We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land, and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose Country SFF are based.
We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.


I did a lot of my growing up at the Sydney Film Festival. The films we saw taught us about the wonders and cruelties of the world and made us think about how to fix things. We developed our critical faculties, honed our ideas in discussions and debates, went deeper by meeting the filmmakers. The Festival is a living archive of memories and dreams – and after almost 70 years, there is also a vast and valuable material archive that’s worth preserving for future generations.

— Paul Byrnes, Festival Director 1989-1998

Sydney Film Festival is fast approaching its 70th Anniversary.
That will be 70 years of cutting-edge, audacious and courageous films from around the world; 70 years of inspiration and provocation, debate and exchange; 70 years of community, forged and strengthened through the collective experience of great cinema.

The Archives Renewal project intends to honour this legacy.
It aims to document, preserve, share and celebrate SFF’s remarkable journey from film society gathering to iconic international Festival – a story made up of not only films, talks and filmmaker guests, but a community of passionate film lovers and thousands of transformative cinematic experiences.

But the Archives Renewal is not just about the past.
As SFF evolves and grows, understanding the Festival’s extraordinary heritage and finding new ways to share its story will be crucial to its future.


SFF’s Archives Renewal is a substantial two-year project that will require a significant investment of resources. To get started, SFF has allocated seed funds from within its current budget and is also seeking additional support through government, private grants and opportunities for collaboration with the Festival’s partners. But this won’t be enough to ensure the restoration and future security of the Festival’s Archives. Your support and that of the SFF community is critical to the project’s success. So I invite you to please join us by making a tax-deductible donation to help make this vision a reality.

— Nashen Moodley, Festival Director since 2012

The Archives Renewal is a timely and transformative two year project encompassing:

  • Major upgrades to the public-facing, online Living Archive to allow for the creative presentation of materials and to improve accessibility and the user experience
  • Recording of new oral histories to capture the memories and reflections of those who have shaped and were shaped by SFF over the decades
  • Engaging an archivist to redesign SFF’s physical and digital archival systems
  • Involving volunteers and alumni to conduct cataloguing, digitising and ongoing maintenance of materials, strengthening the SFF community.

Living Archive
When it launched in 2013 to mark the Festival’s 60th Anniversary, the Living Archive broke new ground as a digital initiative – a comprehensive chronicle of SFF’s history and a testament to the central role the Festival has played in the evolution of Sydney’s cultural life.

Now this resource is in urgent need of revitalisation. SFF will undertake significant upgrades to the underlying architecture, user interface and editorial potential of the Living Archive, ensuring it can continue to record the activities and achievements of the Festival in years to come in ever-changing forms of media. It will also be expanded to highlight the extraordinary role the Travelling Film Festival has played in bringing international cinema to regional audiences since 1974.

Oral Histories
A distinctive feature of the Living Archive is that it captures more than just the films, talks and parties that make up the Festival each year. Through essays, reflections, anecdotes and ephemera from Festival-goers, past Festival Directors, cultural critics, academics and Staff, it documents the memories and moments that stick with us long after the credits roll.

To honour SFF’s community origins and enrich the Living Archive, the Archives Renewal project will include the production of a new series of filmed oral histories. By hearing first-hand from those who have seen SFF change and progress over the decades, and featuring these histories on the Living Archive, the project will record and share the stories that make the Festival so important to so many.

SFF Archivist
A professional Archivist will design and facilitate the overhaul of SFF’s physical and digital archival systems. As well as cataloguing the past, the Archivist will set up processes and protocols so that the Festival is prepared to document and preserve its future activities and achievements. Working with the SFF Community, they will gather a team of passionate volunteers to help discover, catalogue and share materials so that the Festival’s history can be better understood and its remarkable story more effectively told.

All donations over $2 are fully tax-deductible.

Sydney Film Festival sincerely thanks those who have donated to the Archives Renewal project.
Check out the list of SFF Donors here

If you’re unable to make a contribution to the Archives Renewal at this time but would like to know more about how you can make a transformative impact, we’d love to talk to you about leaving a gift to Sydney Film Festival in your Will. Please get in touch with Georgia using the details below.


If you’d like to learn more about the Archives Renewal project or discuss the various ways you can support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with SFF Head of Philanthropy and Partnerships, Georgia Shepherd.

Email: georgia.shepherd@sff.org.au
Phone: (02) 8220 6612

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