In 2023 The StarBurst Western Sydney Film Festival and Filmmaking Symposium ran in partnership with Penrith Performing & Visual Arts (PP&VA), Penrith City Council and The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in on March 31 to April 2 2023 with part funding received from Screen NSW. The festival will be an annual event fulfilling a niche within the Penrith LGA.
The festival was opened by The Prime Minister’s Envoy for the Arts, the Honourable Susan Templeman MP at a VIP event also attended by Penrith MP the Honourable Karen McKeown and Deputy Mayor of Penrith Councillor Todd Carney and receives ongoing support in kind.
Located in Western Sydney, on the banks of the picturesque Nepean River and at the base of The Blue Mountains, Penrith is the home to countless filmmakers keen to perfect their craft and network amongst likeminded people across the region and beyond. The festival will not only provide them with a unique opportunity to learn from some of Australia’s leading film practitioners but also to network with film professionals.
The StarBurst Film Festival and Filmmaking Symposium offers an opportunity to utilise our local assets to grow capacity and opportunity in our region for early career filmmakers, and to connect an industry with no existing natural home in this important creative and vibrant region.
In 2024 the accessible and multifaceted project will continue to encourage the development of local, young and emerging filmmakers in Penrith, whilst also developing audiences, bringing quality Australian screen content and providing an opportunity for local businesses to provide food options for everyone to enjoy. The project will also support symposium workshops for businesses such as cocktail bars, restaurants, retail outlets etc. to engage with filmmakers in their venues as a way to increase traffic within CBD hospitality and retail outlets.
The festival will undergo a program change that will provide individual attendees with more access to symposium panellists with several smaller events providing opportunities to ask questions in more intimate environments.
We launched the StarBurst Film Festival and Filmmaking Symposium with great success, but program and marketing strategies introduced for the 2024 event aim to develop our audience further.
We aim to develop our established networks and social media reach to engage more with our target industry and audience sectors by reaching out earlier and employing a Marketing and Social Media Manager and Festival Liaison Coordinator Josh Patterson will join the festival again next year as well.