Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Deborra-lee Furness and Simon Baker at the 2018 AISF. 

The Australian International Screen Forum will be held again in New York City next March, with Deborra-lee Furness, Hugh Jackman, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin brought on to serve as ambassadors.

Founded by Chris Beale and Michael Kelleher, the four day forum, which includes workshops, pitch sessions, panels, networking programs and public screenings, was established to forge new relationships and between the screen industries in Australia and The States.

This year’s inaugural event saw screenings of Breath, Mountain and Sweet Country, retrospectives of Starstruck and Shame, as well as keynotes from people such as Sheila Nevins, the former president of HBO Documentary Films, cinematographer John Seale, and Breath producer Mark Johnson and Simon Baker. It was attended by representatives from companies such as A24, Neon, Cinereach, Focus Features, Film Nation, NBC and Vice.

AISF chair Beale said: “We are delighted to welcome Debora-lee Furness, Hugh Jackman, Catherine Martin and Baz Luhrmann as ambassadors to help guide future growth. They bring important experience and influence to help us in our mission to showcase Australia’s screen works and screen talent and facilitate connections with the U.S. entertainment industry. Their active support for emerging talent dovetails with our mission to connect Australian screen works and creative talent to the U.S screen industries.”

As ambassadors, the four luminaries will guide the strategic development and planning of the forum, including customised industry strands for independent filmmakers.

“New York is a hotbed of emerging filmmakers, actors, and creators with a very independent spirit. It is the perfect fit for creatives from Australia, and the Australian International Screen Forum provides an unparalleled opportunity for engagement.” said Luhrmann.

“CM and I are thrilled to be working with Hugh and Deb in supporting the mission of Australian International Screen Forum as a connective tissue between emerging Australian storytellers and international opportunities.”

Furness added: “I’m delighted to be an Ambassador for the Australian International Screen Forum. Australians and Americans share a similar fearless personality and initiatives like the film forum help to deepen the ties and the cultural exchange between our two countries.

“The film forum is an unrivaled opportunity to nurture and celebrate Australian film talent on a global platform, and there is no where more exciting to do so than in New York City.”

The forum will run March 19-22 at the Lincoln Center with the support of Screen Australia, The Australian Consulate New York, the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation and Qantas.

In addition, Screen Australia will again fund a group of up-and-coming talent to travel to New York to participate in the forum.

“The inaugural Australian International Screen Forum’s blend of new and retrospective works really struck a chord with the New York based screen industries and provided an invaluable path for new Australian creatives to connect with the US market,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason.

“The addition of such stellar ambassadors bodes well for the continued success of this premier showcase of Australian screen stories.”

Additional programming and events will be announced in the New Year. For more info, go here.

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