More than 10,000 people including celebrities such as actress Sigrid Thornton and playwright David Williamson are expected to attend Dungog Film Festival later this month.
But while the festival continues to grow, it has not been an easy year for Dungog Film Festival Director, Allanah Zitserman.
The festival has taken a financial hit, losing $400,000 in sponsorship from NSW Mining, forcing organisers to find new sponsors, create new packages to increase ticket sales and cut costs where possible.
‘‘We’ve managed to close the gap quite a lot,’’ Zitserman said last night at the Newcastle launch of the festival.
‘‘It’s been a tough year but I’m proud to announce that the fifth Dungog Film Festival will be a triumph.’’
Hunter Development Corporation has come on board with $10,000 in sponsorship making it the biggest Hunter-based sponsor.
About 2800 people live in Dungog, which receives an influx of thousands of visitors for the four-day festival.
The festival has grown from 1500 people attending in 2007 to about 7000 last year.
‘‘This festival has helped put Dungog on the map,’’ member for Paterson Bob Baldwin said at the launch.
The Dungog Film Festival, which began with just 50 films, will feature 194 films this year including 10 feature films making their world premiere.
One of the world premieres will be the Hunter Valley-shot The Forgotten Men – a short film staring Jack Thompson based on an old R.M.Williams campfire story Among the the films will be the Chinese mystery, The Dragon Pearl, starring Sam Neill and the director’s cut of comedy-romance The Wedding Party starring Isabel Lucas and Essie Davis.
English-Australian co-production Oranges and Sunshine starring Hugo Weaving and David Wenham will open the festival.
The Dungog Film Festival runs from Thursday, May 26 to Sunday, May 29.