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Interview: Matt Ravier, director, The Festivalists (programmers of SFF Hub)

For the first time ever, The Sydney Film Festival will feature a festival ‘Hub’ at Lower Town Hall. It’s planned to be an alternate way to engage with the event, featuring exhibitions, screenings, talks, panels, parties, live music, performances and DJs from 5pm-10pm, 7-17 June. The free pop-up event is just another highlight in Sydney’s dynamic cultural calendar. The hub’s headline attraction will be an exclusive photography exhibition by the renowned European photographer, Fabrizio Maltese, who has been published in Elle, Sunday Telegraph UK, De Filmkrant, Grazia and soon edandruby.com (stay tuned).

We chat with Matt Ravier, director of The Festivalists (programmers of the Film Festival Hub) for more details.

What are you most excited about at the Sydney Film Festival this year?

Like most film lovers in Sydney, I await the festival’s program reveal with bated breath! Among the few titles revealed so far, two have captured my imagination: the gorgeous looking Sundance winner Beasts of the Southern Wild and Miguel Gomes’ black & white Tabu, which seems informed by the power and magic of cinema, past and present.

I’m particularly interested to discover which films make up the Official Competition, which celebrates filmmakers that aren’t afraid to take risks. In an era when commercial imperatives limit the diversity of what makes it onto our screens, these films challenge us to take a chance on something different and ponder the transformative power of cinema.

In the Festival Hub, we’ll be unveiling a brand new exhibition by Paris-based photographer Fabrizio Maltese, who travels to some of the world’s most prestigious festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and for the fist time, Sydney) to take portraits of actors and directors. I can’t wait to share Maltese beautiful work with Sydneysiders.

What can visitors expect from the new Sydney Film Festival Hub?

It will be the ideal place to catch up with friends for a drink before or after a screening. It’s a chance to break down the barriers between Festival guests, local film industry and film lovers who attend the Festival, and get everyone to mingle and have a good time. Events will range from serious panel discussions to not so serious performances, such as Cinema Burlesque, in which some of Sydney’s most talented burlesque artists will take to the stage with acts inspired by their favourite cult movies.

What will the hub look like? 

The Hub takes over Lower Town Hall on George St in Sydney: a thousand square meters transformed into a bar, theatrette, art gallery and live music venue. Justin Nardella from Bright Young Things will design the space, but revealing too much about it now would ruin the element of surprise. Come see for yourself from June 7th!

What: Sydney Film Festival Hub – Where: Lower Town Hall, 483 George Street, Sydney 2000 – When: 7-17 June, from 5pm-10pm – How much: FREE – More info: www.sff.org.au

Don’t miss our interview with photographer Fabrizio Maltese, SFF Hub’s headline attraction – coming soon.

Matt Ravier with SFF enthusiasts


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