Our history at Sydney Film Festival

"The first Sydney Film Festival opened on June 11, 1954, on a cold winter’s night. It screened in four halls over four days on borrowed projectors, offering 1200 tickets at one guinea each, and sold out."
- Tina Kaufman

The first Chairman of the Sydney Film Festival, the University of Sydney's Professor Alan Stout, wrote in its inaugural program in 1954 that it was not only hoped the festival would become an annual event, "but to make it better every year". Six decades later and his legacy lives on, with the Sydney Film Festival a premier event on Australia's cultural calendar and one of the oldest continuing film festivals in the world.

The Sydney Film Festival was born from the vision of a committee of dedicated film buffs, who united with the goal of creating a local event to showcase otherwise inaccessible films, and to help share new ideas. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Alan Stout, was chair of this committee, which included Sydney University Film Group President David Donaldson, who became the festivals' inaugural director.

The University of Sydney is proud of our strong heritage at the Sydney Film Festival, being both its spiritual home as the site of the first ever festival, as well as deeply involved in its formative years from 1954 - 1967. It is with great pleasure that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney reinvigorates this connection on its milestone 60th anniversary, as a proud cultural partner of the 2013 Sydney Film Festival.

The following gallery is compiled courtesy of images from the 'Sydney Film Festival 1954 to Now: A Living Archive' eBook, available at the festival's website. Take a look back in time at our involvement in the early years of the festival.

Photo gallery: 60 Years of the Sydney Film Festival