Allanah Zitserman and Stavros Kazantzidis, right ... proud to be recognising the best in cinema. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Garry Maddox, The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
The new Cockatoo Island Film Festival has taken inspiration from Sundance, with an ambitious plan for five competitions.
Forty-eight films will be selected for Australian narrative, Australian documentary, world narrative and world documentary competitions, modelled after the categories at the American festival for independent film held in Utah every January.
The Sydney Harbour festival, which will have its debut run from October 24 to 28, will also have more than 200 short films screening in international and Australian competitions that will include a young filmmaker of the year award.
The organisers are calling it ''the largest international competitive film program in Australia'', though they have yet to announce prizemoney. Entries are now open.
There will also be two non-competitive categories - Credit Card Flicks, for ''exceptional examples of low-budget cinema'', and Midnight Screenings, for ''edgy and eclectic'' films.
It is the first indication of the programming for the ambitious festival, which will take place at 20 venues on the harbour island formerly used for housing convicts and shipbuilding until its recent incarnation as an arts venue.
Stavros Kazantzidis - executive director of the Cockatoo Institute, the organisation running the festival - says it is ''proud to be recognising the very best in contemporary world cinema alongside local productions in a shared forum nestled in a spectacular location".
The executive director of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Geoff Bailey, says the unique location will be a drawcard for filmmakers. ''We're sure that a host of talented Australian and international filmmakers will be very excited about having the opportunity to screen their films on this spectacular location right in the middle of Sydney Harbour,'' Bailey says.
The film festival organisers hope to attract about 45,000 people for screenings, yacht races, parties, film masterclasses and sessions with stars.
As well as continuing with the Dungog Film Festival from June 28 to July 1, the institute will also run a new Dubbo arts festival from September 7 to 30.