The University of Sydney reunites with the Sydney Film Festival to celebrate 60 years

10 May 2013

60 years ago, a number of dedicated film buffs formed a committee with the intention of starting up a film festival in Sydney. This committee was led by Alan Stout, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, and it was decided early on that Sydney University Film Group President David Donaldson would take on the role of Director. The University was therefore the obvious inaugural venue, and thus a film festival was born.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will reunite with one of Sydney's most exciting cultural events on its milestone anniversary by becoming a cultural partner of the Sydney Film Festival in 2013.

"We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring the Sydney Film Festival this year, reconnecting with a festival that has its origins at the University over 60 years ago," says Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

At the forefront of our involvement is Master of Film Studies graduate and Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour, whose film Wadjda is included in the Sydney Film Festival Official Competition. Her visit to Australia is proudly supported by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

As well as her film screenings, Haifaa will also be participating in the Apple Store talks series, in conversation with Film Studies lecturer Dr Richard Smith, who oversaw the original script of Wadjda when Haifaa was undertaking her postgraduate studies.

At the festival program launch at Customs House on Wednesday 8 May, Festival Director Nashen Moodley noted that many countries never previously represented in the festival are included in this 60th edition lineup.

"You would think that after the screening of a phenomenal 8580 films over the last 59 years, there would be no cinematic territory left uncharted. Well that turns out to be untrue. This year, for the very first time, Sydney Film Festival will present films from Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malawi, Angola, and North Korea.

"All in all, we have a program that represents the state of cinema today and these films say a great deal about the world in which we live, and say it in innovative and daring ways," he says.

NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris, also reflected on the milestone 60 years of the festival at the launch.

"The Sydney Film Festival is one of NSW's major cultural events. I have no doubt that we will be just as surprised and entertained by the selection on offer at the 2013 Festival as our forebears were back in 1954, when the first film festival was held at the University of Sydney."

Our film experts will feature in a range of entertaining short talks at this years' event, with the return of the Sydney Film Festival Hub @ Lower Town Hall. In the discussion 'Short Cuts 1: Quick Talks By Film Addicts, Dr Bruce Isaacs from the Department of Film Studies will join a panel of self-proclaimed 'film addicts' to share his take on the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Vertigo.

A series of four fascinating 15-minute talks by faculty academics will also take place at the Festival Hub event 'Short Cuts 2: Quick Talks By Film Experts'. Among the topics up for discussion are gender in film by Professor Annamarie Jagose, portrayals of the ancient world on the big screen by Dr Alastair Blanshard, representations of race in film by Dr Jane Park, and an investigation of documentary making for global change by Professor James Der Derian.

Film-loving students will have the chance to experience a taste of the Festival right on campus, with a special event scheduled for Monday 20 May featuring Sydney Film Festival Director, Nashen Moodley.

Professor Duncan Ivison says the faculty's renewed connection with the Sydney Film Festival presents a wonderful opportunity to showcase the broad spectrum of cinematic research within the faculty.

"Film is one of the great artistic and communicative mediums of our time and our researchers are currently thinking, writing and teaching about film across a wide spectrum of our disciplines - including not only film studies and screenwriting, but English, History, Classics, philosophy, media, languages and economics.

"This new partnership is yet another aspect to our commitment to bring our passion for ideas and the value of the humanities and social sciences more generally to as wide an audience as possible," he says.

The Sydney Film Festival runs from 5 - 16 June 2013. For further information about our line-up of events, visit our new Sydney Film Festival microsite.

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Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208, 0434 561 056

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