Film Festival to adopt ‘grassroots’ focus

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HOORAY! The Canberra International Film Festival has been rescued by a team of local experts and will be back with a ‘grassroots’ focus.

New home for festival
New home for festival

As well, it will have a new home at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, where it will run from November 5-15, in the NFSA’s Arc cinema, with the theatrette and gallery spaces making space for workshops and discussions.

The festival is to be curated by a lineup of volunteer film enthusiasts who specialise in local, Indigenous, Asian, education and documentary genres, to be convened by Ronin Films founder and Electric Shadows cinema former manager, Andrew Pike.

The other festival programmers are NFSA’s head of education and film critic Cris Kennedy, producer Alice Taylor from the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association, and Olivier Krischer from the ANU’s Centre for China in the World, who believes Canberra has a strong film culture with discerning and educated film-goers who want to be stimulated and challenged by a “less commercial, grassroots festival”.

“We aim to inform, stimulate and engage Canberra film-goers through a carefully selected mix of high quality and distinctive films that we are passionate about and want to share with the CIFF audience,” Pike says.

According to Kennedy, they will be “showcasing Canberra’s filmmakers alongside Indigenous films, screenings from the Asia-Pacific and Middle East, and restored classics,”

The full program will be released in September but films already selected for the festival include the new NFSA restoration of the 1957 classic “The Shiralee” and the 2015 martial arts film “The Assassin” by Taiwanese cinematic master Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

NFSA General Manager, Meg Labrum, welcomed the festival to its new home.

Regular updates will be posted at

[Photo: the new CIFF committee]

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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