(9am, Wednesday 7 May 2014, Customs House)
Thank you, Leigh [Small, SFF Director]. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for getting here so early!
I'd also like to acknowledge the NSW Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant.
Once again, one of the world's oldest film festivals is set to intrigue, challenge and delight us.
You'll see in the program guide launched today a real smorgasbord of film, some from directors making a debut appearance here, others from long-established Sydney Film Festival favourites.
There are works from emerging local writers and directors, and others from internationally-recognised names.
Together, they cover a gamut of subjects that reflect the issues of our time, whether it's women's rights or the right to gay marriage; the threats to our global environment, and hence to everything we take for granted on this beautiful planet. Some look at war, and others at the secretive world of intelligence-gathering.
It's an incredible feast for film-lovers and it will run across a number of venues.
In particular, it has one home in our beautiful Town Hall, with The Hub at Lower Town Hall being the buzzy place to gather pre-and post-screenings.
There'll be a specially tailored entertainment program with interactive media to provide a stimulating environment, while our Treasury Room will be the venue for panel discussions.
Based on previous experience, it will be a lively place with plenty of the discussion and debate that a good festival invariably provokes.
I am delighted that we are working more closely than ever with the Festival, and that we were able to increase the level of our support for this wonderful Sydney institution which is so much a part of lively, multicultural, creative Sydney.