The Environmental Film Festival Melbourne has planned an interstate tour for its sixth year of operations.
Launched in 2009, EFFM aims to educate and entertain audiences with high quality films made both in Australia and abroad, catering for a broad range of tastes.
Event co-director Livia Cullen said that the film festival realised strong growth in audience numbers for the past three years and, as a result, organisers decided to begin an expansion strategy to bring its films to more audiences around the country.
“Originally the festival saw around one thousand guests each year, with mostly the same core group returning time and again. The success of our outreach strategy since 2013 has seen that number more than double,” Cullen said. “Last year we had roughly 2,300 people in attendance and we’re in line to see that figure rise to 4,000 this year.”
Earlier this year the event organisers began a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to take EFFM to Hobart, Canberra, Newcastle and Gippsland and thereby establish the festival as Australia’s only national environmental film festival.
“We had aimed to raise at least $15,000 in order to make that happen. While the crowdfunding was broadly successful thanks to our avid supporters, family and friends, we only managed to raise around $8,000 in funding. We’ve been forced to drop Newcastle and Gippsland from this year’s tour and we’ll instead set out sights on visiting those areas in 2016.”
Green Vision with Wide Appeal
While EFFM’s mission has always been to share stories of environmentalism, Cullen stresses that the program is by no means restricted to “brow-beating documentaries how about people are damaging the environment”.
“Of course we do have some films about the impact of mining on local communities and the like, but there are also a number of titles about food, art and we even have one on fashion. There’s really something for everyone.”
While not all of the movies on offer are Australian, a significant proportion of the festival is locally-produced. Attendees will also have the chance to ask questions of a few special guest filmmakers.
“We’re also launching our education program for the first time this year, with a tour of schools planned for October. We think this will be a great opportunity for Australian primary and secondary students to see some of these amazing films while also learning about the environment.”
While seeking growth locally, the EFFM remains a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation and as such, Cullen is realistic about its future trajectory.
When asked whether she saw a possible international expansion in the future, Cullen’s response was firmly circumspect.
“While that’s a great dream for us, our eyes are firmly set at reaching as many Australians as possible before worrying about an international presence,” she said. “As we all know, Australia’s current government is strongly anti-environment, so I think we have our work cut out for us for now.”
Former leader of the Australian Greens party and longtime columnist for Wild, Bob Brown is also a supporter of the festival, of which he described as a “must-see” event.
“EFFM is planet Earth on the screen in 2015: a must-see collection of the world’s best films on the subject of humanity’s overrun of the land, air and sea, and the intelligence and courage of those few people who are defending the global commons. It’s brilliant theatre!” Brown said.
Melbourne: 3-10th Sept
Canberra: 11-13th Sept
Hobart: 18-20th Sept
For further information, or to book tickets, please visit the EFFM website.