Video Highlights from the launch of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts

The new Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts was  launched on Thursday 18 August, overlooking the stunning Sydney Opera House – which will be the iconic venue for the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards in January 2012.

Also announced, the identity of the founding President of AACTA, Mr Geoffrey Rush. The beautiful new statuette, designed by sculptor Ron Gomboc, has also been unveiled, held aloft, and much admired. Isn’t it beautiful? Don’t you just want to hold it?

Below are some video highlights from the night. We invite you to share in the excitement and raise a toast to celebrate a brand new era in Australian screen history.

In this first clip, see stars walking the red carpet and working the media wall; fireworks exploding over the Opera House; and the announcement of the new President, Geoffrey Rush.

Below, the always inspiring AFI Patron, Dr George Miller, gives a wonderful speech, praising the AFI for “being a home” for the screen industry for the past 53 years, and introducing the new President as an examplar of the pursuit of excellence for which the Academy has been formed.

The undoubted highlight of the evening was Geoffrey Rush’s hugely entertaining and funny speech, where he made his first pronouncements as ‘Prez’ –  “You’d be an idiot if you didn’t recognise that Australian artists, both in front of and in so many categories behind the camera are among the world’s finest.” He holds the golden ‘baby’ and calls for a ‘competish’ to name the beauty. A must-watch clip:

And finally, some of the most important news of the awards calendar, the announcement of the 23 Feature Films in Competition for the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards. Here’s a trailer compilation that’s sure to make you keen to see the ones you’ve missed, and revisit the ones you’ve seen already:

These 23 feature films, along with the nominees for Best Short Fiction, Best Feature Length Documentary and Best Short Animation will be shown on the big screen at the AFI/Samsung AACTA Festival of Film to be held in Sydney and Melbourne from early October.

For more information about all of these developments, visit the sparkling new website:

For a gallery of photos from the AACTA launch, visit the AFI Facebook page here.