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Encouraged With Packed Houses at Festivals in India, Australian Film Festival of India 14-15 Announces Expansion to Universities

Siddharth Dhongle | January, 20 2015

The 3rd Edition of India’s only annual AUSTRALIAN FILM FESTIVAL, began with the renowned INTERNATIONAL BENGALURU FILM FESTIVAL and swiftly moved on to the highly anticipated CHENNAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, with reports of packed out theatres for all of AFFI’s selected Australia films. 

This year Destination NSW is the strategic partner with University of Newcastle supporting India’s only guide to Australian film services being distributed through festival across cities and universities in India. 

The Festival will see a number of new and acclaimed Australian films in over 8 cities and various universities; some of which have yet to screen in Indian cinemas. Films include The Rover (2014) from director David Michod starring Australia’s Guy Pearce, the suspenseful horror flick The Babadook (2014), written and directed by Jennifer Kent, These Final Hours(2014), Aaron Wilson’s Canopy (2013), Charlie’s Country (2013), The Infinite Man (2014) among others. With the festival growing exponentially to more than 8 cities and universities, there are plenty of films and other cinematic creations still to be announced as requests keep pouring in from the diverse destinations of the festival in India. 

2015 sees brand new locations for the festival. Beginning on the 19th of January with RANCHI UNIVERSITY, the AFFI follows through to screen at the Birla Institute of Technology Bit – Ranchi, Jagan Institute of Management – New Delhi, Indraprasthra College, Delhi University – Delhi and Vivekanand Institute for Professional Studies – New Delhi. With the promise of many more locations, including Nashik International Film Festival, Jaipur International Film Festival (Charlie’s country will close the festival) the festival is going to travel the breadth and length of the biggest moving producing nation in the world till May 2015. 

Destination New South Wales’ Chief Executive Officer Ms. Sandra Chipchase’s, said “India is a key market for us, so the more we can do to showcase all the wonderful things to see and do in Sydney and NSW, the better. From April 2013 to March 2014, we welcomed 82,000 Indians to Sydney and NSW who contributed $197 million into the NSW economy, so it’s a market we want to continue to support.” Ms. Chipchase goes on to say, “In addition to supporting the Film Festival, Destination NSW recently launched Jhappi Time, a campaign to encourage friends and relatives to visit their loved ones who live in our spectacular Harbour City or throughout beautiful Regional NSW.” 

AFFI is always striving to bring great Australian film to as large an audience as possible and so are happy to announce the festival will also be found in numerous universities and other locations throughout India for the first time. 

University of Newcastle lecturer and producer of the festival in India Professor Vikrant Kishore stated, “University of Newcastle is trying to forge new relations with various India Universities and Institute. I was a part of a delegate that visited India last year, and we decided that we should start collaborative projects with the mass communication and journalism departments of various Indian institutes and therefore, when this opportunity to sponsor India’s only guide to Australian Film Services under the aegis of An Australian Film Initiative came across, we thought it would a great creative way to advance the tie with various partner Universities/Institutes.” 

Festival Founding Directors Anupam Sharma and Peter Castaldi expressed how humbled they are by the support they continue to receive for the Festival and all that it stands for. Sharma stating “The dream of creating India’s only annual Australia Film Festival could not have become a reality with the support of our partners, sponsors and individuals alike. We at An Australia Film Initiative are astounded by the sheer growth of the festival in just 3 years.” 

With Hugh Jackman supporting the inaugural festival and after the success of Bill Bennett and Baz Luhrmann films as Retrospective Directors, this year Phillip Noyce graciously accepted to be the retrospective Director. Noyce titles include Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), Dead Calm (1989), Newsfront (1978) and Backroads (1977). Speaking from Los Angeles Phillip Noyce said “I am delighted to see this extensive collection of my film and television works screening at the retrospective program for the Australia Film Festival of India 2014/2015. To be a part of such an extensive tour through one of the world’s greatest and most diverse filmmaking cultures is all the more exciting for me.” 

Festival Executive Lisa Walton explains the excitement and enthusiasm with working in collaboration with festivals and institutes throughout India, “The enthusiasm and dedication each festival and universities exhibit is both heartening and motivating. To see the same interest and hard work An Australian Film Initiative puts into running the Australian Film Festival of India is rivaled by that of our Indian collaborators. To share our Australian films and the Initiative’s values with them is rewarding and creates integral ties between our two great filmmaking countries.”

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