11 May 2016
2016 marks Nashen Moodley’s fifth year as Festival Director of Sydney Film Festival.
During his first four years at the helm, the Festival has grown significantly. In 2015, the event’s 62nd year, attendances increased by 13% to 176,000, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth in Festival attendance.
Other highlights in Moodley’s five years as Festival Director include the introduction and development of the popular free public space the Festival Hub at Town Hall; a new partnership with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department entitled Screen: Black; and a new partnership with European Film Promotion and Variety entitled: European Cinema: 10 Women Filmmakers to Watch. Moodley has also, in partnership with Lexus Australia created the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship, the largest cash fellowship (AU$200,000 annually) for short film in Australia.
Under Moodley’s directorship, the Festival has undergone a sizable geographical expansion, to the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Dendy Newtown, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and the Skyline Drive-In Blacktown. He has also introduced a free public program of immersive experiences entitled Beyond Cinema, exploring cutting edge screen culture and new technology.
As well as adding two new screening venues in Newtown and Liverpool, the numbers of titles to be screened at the Festival have jumped from 183 in 2014 to 244 in 2016. They come from 60 countries, with 25 World Premieres included in the program.
Moodley’s impressive career in film programming has encompassed leadership roles as Manager and Head of Programming at the Durban International Film Festival (2001–2011) and as a programming consultant for Dubai International Film Festival (2005–present).
During Moodley’s 11 years at Durban International Film Festival – South Africa’s longest-running film festival – he was responsible for expanding the content and reach of the Festival. He also raised the profile of the African film industry by establishing the Durban FilmMart, a program that provides African filmmakers with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers.
In addition to programming, Moodley has advised India’s International Film Festival of Kerala, South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival and Africala in Mexico City. Moodley has also worked as an Industry Consultant at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and as an expert at the Berlinale Talent Campus.
Born in South Africa in 1978, Moodley studied English and philosophy at the University of Natal and worked as a journalist before turning to film. His film writing and criticism has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, GQ, the Sunday Tribune (South Africa), the Sunday Independent (South Africa), and Mail & Guardian (South Africa).