Apr 02, 2012 12:00AM

Sydney Film Festival 2012

We catch up with the new Festival Director, Nashen Moodle.

The Sydney Film festival highlights have been released today, offering the best and freshest in international cinema. The festival is going to be a big one with over 100 films still to be announced, so to make sure you get your cultural fill, put these three essential genres on your 'to see' list:

1. Foreign film ? We suggest festival prize-winners Beasts of the Southern Wild and Tabu.

2. Documentary ? We can't wait to get a glimpse into the complex mind of of the man behind Manhattan and Annie Hall in Woody Allen: A Documentary.

3. New Hollywood ? American films from the fringe, we suggest The Loneliest Planet and Some guy Who Kills People.

This year, the Sydney Town Hall will house festival events, joining the iconic State theatre and the Art Gallery of NSW, which all open for free exhibitions, screenings, talks, live music and performances. The full program will be announced on Wednesday May 9th.

In the lead-up, we spoke to Festival Director Nashen Moodle about what's in store:

Lucy Cormack: Hi Nashen. So, what's going to be different about SFF 2012 than years before it?
Nashen Moodle: You will see many new films that you haven't seen before, and you will meet many new filmmakers who haven't been to Australia before. We will also present several works by first-time filmmakers and we're very excited about introducing these great new directors to Australian audiences. We are also introducing the new Sydney Film Festival Hub @ Lower Town Hall, a place for both filmmakers and the audience to hang out, featuring an action-packed line-up of live music, DJs, talks, panels, screenings, parties and loads of things to see and do from 5pm to 10pm, from 7 to 17 June.

How do you go about choosing the films for the festival, what's the criteria?
We select films through a number of different methods: we travel to international film festivals, such as Toronto, Busan, Sundance, Rotterdam and Berlin and view and select films; we receive a great number of submissions and view those; we speak to Australian distributors and view their latest acquisitions; and also we use our extensive network to discover and view new films. We look for innovative and engaging films that have something important to say.

Is it difficult trying to please film fans of all genres during the selection process?
A balanced and diverse programme is very important to us as programmers, and we really want to create a programme in which there is something for everyone, so I would say that it is a pleasure, rather than a challenge, to construct a diverse programme.

Can you tell us a little about the traveling film festival?
The Sydney Travelling Film Festival (TFF) is one of Australia's longest running touring film events. It was founded by David Stratton in 1974 and provides a unique and highly popular service to regional communities. Committed to developing and enhancing screen culture in regional Australia, the TFF provides audiences with access to films they would otherwise not have the opportunity to see on the big screen. The festival presents a selection of Australian and international features, documentaries and short films designed to reflect the diversity of Australian tastes and experiences in a festival environment, and promotes a film experience that encourages debate, community involvement and interaction. Today the TFF tours to 16 locations annually, screening in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

You knew we were going to ask you this, but, favourite film of all time?
I have a long list of favourite films, and my answer changes from time to time, but for the moment I'm sticking to Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. I always discover something new each time I see it.

Introduction: Lucy Jones
Interview: Lucy Cormack