Remembering John Politzer

We’re sad to announce that John Politzer, former Greater Union programming manager, avid supporter of Australian film and friend of the Festival, passed away last Thursday after a long period of ill health.

Politzer was programming manager for Greater Union, the precursor to Event Cinemas, between 1979 and 1995, and was instrumental in supporting Australian films such as Strictly Ballroom, Praise, Sunday, Too Far Away, Caddie and Fran.

Read the full tribute to John Politzer at Inside Film over here, and scroll down to read a tribute by former SFF Director Paul Byrnes.

A celebration of John Politzer’s life will be held at the Chauvel Cinema, 2 Oatley Road, Paddington from 9.45 am on Friday 16 March – all are welcome


John Politzer was a long-time friend of the Sydney Film Festival, at a time when executives in mainstream distribution were not always so open to us. John loved great cinema and he had exceptional taste; he was also brave when he saw good films that needed championing. An example, although not within the festival, was his help getting the Australian film Bliss to an audience, then watching it grow into a hit.

John allowed the festival to take over the three screens at the Pitt Centre cinema for several years. That was a great help to us because it was so close to the State Theatre, and perfect for events where a smaller, more intimate setting was needed. He used to love the retrospectives we mounted there. Beyond that, John was a friend to all of us within the festival - a gentle man and a gentleman. He bore his ill health for many years with a great spirit. He will be sadly missed. 

Paul Byrnes

SFF Director 1989-98


Photo courtesy of Inside Film.