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Established 1995 serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.


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The Festivalists Aussie based org launches touring film circuit

The Festivalists is a new Sydney-based non-profit organisation dedicated to the production of film festivals and touring programs. Founded partly in reaction to the void left by the closure of truly independent cinemas such as the Chauvel and the Valhalla, the organisation is dedicated to providing new opportunities for audiences to access Australian and world cinema.

Their first project is Young at Heart – Sydney Seniors Film Festival. The event will run from April 2nd to 9th 2006 to coincide with NSW Seniors Week, co-presented by the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care. Managing Director Marianne Alla says: “With baby boomers starting to come of age, the incredibly diverse 55+ age group is now the fastest growing age group within the Australian population. It’s also the age group with the fastest growing cinema attendance rate in Australia. Today’s seniors are both technology and film-savvy; their appreciation of independent cinema is enriched by experience and curiosity. It is about time Australian seniors had a festival to call their own.”

Also in the cards for 2006 is Possible Words – Sydney’s Canadian Film Festival. The July event will bring dozens of new Canadian features, shorts and documentaries to Sydney. A filmmaking workshop and “Kabaret” led by Montreal’s famous Kino group and panel discussions will run alongside the screenings. Artistic Director Mathieu Ravier argues: “Canada and Australia share many similarities: a colonial history, a huge country dominated by wilderness, an indigenous population, a thriving multicultural society and a quest for cultural identity defined in part by the overwhelming impact of American influence. Both countries address similar issues through their cinema, albeit from often very different perspectives. We wanted to provide a chance to share in an amazingly diverse film output with real relevance to Australians.” A package of Canadian films launched at the Festival will go on to tour cinemas across Australia, in collaboration with Film Circuit, a division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group.

Originally from France, Marianne Alla and Mathieu Ravier met in Sydney as teenagers. Their common passion for cinema brought about a solid friendship and the desire to work together someday. Alla studied film at the University of New South Wales and the Academy of Photogenic Arts before moving to Paris where she launched and ran the successful Paris Outdoor Short Film Festival. Ravier completed an MBA with a specialisation in arts administration in Toronto. After stints in Tokyo and Hong Kong, he became programme director of the Commonwealth Film Festival in Manchester. Recently they both returned to Australia, eager to bring together the skills they’d developed overseas.

In between festivals, lookout for exciting special events in Sydney as Alla and Ravier put their energy to good use. March 8th for example will see the premiere of Sabah to celebrate International Women’s Day. Flying from Toronto, filmmaker Ruba Nadda will be on hand to present the film – an insightful story of a Muslim woman’s awakening sensuality and sense of cultural identity - and introduce Sydney audiences to her unique approach and optimistic outlook. The best films – like the best festivals - are often the ones which let us see the world we live in from a new perspective. Bringing knowledge and experience gathered from all corner of the globe, The Festivalists aim to do just that.

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