AFI Announces Exciting New Changes

Introduces the idea of an ‘Australian Academy’

Now in its 53rd year, the Australian Film Institute (AFI) is announcing a period of consultation with its constituents and the wider community as we prepare to embark on a period of significant development.
Building constructively on more than half a century of AFI heritage, achievement and acknowledging the growing success of our talented creative community, the Australian Film Institute is reviewing its strategic aims and programs with a view to building a refined and more inclusive professional structure, which will result in the establishment of an ‘Australian Academy’.

AFI Patron Dr George Miller says  “The importance of community, screen culture and the pursuit of excellence, driving forces of the AFI for over 50 years, cannot be underestimated.  These factors were pivotal to our industry’s acceleration from the late 60’s and are certainly no less important today.  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. This unifying of common purpose and effort makes such good sense. It’s a very exciting proposal.

A significant step in the change will be the move after a decade of the awards held in Melbourne, to Sydney. In a landmark three year deal with the NSW Government, the move coincides with what is shaping up to be an exciting new decade for the Australian screen industry, AFI sponsors and partners.

AFI Advisor Greg Coote who has been instrumental in developing the proposed vision says,   “Since the 1970’s renaissance the Australian screen community has grown exponentially and its potential is undoubtedly immense.  More than ever it’s critical that a national and international Australian screen community is nurtured.  With a long and rich tradition, the AFI Professional Membership is well placed to be developed into a more universally recognizable and understood model, an ‘Australian Academy’.  The establishment of an ‘Australian Academy’ is not just overdue, but eminently possible and extremely useful”.

For the 2011 calendar year, the first significant change is to move the awards ceremony from December 2011 to late January 2012.  This allows the industry to include many more projects from 2011 in the awards and brings the Australian film and television awards in line with the international system and buzz around the Golden Globes, Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards.

At this important time the AFI is delighted to announce two new board members.  Sigrid Thornton, one of Australia’s leading and best loved actresses, and Jennifer Huby, partner at TressCox Lawyers. They replace retiring members Peter Thompson and Todd Sampson.

“As the AFI undertakes this substantial and promising review we welcome the arrival of Jennifer Huby and are delighted Sigrid Thornton has returned to the AFI.  Peter Thompson made many fantastic contributions over four years and whilst a director for a briefer period Todd Sampson’s support was also invaluable. I sincerely thank them both. We are determined to make the AFI relevant to all sectors of our very broad Industry and we are looking forward to working to achieve this”  says AFI Chair Alan Finney.

2011 presents an opportunity to further elevate the AFI and the awards to a new level of leadership and support of our film and television industry.

To review the proposed changes, and contribute to the AFI industry consultation please visit


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