Sydney fest fills two key posts


SYDNEY -- The Sydney Film Festival has made two key management and board appointments ahead of the 2008 edition that kicks off June 8, SFF president Virginia Gordon said Friday.

Fiona Cameroon, a director of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, has been named festival GM, while Tony Sernack has been appointed vp of the SFF Board.

The appointments come at a time of "significant repositioning and growth for SFF," according to Gordon, alluding to the 55-year-old festival's first-ever official competition being held this year.

The FIAPF-accredited competition will award a AUS$60,000 ($55,200) prize for "new directions in film," with 12 features invited to have their Australian premieres at the festival and compete for the top prize.

Cameron will manage the festival's commercial activities, while current executive director Clare Stewart will focus on driving its artistic and strategic direction.

"We are focused on producing a festival that plays a stronger role in the life of the city and the state; that is internationally significant; which works more creatively and closely with our range of partnerships in the industry, business, government and cultural sectors; and that engages new and existing audiences through a broader range of programs," Gordon said.

The 2008 festival will run June 5-22, with the official competition films screening for the first 12 days and culminating in an awards ceremony June 16. The closing-night gala will be held June 21.