AFI proposes Australian Academy, officially moves Awards date

The Australian Film Institute has flagged greater support for the local industry with the launch of an Academy for screen professionals.

The proposed changes, which also include shifting the date of its Awards ceremony in line with international peers, are aimed at providing greater engagement and leadership within the industry.

The Australian Academy, built on the AFI professional membership, would include specific chapters representing 14 key professions such as producers, directors annd cinematographers.

AFI patron Dr George Miller said the proposed changes, including the Academy, were exciting.

“The 21st century offers immense opportunities and the AFI’s proposed development of an Australian Academy cleverly adapts successful elements of the world’s leading screen organizations to local traditions,” he said in a statement.

AFI Advisor and industry veteran Greg Coote has been instrumental in the proposed changes, which have been overseen by AFI chairman Alan Finney.

This year’s awards will now be moved from December 2011 to late-January 2012, which will allow more projects from 2011 to be included and bring the awards in line with the international events such as the Golden Globes, Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards.

As previously announced, the awards will be held in Sydney for the first time rather than Melbourne under a three-year deal with the NSW Government.

Renato Rispoli, who played an integral role bringing the AFI Awards to Sydney while at Events NSW, has been appointed as AFI Awards event director reporting directly to AFI chief executive Damian Trewhella.

Former state premier Kristina Keneally has previously said the government is spending $1.7 million a year on the AFIs.

In other proposed changes, which are open for industry consultation, the AFI is considering:

  • moving the AFI Awards’ feature film voting model from a single vote to a more rigorous two-step voting process, which includes a shortlist;
  • some form of acknowledging the best global screen productions;
  • bringing greater attention to the short filmmaking genre, including a dedicated event to screen nominated films and present awards for the category;
  • changing the online short film AFI TV channel from a subscription model to a pay-per-view platform that also supports the online distribution of longer form content such as documentaries and feature films;
  • seeking an identity (name, logo, awards statuette) that is closely related to the traditions of the AFI but more broadly representative of all modern forms of the moving image.

Meanwhile, the AFIs have appointed to new board members: actor Sigrid Thornton and TressCox Lawyers partner Jennifer Huby. They replace retiring members Peter Thompson and Todd Sampson.

Further information and submissions to the AFI industry consultation can be made at until June 30.

  1. Another poor industry choice …

    Destined to clash with anyone involved with Sundance, Rotterdam or Berlin etc

    Not to mention the whole industry who are generally on holidays (and want to be) during that period.

    What was so wrong with keeping the AFI’s in the same time/sapce as the Movie Convention or SPAA ?

    When/where the film industry naturally gathers … and a jolly good way to finish the year.

  2. Love the lip synching on the “to new board members” unfortunately I don’t think the 21st century offers much for sub editors 🙁

  3. The AFI is a cultural desert.
    Instead of a creating a self serving pretentious marketing tool of the same old, same old. Why are we not dealing with the key issue of the Australian Film industry?

    It is because it our industry is so culturally closed that so many films suffer from the cultural cringe

    Attending any AFI event is like being at a chapter of the KKK.
    This is Australia 2011. What an embarrassment

    Shame on the Industry

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