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Katrina Sedgwick to leave BigPond Adelaide Film Festival at the end of 2011

After nine and a half years as Festival Director/ CEO of the Adelaide Film Festival, Katrina Sedgwick today announced she would be leaving the Festival at the end of 2011 to pursue other opportunities in the arts as well in film. She will continue in her role until the end of the year before handing over to a new Festival Director in early 2012.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to have been able to develop and deliver my own fairly idiosyncratic version of a film festival over the past decade. The festival’s investment fund has been quite extraordinary, allowing us to support and work closely with some of the finest filmmakers and artists in this country and it’s been so great to see so much of the work go on to significant success in Australia and around the world. Adelaide is a very special place to present a festival, and the support of my colleagues – staff and Board of the festival, the government and sponsors, the program partners, the industry and most of all the film makers - has been sensational. I’ll miss so many aspects of this role – but after five festivals I’m ready for new challenges.”

In 2002 Katrina Sedgwick commenced as the founding director of AFF and over the course of five festivals she has steered the country’s youngest and smallest film event to its current position as one of the world’s most innovative and exciting film festivals. Its hallmarks have been her exceptional judgement in recognising and supporting filmmakers with vision and talent, a great willingness to take risks, and the continual introduction of exciting new programs and partnerships. She has curated and managed the Festival’s Investment Fund, investing in 47 new Australian films, all of which have premiered at the Festival. In 2007 Sedgwick introduced an International Jury Prize to the Festival. She has had a strong commitment to visual art through the Art and Moving Image program and in 2011 conceived and presented THE HIVE laboratory which brought together filmmakers with artists from other fields including theatre, dance, visual art, music and writing to explore creative process and collaboration. This led to the establishment $600,000 Hive Production Fund with partners the ABC TV and the Australia Council for the Arts with outcomes to be premiered at the festival in 2013.

Accolades for the festival have flowed. In 2008 BAFF was listed in Variety’s Top 50 Film Festivals, the only Australian Film Festival to make the list. Earlier this year New York’s Museum Of Modern Art presented a program of AFF Investment Fund supported films in recognition of the quality, daring and vision of these works. The AACTA Awards nominees announced last week read almost as a tribute to the Festival with all four of the feature length documentary nominees – Life In Movement, Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, Mrs Carey’s Concert and The Tall Man being Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund recipients. The 2011 AFFIF funded feature films Snowtown and Hail were selected for Cannes and Venice Film Festivals respectively and the short film The Palace has been selected for Telluride. These follow on the 2009 success of Samson & Delilah, which was awarded the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

South Australian Premier Mike Rann said that when he established the Adelaide Film Festival in 2002, he wanted it to be different from the other 3000 film festivals around the world.

“Our vision was for a film festival that would commission, as well as screen films,” he said.

“When Bob Ellis and I met Katrina, who had done such a good job with the Fringe Festival, we knew instantly she would give our Film Festival the edge and innovation it needed.

“She took a courageous and visionary approach to her work which ensured it became noticed on the world stage very quickly.
“Katrina has done an outstanding job and we wish her every best wish with her future endeavours. She has an even more stellar career ahead of her,” Mr Rann said.

Cheryl Bart, chair of the BigPond Adelaide Film Festival Board, said “Katrina has been an exceptional Festival Director, building the BAFF and our Investment Fund from its inception into one of the leading festivals in Australia with global recognition. She has brought vision and great creativity to her role and we have been rewarded time and again with quality Australian product, often supporting first time Directors and Producers, winning critical acclaim and box office results. We wish Katrina every success in her next creative role."

The BigPond Adelaide Film festival will be looking to appoint a new director in 2012. The position will be advertised in September. The 2013 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival will take place from 10 – 20 October 2013. This is a permanent date change for the festival, which has until now run from late February to early March.

Further details at For updates check the BAFF Facebook page


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