Film Festivals Australia is a collaborative, not-for-profit initiative, representing over 50 specialist film festivals based in Sydney and supported by the City Of Sydney. The project aims to build audiences for niche and specialist film festivals, and provide support to film festival organisers. Our activities include building cross-promotional alliances between like-minded festivals, a website portal and festival calendar, umbrella marketing to new and existing audiences, workshops, networking and guidance on social media strategies, resource-sharing and development for film festival organisers.

There are only five cities in the world officially recognised as a UNESCO City of Film, and Sydney is one them, making it the perfect place back in 2014 to launch Film Festivals Australia, an initiative pioneered by Metro Screen.

For close to 35 years Metro Screen, was a centre for screen creativity, working with festival organisers supporting the mushrooming growth of independent screen culture. The Film Festivals Australia program organically grew out of decades of experience and networking to become a formalized resource to develop audiences as well as providing technical, marketing and production support.

Since the closure of Metro Screen in December 2015, Film Festivals Australia has continued to operate independently with continued support from the City of Sydney. Currently administering the project are Katerina Skoumbas and Paris Pompor under the auspice of Queer Screen.

Project History

With the support of City of Sydney and Screen NSW, the Lord Mayor Clover Moore officially launched the Film Festivals Australia project and online calendar at Paddington Reservoir in Sydney on Thursday 3 April 2014.

The Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore –

“Congratulations to Metro Screen for this initiative. I think it’s incredibly important because we’re made up of 200 nationalities here in this city as well as our First Australians, we have such diverse backgrounds and we have amazingly diverse stories to tell. Metro Screen has up until now been a hub and supported filmmakers, but now with Film Festivals Australia we’re really saying ‘we’re made up of many nations and we have many stories.’ So Film Festivals Australia will be able to take carriage of this going forward and enable people to tell their stories. The stories they develop as they become part of Australia and the stories they brought with them from their homeland.”

Christina Alvarez, CEO of Metro Screen welcomed the program –
“It’s the beginning of a very exciting project and we look forward to working with everyone to help realise the full potential of the film festival community.”

Metro Screen conducted an extensive survey during the FFA planning stage and found that a third of the festivals reported their film festival was the largest of its language base, outside the country of origin including Lebanese, German, Russian and Serbian Film Festivals. The Korean Film Festival recently pipped London to become the number one Korean based film festival in the world outside of Korea, in its short 5 year existence.

Other survey highlights included:

  • The collective audience of participating festivals is in excess of 250,000 people per year
  • Collectively thousands of films from around the world are screened
  • 51% program Australian content
  • 64% screen short films as well as features
  • 75% of film festivals are not for profit
  • 92% of venues used have accessible entries

The cultural arm of the United Nations, UNESCO launched the creative cities network to promote the social, economic and cultural development of cities. Sydney was recognized officially in November 2010 for:

  • Openness towards cinema of all cultures
  • Promotion of cinema allows the city to play a leadership role at the regional level
  • The recognition of Australia’s aboriginal culture through cinema
  • The large density of film festivals
  • Sydney’s actions in favour of youth, such as training programmes

A number of cultural film festivals across Greater Sydney have joined the Film Festivals Australia program representing cultures, traditions and language groups from across the globe:

Access All Areas Film Festival
African Film Festival
Alliance Française French Film Festival
A Night of Horror Film Festival
Antenna Documentary Film Festival
Arab Film Festival
Argentine Film Festival
Auburn International Festival of Children and Young Adults
Australian International Fashion Film Festival
Baltic Film Festival
Bicycle Film Festival Sydney
Cause Film Festival
Colourfest Film Festival
Czech & Slovak Film Festival
The First & the Last Experimental Int’l Film Fest (flEXiff 2002-2022)
Fantastic Planet Film Festival
Football Film Festival
German Film Fest
Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival
Good Dog International Film Festival
Greek Film Festival (Delphi Bank)
Harmony Film Festival
Hola Mexico Film Festival
Human Rights Film Festival
Iranian Film Festival
Indonesian Film Festival
Japanese Film Festival
Jewish International Film Festival
KidzFlicks: The Sydney International Festival of Films by Children
Korean Film Festival in Australia
Lebanese Film Festival
Mardi Gras Film Festival
Palestinian Film festival
Pasifika Film Fest
Persian International Film Festival Australia
Perv Queerotic Film Festival
Queer Screen Film Festival
Reel Sydney Festival of World Cinema
REELise Film Festival
Russian Resurrection Film Festival
SciFi Film Festival
Serbian Film Festival
SF3 SmartFone Flick Fest
Shire International Short Film Festival
Short Soup International Film Festival
South Asian Film Festival (Paramasala, Parramatta)
Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Indian Film Festival
Sydney Latin American Film Festival
Sydney Transgender International Film Festival
Sydney Undgerground Film Festival
24/7 Youth Film Festival
Veterans Film Festival (CANBERRA)
Willoughby Shorts Film Festival
WINDA Film Festival
Women Media Arts and Film Festival
Wordless International Short Film Festival
WOW Film Festival (World of Women Cinema)