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New focus on Canberra International Film Festival

Karolina Firman

The Canberra International Film Festival (CIFF), has been entertaining, intriguing and captivating Canberrans for 19 years.

However, unlike previous years, the agenda for the festival’s 2015 season is to have a heavier focus on local film makers. As festival Director Andrew Pike put it, “there is a burgeoning local Canberran film industry that we want to support.”

Andrew has roots in the local film industry, as he was once the manager of the iconic Electric Shadows and is now “looking for ideas that haven’t already been covered by previous festivals.”

Previous festivals have focused Europe, Asia and North America and although the upcoming festival will still be international, the films will have more of a Canberran flair. For instance, the 2015 festival is to be held exclusively at the National Film and Sound Archive, after having been shown at Dendy Canberra Cent for the past several years.

Chris Kennedy, one of the programmers for the festival who has been involved since the very first CIFF says that what they were looking for was “negative [space]. We had a hard look at areas where people weren’t [focusing on]…” and the “rich subject areas such as “Indigenous films, local Australian film, Asian Pacific and archival.”

Andrew continues by saying that they were hoping to “look into the vast treasure trove of films that the archive has, and we mean that literally,” as they will be showing a Taiwanese classic called A Time To Live And A Time To Die which will be played on 35mm film.

As the films are judged by a panel of Canberrans, it can be said that this is a “festival tailored exactly for Canberran audiences”.

Want to check out the CIFF but can’t decide which day to attend? According to Andrew one of the highlights will be “Saturday the 14” as there will be such films showing as Aussie documentary Freedom Stories – about the lives of refugees in Australia – as well as an Iraqi comedy (shot very close to ISIS occupied land) called Memories of Stone.

Chris, however, believes the best date to attend is the Saturday night of the CIFF, with a German thriller that’s almost three hours long, shot all in one take, as well as a great Aussie film, called the The Look of Silence which has a “very intense mood”.

the essentials
What: The Canberra International Film Festival
Where: The National Film and Sound Archive, Acton.
When:  The festival runs from 5-15 November

Image: Memories of Stone


Karolina Firman

Karolina Firman is a hopeful new journalist trying to find her way. She is due to graduate with a double degree in Journalism/Arts from the University of Canberra. Karolina believes in leaving the world better than in the condition she found it in, like a rental house. More about the Author