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The best of international film heads to Young for a three-day festival

Edwina Mason1 May 2021
Man playing guitar with yak in room from film 'Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom'

It is not often audiences in regional NSW are treated to cutting-edge international dramas such as Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, but the Sydney Film Festival’s Travelling Film Festival is set to visit Young in the coming months. Photo: Supplied.

Young will be rolling out the red carpet in late July when Hollywood comes to town for a weekend in the form of the Sydney Film Festival’s Travelling Film Festival (TFF).

Young is just one of eight regional NSW towns – and the only town in the southern part of the state – selected to host the festival, in which a handful of essential films and documentaries will screen at Southern Cross Cinema during three days from 30 July to 1 August.

Exterior of Southern Cross Cinema in Young

Young’s Southern Cross Cinema will play host to the three-day Travelling Film Festival in late July. Photo: Supplied.

Australian and international feature films, short films and documentaries such as First Cow, Supernova, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom and Bama are among the repertoire for selection.

Filmgoers will also have the opportunity to enter the world of Australian shark expert Valerie Taylor with the Sundance 2021-selected documentary, Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story, also on the TFF program.

Founded in 1974 by former Sydney Film Festival director, film critic David Stratton, the idea behind TFF was to provide audiences in regional Australia with access to films they would otherwise not have the opportunity to see on the big screen.

TFF creates a program specific to each location, and films are chosen in consultation with the cinema and/or local film society. They are selected from the previous Sydney Film Festival program, with an emphasis on diversity of style, mood and country of origin.

The festival screens during a full weekend, opening on a Friday night complete with an opening-night function, and continues on Saturday and Sunday, screening a total of nine features and two Australian short films.

Valerie Taylor underwater with shark

The documentary, Valerie Taylor: Playing With Sharks, was selected for Sundance 2021 and is also on the Travelling Film Festival program. Photo: Supplied.

It’s expected TFF will provide a cultural and economic boost to the region, bringing audiences back to their local theatres following a year of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Southern Cross Cinema manager and arts facilitator Matthew Hall says he is delighted at the news the festival will be coming to town.

“We’re over the moon to have secured this,” he says. “Bringing in the Travelling Film Festival puts Young on the map in terms of the arts and specifically cinema.”

Matthew says Southern Cross Cinema and other local businesses are hoping everyone enjoys the benefit of having the festival in Young.

Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small says expanding the reach of TFF throughout NSW will provide opportunities for regional audiences to reconnect with world-class cinema in their own city, while also supporting the Australian film industry ecosystem.

“Sydney Film Festival is committed to supporting local cinemas rebuild audience engagement in the wake of the impact of 2020 on the arts and entertainment sectors,” she says.

“Local cinemas are the beating heart of our regional communities, and after a tough year where many of us missed our friends, community and culture, people are keen to come back together to enjoy a night out experiencing storytelling at its best.”

The Travelling Film Festival kicks off its touring schedule on 4 June in Lismore.

Tickets for the Young leg of the festival go on sale on 17 June. For further details, visit here.

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