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Overview of the Sydney Film Festival

22 June 2012

Whether you are a film fanatic or just enjoy the occasional documentary, the Sydney Film Festival is one of the highlights of the year every year in Sydney, and offers an opportunity to finally see something good at the movies. The following is a brief overview of the festival.

The Sydney Film Festival got its start back in 1954 when it first took place at the University of Sydney, showcasing films that included Jour de Fait and The General. Since then, the film festival has taken place every year, expanding and growing to take advantage of different venues and parts of the city. The Sydney Film Festival is now a 12-day festival that draws local, national and international attention.


Since 1977, the Sydney Film Festival has been providing a fantastic opportunity for audiences to discuss the films they have watched with the filmmakers that made them. An odd concept when they started doing this back in 1977, the dialogue element of the festival is now the favourite of many.

The Sydney Film Prize

Great prizes like these are part of the reason why Australia has such an amazing film industry. The Sydney Film Prize is a $60,000 cash prize awarded at the festival each year for the director taking film in a new direction, rewarding “films which have emotional power and resonance, are audacious, cutting edge and courageous, and go beyond the usual treatment of a subject matter.” Other awards on offer through the festival include the CRC Award, the Dendy Awards, the Rouben Mamoulian Award and the FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize.


Tickets to the Sydney Film Festival cost $10 per showing for a child, and $18.50 per adult, with a whole range of passes available for those who want to check out more than a couple of films.


This year, from June 6-17, the Sydney Film Festival will take place once again all over this gorgeous city, and it looks like being another amazing year. The festival will feature a dazzling array of local and international films including, The Loneliest Planet, Faust, and A Simple Life. The full program will be announced on May 9, and will include more than 150 feature films, documentaries and short films from all over Australia and the world.


The Sydney Film Festival wouldn’t be the same without all of its fabulous volunteers, who do everything from hand out voting cards to usher people to their seats. Volunteers also receive some movie watching privileges for their trouble too, so if you love film and have some time to volunteer, go online and fill out a Sydney Film Festival volunteer application.

Submitting your work

The Sydney Film Festival is always looking to showcase fresh films and raw talent, so if you feel like you have a film worth watching, there is no harm in submitting it. Your film may end up being a huge hit, and even taking home a prize, so check the Sydney Film Festival website for submission dates and deadlines.


If you are coming to the festival from outside of Sydney, book your short term accommodation early, because everything from hotels to serviced apartments fill up a little more quickly when the film festival comes to town.

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