Good Stories are Universal

The Sydney Film Festival, one of the longest running events of its kind in the world, showcases a wide and bold selection of films from the world over, under the stewardship of new Festival Director Nashen Moodley. fluoro spoke with Moodley to discuss the Sydney Film Festival and the international film festival circuit.

(f) What ingredients make a successful film festival?

(NM) Full cinemas to begin with. There’s nothing quite like the anticipation in a full cinema just before the film begins – it’s a great moment for both the audience and the filmmaker. When creating a program as large as that of Sydney Film Festival it is important to ensure diversity and balance – there should be something for everyone. For filmmakers, we want the festival to offer a high-profile platform for the presentation of their films and opportunities to engage with their fellow filmmakers, the audience and the Australian industry. For our audience we want to create a welcoming festival with films that both satisfy and challenge, and great filmmakers to engage with.  

(f) Films that win the Live Action and Animation categories of the Dendy Awards are eligible for Academy Award selection. How do these films differ to their American and international counterparts?

(NM) Australian short films are as inventive, stylish, dramatic and compelling as their international counterparts. Luke Doolan’s ‘Miracle Fish’ – a winner at the SFF, and an Academy nominee in 2009 – is a story that could take place in any urban school in the world.  Good stories, well told, are universal.

(f) How important is it that rural areas get as much exposure to film festivals as urban areas, and why?

(NM) It is very important that rural areas have exposure to film festivals. Australia is a big country, with many thriving regional towns made up of different cultural and language groups and home to strong arts movements and collectives. Regional touring film festivals fulfill a hunger and a need in rural areas, presenting opportunities to regional filmmakers and audiences and help build a robust and active screen culture across the continent.

(f) Any new projects in the works?

(NM) We are really excited about our new initiative, the Sydney Film Festival Hub at Lower Town Hall, a place for both filmmakers and the audience to hang out, featuring an action-packed line-up of live music, DJs, talks, panels, screenings, parties and loads of things to see and do from 5pm to 10pm, from Thursday 7 June to Sunday 17 June. This year, for the first time, we are also launching Gourmet Cinema – a chance to watch a foodie film and then eat a meal inspired by the film, created by a top chef.

The Sydney Film Festival will run from Wednesday 6 June to Sunday 17 June 2012.

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