia’s ‘Screen State’ and key employer in the creative industries.

“NSW boasts an incredible depth of creative and technical screen talent, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of all people employed in Australia’s screen industries,” he said.

“The flow-on effects of the Sydney Film Festival should not be underestimated, both in terms of employment for film industry workers and attracting local and overseas audiences for Australian films.

“It draws film professionals from around the world, creating new business opportunities for local producers, distributors and exhibitors, and includes industry events and seminars which provide extensive international market intelligence and business contacts.”

In the final six months of 2009, the NSW Government invested $5.7 million in 34 local film or television projects, generating $69 million in expenditure.

NSW Government incentives have also helped secure more than 2,300 jobs on current productions including Happy Feet 2 and Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

Ms Judge said the funding boost comes on top of $660,000 already allocated to the festival, bringing the Government’s total investment to $2.91 million over three years.

“With Premier Keneally’s recent announcement that Sydney would host the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards for the next three years, this funding injection will further promote NSW

internationally as Australia’s dominant State for film,” she said. “The Keneally Government has the plans, the incentives and determination to ensure NSW is the premier place to produce, promote and present film.”

Key elements of the NSW Screen Strategy, introduced in 2008, include:

• Production investment, from script development through to loans;

• Industry incentives to attract major international and Australian productions to NSW, including the NSW Film and Television Industry Attraction Fund (FIAF) and Regional Filming Fund (RFF);

• Investment in skills, through the VFX Placement Scheme: which has placed 64 trainees in fields such as film, television, and digital and visual effects; and the Emerging Filmmakers Fund, which has supported 119 projects from young filmmakers; and

• Industry and audience development, including tours, film festivals, public screenings, conferences, seminars and mentoring programs.

Increasing community participation in the arts and cultural activities – a State Plan objective – will be achieved through the additional funding.

The NSW Government has been working with the Sydney Film Festival over the past few months to review its operations and structure, in order to expand its reach.

“NSW is a world-leader in digital production and post-production – and Australian film audiences increasingly expect access to new formats,” Ms Judge said.

“A revitalised Festival can aim to increase and diversify audiences across the State, with year round programming and events and a renewed focus on Western Sydney, building on the success

of the Travelling Film Festival to regional NSW.”

The 2010 Festival will visit Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Byron Bay, Wollongong, Newcastle, Huskisson and Bowraville.

“I am determined to ensure that NSW remains the premier State for the creative industries – and that support does not end at Sydney’s CBD,” Ms Judge said.

Mr Macdonald and Ms Judge also announced the appointment of respected lawyer Chris Freeland (Gilbert + Tobin) as Chair-elect of the Sydney Film Festival’s new board.

“I wish to thank the outgoing board, especially its President, Virginia Gordon, for their hard work and look forward to working closely with Mr Freeland and the incoming Festival board to deliver the best Festival yet,” Ms Judge said.

The Sydney Film Festival runs from 2-14 June 2010.