Amanda Duthie, who has spent most of her career commissioning series, documentary and other television programming, is to move from Sydney to Adelaide to take up the role of director and chief executive of the Adelaide Film Festival.
“It will be personally life changing for me, in a good way, and I hope it will be life changing in a good way for the festival,” she said. “It will be a whole new adventure, which is thrilling, and luckily my family thinks that too.”
She takes up the post in February and will oversee the first of the biennial festivals in its new October timeslot in 2013. Duthie said film would have more “breathing space” once at the other end of the year and away from Adelaide's arts and writers festivals, and also the documentary conference. Usually it is held late February/early March.
“South Australian audiences are very supportive of the film festival and I'm keen to build on that,” she said. The event was “allowed” to take over the city, rather than just being confined to cinemas, and could be found in art galleries and other spaces, she added.
“Sydney and Melbourne have big bold festivals, and different elements, but the challenge for them is that they happen in bigger cities.”
The biennial festival was the first film festival in Australia to introduce an international competition and the first in Australia to invest in the production of Australian films that then premiere at the festival. Ten Canoes, Look Both Ways, The Home Song Stories, Last Ride, Samson and Delilah and this year's Snowtown and Shut Up Little Man! have had financial support from Adelaide.
Outgoing founding director Katrina Sedgwick's legacy was the great Australian stories she helped to get financed, Duthie said.
A second investment fund, under 'The Hive' banner, has also recently been established to encourage collaboration between people from different art forms, including music, dance and the visual arts, as well as film. In her current role as content head of arts and entertainment at the ABC, Duthie is one of the partners in this venture.
Duthie has been at the ABC for eight years and she also worked for eight years at SBS during the 1990s. She said film and television had different timelines and expectations but there were universal requirements of commissioning and these included finding projects that were innovative and distinctive with good teams behind them. All projects take time to develop and finance, she added.
The Adelaide Film Festival grew out of former Adelaide Festival of Arts director Peter Sellars' decision to commission films to premiere at that festival.