Festival Director 2018
Coming to CIFF from decades running Electric Shadows and other independent cinemas, I’m automatically looking for an “edge”: ways to accentuate this Festival’s difference from the plethora of nationality-based film festivals in Canberra’s commercial cinemas, and in cinemas nationally. Our funding agencies have asked us: what makes CIFF different and why should we fund it? It’s a fair question when so many festivals are coming our way all year round.
Our aim in 2018 is to present a short 3 day event as a prelude to a much larger event in 2019. The focus this year and next will be fully retrospective, presenting celebrated and neglected films from the past, given contemporary relevance through a range of guest speakers, Q&As and panel discussions. The emphasis will be on achievements by filmmakers who have worked in Australia, and also exploring the work of the Australian diaspora abroad.
Many of the film festivals that are presented these days in commercial cinemas have a few retrospective elements, but no major Festival in Australia has to date been prepared to go as far as we intend to go in 2019. For us, it is about pushing the envelope in order to accentuate our difference, and to give ourselves a truly unique place in the local and national Festival landscape, by offering a strong, curated retrospective celebration of what is known and unknown in the past of cinema.
We have also adopted an approach to programming that differs from the style of other festivals. Instead of a retinue of stand-alone significant works we will aim to program in “strands” - linking films emotionally and thematically with each other, providing context for each other, enlightening each other.
By design, our program intends to provide an unusual viewing experience which we hope you will want to engage with intensively and will find stimulating and memorable.