International film festival opens window on the world

Published 29 July 2008

Ann Pettigrew

The 5th Armidale International Film Festival begins this Friday evening, when it will be opened by the festival Patron, Ann Pettigrew (pictured here).

“The International Film Festival Committee is delighted that Ann is opening the event,” said Committee member Caroline Downer, “with the screening of two critically acclaimed films on the opening night: Die Falscher (‘The Counterfeiters’) from Austria and Mio fratello e figlio unico (‘My Brother is an Only Child’) from Italy.”

Thirteen films from as many countries will be screened from Friday, August 1 to Sunday, August 3 at the Belgrave Twin Cinema in Armidale. The films range from light-hearted comedies to hard-hitting dramas and erotic thrillers. Among them are Oscar winners, Palm d’Or recipients, and popular smash hits. Not one of the films is in English, and all are subtitled.

The only showcase of its type in regional NSW, the Armidale International Film Festival began in 2004 as part of the University of New England’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Since then, the festival has enjoyed the support of UNE’s School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics and now its School of Arts.

The festival committee includes current and former members of UNE staff, as well as people from the wider Armidale community, all “committed to bringing high-quality international films to Armidale and the region”, Ms Downer said.

Ms Downer emphasised the festival’s role in promoting cultural awareness and understanding both on campus and in town. “The University of New England prides itself on welcoming many international students and academic staff from Asia, Africa, Europe and the US to its campus each year,” she said. “Many of these people bring their families to Armidale, creating a multicultural presence in the town. One of the aims of International Film Festival is to show how this mix of cultures enhances the Armidale community, by educating people about a range of cultures through film.”

She acknowledged the support of the festival’s sponsors, including the NSW Film and TV Office, Alliance Francaise Armidale, the New England Credit Union, Armidale Regional Tourism, ABC New England North West and the University of New England.

With festival Passes and opening night tickets already sold out, movie lovers are encouraged to hurry in to book tickets for individual screenings at the Belgrave Twin Cinema or by calling (02) 6772 2856. For more information about the festival – and a complete program – visit http://www.belgravecinema.com.au/iff or contact Caroline Downer on 0428 959 067.