The Embassy Roadshow is a travelling film festival that, through Australian embassies, showcases a selection of contemporary Australian films to people the world over. It is an initiative of the Australia International Cultural Council managed by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the AFC.
August/September updateEmbassy Roadshow was hosted in Kathmandu for the fourth consecutive year, at the Russian Culture Centre in Kamalpokhari, 13-16 August. The event presented six screenings with 1,125 people in attendance. Audience response was overwhelmingly positive; many had not been exposed to Australian films. China is embarking on a series of festivals, commencing with a Melbourne-Tiajin Sister City 25th Anniversary Australian Film Week in early September, followed by a film week in Chengdu. Later in the year a series of Australian film festivals will be hosted in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with special guests Robert Connolly and David Wenham attending.
July updateJuly 2005 will be a quiet month for the Embassy Roadshow as the collection is moved from Melbourne to Canberra. The Roadshow will be managed from the Archives offices in Acton taking advantage of better storage and handling facilities for the collection. In April the Embassy Roadshow screened for the second time in Brunei and for the third time in Bangkok. In Brunei, opening night was attended by the Crown Prince, Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, and Her Royal Highness, Paduka Seri Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah. The Bangkok event was attended by over 1000 people and the opening was strongly attended by local film people including Sony Pictures and BVI, as well as smaller local firms and the Director of the Bangkok Film Festival, Brian Bennett. There have been four additions to the Roadshow tour schedule for 2005/06: two new locations, The Hague and Nuku Alofa (Tonga), and return events for Moscow and South Africa. The South African Embassy Roadshow will go outside the main cities and tour to Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban.
April updateEmbassy Roadshow events in March/April included Kuala Lumpur and Copenhagen, Bangkok and Brunei. Reports from the New Delhi and Kolkata events prove that Indians love their movies. We had a 50 per cent increase in numbers over the last time we went to India and strong interest in seeing even more Aussie films. Abu Dhabi pitched their event at school kids and over 1500 kids came, saw and wondered about the Magic Pudding. Events coming up include a four-city tour of the United States and a return trip to Beirut, Lebanon.
February/MarchEvents in February/March include New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur for the third time, Brussels for the second and Kolkata for the first. Reports back from Wellington, New Zealand, reveal that the trans-Tasman relationship is strong and familiar which unfortunately meant our films lacked the 'exotic allure' of foreign film festivals. However it did give the Kiwis a chance to see a lot of good Australian films in one batch. Events coming up include Copenhagen and Oslo and then onto Bangkok.
January 2005What do Wellington, Rangoon, Malta and Abu Dhabi all have in common? They all hosted Embassy Roadshow events in December/ January. Malta and Abu Dhabi were both return performances but Rangoon and Wellington are fresh entries to the travel diary of the ER films. Results from the Port Vila event in November show how well some films travel. The most popular film was Amy, the theme of communicating through song having resonance in a community where music has such a strong social and cultural significance.
NovemberNovember saw an Embassy Roadshow event in Shanghai (China) which bumped the Cathay Cinema from their usual 30th national Box Office to 15th overall, with 90% audience capacity filled and a strong local media response. Zurich/Stuttgart went well and although audiences were not large, they were strong enough to call for another event next year. Events were also held in Port Vila and Wellington NZ but details are still to come. The Embassy Roadshow is about to enter its fifth successful year with a contemporary catalogue of 42 features and 19 shorts.
October The Ramallah event marked Australia as one of only three countries (in recent times) to hold cultural events there and, despite military action in the area, achieved a very positive response. October brought the Roadshow to Zurich (Switzerland) and Stuttgart (Germany). Zurich has already achieved a very favourable press reaction but final results are still to come.
September Manilla, Philippines and Ramallah (West Bank) Palestine were the two destinations for the Embassy Roadshow in September. Manila is a repeat of a very successful event held last year and again received strong audiences. This is the second time we have tried to hold an Australian Film Festival in Ramallah. The first had to be cancelled in the late stages because of security concerns so it is great news that this one went ahead peacefully.
AugustDuring August, Roadshow events were held in South Africa (Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg) and Kathmandu, Nepal. The Embassy in South Africa reported a very successful event with 12 of the 16 screenings in Johannesburg sold out despite the Olympics competing for audience at the same time.
JulyJuly saw the roadshow taking part in an Indigenous-themed multi-arts event in Mexico City and a return season to Seoul in South Korea. The Seoul screening saw a doubling of the previous total audience; trumping a similarly timed French film festival. Korean audiences received the films very positively and the festival itself attracted substantial media coverage including television news crews.
JuneIn June the Roadshow went to Tel Aviv for a two-week touring event. The Victorian Premier, Mr Steve Bracks, was in attendance along with local luminaries like Bryan Brown and Sue Maslin.
AprilFeedback from the Beijing event in April showed it to be hugely successful, focusing on films and the business of films. Bryan Brown and Sam Neill attended and the event garnered over a million dollars' worth of publicity.
February/MarchIn February/March 2004 the Embassy Roadshow travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Madrid and Nairobi - all for return seasons. Of note from the screening in Amman (January) is that the Embassy Roadshow outperformed (on a session by session basis) both Lord of the Rings and Master and Commander.
January 2004Budapest, Beijing and Malta - the 'roadshow' keeps on moving. Full to over full houses were achieved in most sessions for both Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta (January) with the majority of the audience being students and local film buffs. Jakarta was particularly successful at spreading the word through press, radio and television indeed it is hoped both the events will become an annual event.
December 2003In December 2003 Embassy Roadshow held an event in Dhaka, Bangladesh and concluded its North American tour of Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago.