Canberra International Film Festival

Festivals, Events & Exhibitions

Canberra International Film Festival 2019

Canberra International Film Festival is a leading retrospective film event, celebrating our national and international film heritage. Films screen at the National Film & Sound Archive, with Q&As, panels and guests.

Days Left

The Canberra International Film Festival, now in its 22nd year as a not-for-profit association, is one of Australia’s leading retrospective film events, celebrating our national and international film heritage.

We are seeking funds to initiate our plan for an annual 10-day event, but will work with whatever funds are raised, by reducing the duration if necessary to match available funding.

In the face of a dominant film culture focussed on the “New”, our aim is to make past achievements of cinema as relevant today as Beethoven is in music, Shakespeare in theatre, and Tolstoy in literature.

Contextualising our screenings is vital, and films are accompanied by Q&As, panel discussions and a range of guests, especially historians.

Our audiences tend to be older adults but we aim to attract younger audiences, and people in the film industry. We regard education as one of our primary roles.

Our Festival will take place in October 2019 but we need to confirm our funding by 31 March 2019.

For too many people, cinema is an art form that has no history, no past. The film industry has a vested interest in the “New”: a few standard “classics” are shown as nostalgia but otherwise there is little depth of understanding or value placed on the “Old”.

Our commitment is to promote an ease of access and a diversity of responses to the full range of cinema history, as other art forms enjoy,

Familiarity with cinema’s past can enrich our contemporary cinema with ideas and stories. Without that familiarity, stories will be lost. Our collective memory of Australians who once were major figures in world cinema is at risk: the achievements of people like Peter Finch, Robert Krasker or Googie Withers are effectively lost to our contemporary culture.

Our Festival is appropriately based in the National Film & Sound Archive, using its state-of-the-art facilities and supported by their enthusiastic staff.

CIFF has achieved good audience levels for retrospective screenings, and has a small number of enthusiastic financial supporters, but seeks sponsorships and philanthropic donations to build a viable future.

We are seeking funds to establish an annual 10-day event, starting in October 2019, but will work with whatever funds are raised, e.g., by reducing the duration to match available funding.

Over 10 days, we will have approximately 30 sessions, generally built around “strands” that follow a career, a theme or a period in history. These strands will draw on 35mm prints in the NFSA’s collection, and digital restorations from archives and commercial sources around the world. New films about aspects of cinema history will also be shown.

The Festival’s program for a short 3-day event in October 2018, can be seen at

CIFF’s director in 2019 will be film historian Dr Andrew Pike, OAM.

Project image from THE THIRD MAN (a highlight of CIFF 2018), with permission from StudioCanal.

Live Projects


Projects Funded


The Canberra International Film Festival (CIFF) is now in its 23rd year. In recent years, the Festival has been held at the National Film and Sound Archive. The Festival is a not-for-profit association with a board of volunteer community members who appoint a professional programmer and event manager. In 2017, the programming and event management were out-sourced to Ronin Films, a Canberra-based company run by Dr Andrew Pike, OAM.

In 2017, the CIFF Board endorsed the concept of developing the Festival into a “Retrospective” film event, to distinguish it from the large number of film festivals now screening year-round in Canberra’s commercial cinemas. As a fully retrospective Film Festival, CIFF will be unique in Canberra and rare nationally.

Due to changes in ACT Government arts policy, funding for CIFF from the local government has come to an end. With support from enthusiastic audiences and philanthropists, the Motion Picture Association and the Friends of the NFSA, we will present a short event, 25 to 27 October 2019, at the NFSA’s beautiful Arc cinema, as a prelude to a larger event in October 2020 and beyond.



Melissa Prowse


Ray Edmondson


Sue Terry


William McGinley


Canberra Accountancy & Audit Pty. Limited



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