Thursday, 3 May 2018


EDITOR'S NOTE: Folks these are the remarks I made at the opening of Cinema Reborn last night. An enjoyable night. A great movie and a wonderfully learned introduction by David Hare which he will repeat to day when the film screens again as part of the Subscription program. This speech was given after the festival screened Andreas Giannopoulos's great trailer. which you can find on the Cinema Reborn Facebook Page

Ladies and Gentleman

Good evening. I’m Geoff Gardner and I am the Chair of the Organising Committee of Cinema Reborn.  Welcome to our very first screening.

Firstly I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet.

We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.

Thank you for being here for the Opening Night of what we hope will be seen as something both new and necessary in the Sydney cultural calendar.

The genesis of Cinema Reborn lies in the world wide activity of film restoration and re-presentation with its focus on bringing back the cinema’s classics in new editions for new audiences. Digital technology is in the process of liberating the past. 

The Organising Committee has been inspired by Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato and much other activity taking place both in Australia and around the world dedicated to reclaiming the cinema’s history.

We have in fact established a wonderful relationship with the the Cineteca di Bologna and its restoration laboratory. That institution has supplied almost a third of the 18 films we are presenting.

Lester Peries (1999-2018)
And, as a reminder of time passing I note here the death only a few days ago of one of the directors whose work is featured in our programme - the Sri Lankan Master Lester James Peries. He follows the passing in recent times of other great names including Australia’s Gil Brealey and the beloved Italian film-maker Vittorio Taviani. 

On a brighter note, during the weekend sessions we will be pleased to welcome Jan Muller the new head of the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia to talk about the challenges he faces in bringing Australia’s national collection to the point where access to its treasure is widely, and hopefully freely, available.

… Just  six months I sat down and had a talk with Neil Peplow here at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. At the end of our conversation he offered the School’s facilities, both physical and intellectual. He wanted this event for Sydney, for AFTRS and especially for AFTRS students. 

This venue is the only place in Sydney able to screen films in all formats, in our case everything from USB sticks to 35mm film, with a host of digital formats in between.  There has been a lot of hard work put in by Neil and his team - Kirsten Downie, Alicia Emery, Melba Proestos and Alan Butterfield. That work has been peerless. We would not have got to tonight and this weekend without them. 

Beyond the team at AFTRS there has also been a terrific show of support from a whole bunch of volunteers, too many to name here, but all people who simply like the idea of this event and just wanted to help. The range of skills brought to bear to make it happen has been gratifying. 

I give special thanks to those who, almost spontaneously, formed the Organising Committee and who have taken tasks upon themselves that have involved donations of great amounts of time and energy. To Karen Foley, Rod Bishop, Zoe Wallin, Simon Taaffe, Kirsten Downie, Andreas Giannopoulos, Melba Proestos, Eddie Cockrell and, especially, Quentin Turnour I give heartfelt thanks.  I make special mention of Quentin’s efforts. He brought knowledge, commitment, patience and practical experience to our fledgling and sometimes stumbling enterprise. I am very grateful for all the help he has provided. 

The full list of those who have helped in some way is included in the Festival catalogue. Also included is a list of names of those who have made donations of cold hard cash to support us. That has been very welcome and, whether the amounts were large or small, all gifts have been much appreciated and donors may be assured they will be applied towards our unavoidable costs.

Finally, however CINEMA REBORN is about the films themselves. There are no themes, no agendas. We are, to use the word du jour, cinephiles, and our focus is on the pleasure of watching, discovering and re-discovering the cinema’s forgotten master works. 

As we assembled the program I should mention how much pleasure it gave us to make the selection of Australian films of all kinds. They have been obtained from many and varied sources to whom we express our thanks. All of our Australian selections occupy noteworthy places in the remarkable history of our national cinema.

Let me conclude by expressing the hope that you will enjoy the whole intense viewing experience we have assembled starting tonight and lasting for the next four days.

Thank you…

David Hare introduces Sans Lendemain, Cinema Reborn 2018.

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