Film Industry Calls for New Sydney Film Centre

Sydney could get its first-ever centre dedicated to film, under a proposal from Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Australia's most important screen names.

Director Gillian Armstrong, producer Jan Chapman, TV Presenter Margaret Pomeranz, AFTRS CEO Sandra Levy, Sydney Film Festival's (SFF) outgoing Festival Director Clare Stewart and SFF's CEO Leigh Small have formed the Sydney Film Centre Committee to help create the centre.

The committee's bid is supported by film industry luminaries Dr George Miller, Cate Blanchett, Bryan Brown, Jane Campion, Toni Collette, Andrew Denton, Robyn Nevin, Guy Pearce, Richard Roxburgh, Geoffrey Rush and Peter Weir as well as organisations including the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, the Motion Pictures Distribution Association of Australia, Australian Independent Distributors Association and Metro Screen.

Last night, Council agreed to a recommendation put forward by the Lord Mayor for $30,000 towards a feasibility study into the centre, under the auspice of the Sydney Film Festival.

A film centre will provide an exciting hub for film and contribute to Sydney's creative culture by:

  • staging major film exhibitions and events;
  • giving the National Film and Sound Archive a place in Sydney to screen their extensive archive;
  • providing facilities for people to watch films on demand, using digitised technology;
  • running education programs for schools and other film related education activities;
  • offering opportunities to screen classic and contemporary film that may otherwise not be seen in Sydney; and
  • providing a meeting place for film makers and people interested in film - informally and formally with talks, lectures, film discussion groups and an office space for film-related organisations.

"NSW is the confirmed leader of screen production in Australia - with NSW companies generating 66% of national drama production alone. Its economic impact is substantial - more than 1400 film and television related businesses are located in NSW, employing more than 6,800 people and generating income in the vicinity of $1.3 billion each year," the Lord Mayor said.

"Sydney's film industry are joining forces and pushing hard for a new film venue for the city. I strongly support its proposal.

"The centre would screen Australian film, run education programs for schools and show the National Film and Sound Archive's incredible collection."

The Sydney Film Festival will auspice the feasibility study which will investigate the scale of a venue, infrastructure, operating model, possible locations and its benefit to the Sydney economy, culture and tourism.

"The feasibility study will help prepare the case to go to State and Federal Governments to seek their support in creating a centre."

Margaret Pomeranz, speaking in Sydney today on behalf of the Sydney Film Centre committee said: "We are thrilled that the Lord Mayor is backing our vision."

"We are proposing the establishment of Sydney Film Centre - an institution that will actively foster smart culture and become integral to the positioning of Sydney as Australia's leading creative city."

Sydney is recognised by UNESCO Creative Cities' Network as a City of Film. The Lord Mayor said the proposal was about turning the Sydney Film Centre Committee's idea into reality.

"I know that such a centre will bring enormous benefit to Sydney's economy, cultural life and tourism."

Media contact: Julie Delvecchio 0499 924 391

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