Sydney Film Festival lights up Lower Town Hall

On Wednesday night, I helped launch this year's Sydney Film Festival. It is one of the world's oldest film festivals, and surely one of the best loved.

Nashen Moodley has put together a broad mix of film, performance and discussion in his first year as Sydney Film Festival Director and I urge you to try and catch one of the 156 films from 51 countries in 49 languages.

Since 1954, the Festival has grown into an internationally renowned event, and this year I am particularly excited about the Festival Hub at Lower Town Hall.

This is a free venue where you can spend an evening relaxing and mingling before or after screenings, see local and international acts, or hear talks and have a drink at our own in-house pop up bar.

The program for the Festival Hub is being curated by the team behind the very successful Jurassic Lounge events at the Australian Museum - guaranteeing that a visit will be an entertaining and thought provoking experience.

The Festival Hub will open with an exhibition of large-scale portraits by Fabrizio Maltese, renowned for his images of actors and film-makers from Woody Allen to John Hurt to Antonio Banderas. Fabrizio will be giving a free talk on Thursday night at 6pm called Confessions of a Festival Photographer.

You'll be able to buy $10 tickets, with no booking fee, to selected next-day screenings at the Hub Ticketing Bar. There's also a terrific line up of performances, a roster of free films, and many panel discussions featuring directors, writers, cinematographers and critics.

Since the restoration of Sydney Town Hall was completed in 2010, thousands of people have visited exhibitions, festivals and talks at Lower Town Hall. I hope you can take this opportunity to do the same.

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