By Adam Coleman

The NSW Government’s total investment in the Sydney Film Festival will now be $2.91 million over the next three years with the announcement today of an additional $2.25 million.

The additional funding comes on top of $600,000 already allocated to the Festival and follows the announcement that NSW will host the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards, in a concerted government push to promote NSW as Australia’s premier state for film.

NSW Minister for the Arts, Virginia Judge told INSIDEFILM, the Sydney Film Festival “has been a major annual event for our city for some time”.

“The aim is to try to draw film professionals from around the world and stimulate our local producers, distributors and exhibitors. I think the festival will provide networking opportunities to local film makers.”

The NSW Government has been working with the Festival over the past few months in a bid to “expand its reach”, reviewing both its operations and structure.

“A review was completed and… recognised some important issues,” said Judge.

Central to the review’s findings was that the Sydney Film Festival is operating in a changing environment post financial crisis. 

“The demographics have grown and changed,” said Judge. “There was a suggestion from the review that there needs to be governance reform. So, there is going to be a new constitution, which will come in from the 28th February,” she said.

The review – produced on the back of last year’s Festival – has also led to a reshuffle of the Festival’s board with the appointment of lawyer, Chris Freeland as chair elect and the departure of Festival president, Virginia Gordon.

“There is a natural turnover of directors. I was already retiring from the board. It’s important to be clear that the board hasn’t been sacked,” she said.

“Three of the current directors are continuing, the rest of them have other work commitments or feel they have done what we set out to do,” she said.

Gordon says the funding is “the most significant announcement in the Sydney Film Festival’s history”.

“It really gives the Festival a strong foundation for the future.”

The Festival is currently in the process of recruiting a new CEO and new board members, with the final appointments expected to be finalised next month. 

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