A big year of stars and events for the NFSA

BY ADAM BLACKSHAW

In 2017 we found new and exciting ways to connect with our audiences through festivals, programs and special events. Here's a look back at some of the highlights.

Summer

The year started with the Fanny Cochrane Smith Tasmanian Aboriginal recordings inducted into the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. We also premiered the digital restoration of Three Days to Live (1924), an early film connected to Hollywood filmmaker Frank Capra and once considered lost. We acquired a rare Kinora reel featuring 1901 footage of legendary cricketers KS Ranjitsinhji and CB Fry and built a custom-made device to be able to play it, a story reported by Cricket Australia and the Times of India.

Autumn

In autumn we reconstructed and restored the film The Great Strike (1917) in time for its 100th anniversary. We celebrated the 85th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with an online exhibition. Our Graham Kennedy online exhibition coincided with a sold-out session at St Kilda Film Festival with special guests Patti Newton, Philip Brady, Mike McColl Jones and Pete Smith. When we shared a video from the collection on Facebook of police officers racing motorcycles like chariots it attracted 3.7 million views in less than a month!

Winter

In June, Ben Mendelsohn and NFSA Ambassador Margaret Pomeranz introduced the NFSA Restores premiere of The Year My Voice Broke (1987) at the Sydney Film Festival. Another NFSA Restores film, Celia (1989), premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival with director Ann Turner and star Rebecca Smart participating in a Q&A session. Also premiering at MIFF was the NFSA Restores premiere of Shame (1988) with star Deborra-lee Furness attending the screening with Hugh Jackman.

We hosted evenings with Christine Anu and John Waters, and screened Mabo: Life of an Island Man (1997) with the filmmaker Trevor Graham for the 25th anniversary of the landmark High Court Mabo decision. Our online exhibition celebrating 25 years of Strictly Ballroom featured exclusive interviews with stars Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice and choreographer John 'Cha Cha' O'Connell.

Spring

In spring we launched the exhibition Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. Featuring 275 photos, as well as scrapbooks and film costumes, Starstruck is a collaboration between the NFSA and the Portrait Gallery.

Our symposium Digital Directions 2017 turned its focus towards the users of digital content and included a keynote address by new NFSA CEO, Jan Müller.

The 10th anniversary of Sounds of Australia saw songs by INXS, Kasey Chambers and John Paul Young inducted, along with the Play School theme. Singer-songwriter Vic Simms, joined us to celebrate the Vinyl Lounge's fourth birthday and Vic played tracks from his album The Loner.

Also visiting the NFSA was the team from PY Media - Radio 5NPY, the recipients of the Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship presented by the NFSA with AIATSIS and IRCA Australia.