VIVID SYDNEY AT ITS SKY HIGH BEST: The best Vivid yet . . .

On the last night of Vivid Sydney 2016, Destination NSW has released new drone footage that showcases the event’s innovative precincts, brightest installations and festival favourites.

In 2016, Vivid Sydney ran its longest ever program, illuminating Sydney for 23 nights from 27 May to 18 June. The festival celebrates the intersection of creativity, art, technology and innovation, and highlights Sydney as the creative capital of Asia Pacific.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the State Government’s major events and tourism agency.

This year, Vivid Sydney saw more than 90 light installations and projections appear throughout the city, while 190 Vivid Music events occurred and more than 658 speakers appeared as part of 183 Vivid Ideas events.

Vivid Sydney has set a Guinness World Records Title with the Dress Circle installation recognised as the world’s largest interactive display, and celebrated significant milestones with Taronga Zoo’s 100th and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s 200th anniversaries.


Lexus Australia and Sydney Film Festival have announced Anya Beyersdorf, Brooke Goldfinch, Alex Murawski and Alex Ryan, as the four recipients of the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship.

The four filmmakers will each receive a $50,000 grant to make a short film, which will then premiere at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.

The fellows were selected from a shortlist of 21 emerging filmmakers nominated by The Weinstein Company from more than 355 Australians who last year entered the global Lexus Short Film series.

The announcement was made at the world premiere of Australian actor and filmmaker Damian Walshe-Howling’s short film MESSiAH starring David Gulpilil, at the State Theatre on the evening of 14 June

Renowned Australian actress Judy Davis presided over the selection process as Jury Chair alongside Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley, Lexus Australia’s Adrian Weimers, Australian producer and SFF board member Jan Chapman AO and indigenous Australian producer Darren Dale.

Jury Chair Judy Davis said, “Each of these four young filmmakers has shown incredible promise and vision in their Fellowship submissions. They have demonstrated tenacity and dedication, creativity and capacity, as well as the passion to follow their dreams. The jury is very much looking forward to seeing what this new generation of Australian filmmakers will create in the coming year.”

Adrian Weimers, Corporate Manager, Lexus Australia said, “The Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship, developed in partnership with Sydney Film Festival, builds on our international platforms of discovering emerging talent including the Lexus Design Award and the Lexus Short Film series.”

  • Anya Beyersdorf is not only an actress turned writer-director, she is also a current Doctor of Arts candidate at Sydney University, founder of the Sydney filmmaking collective Gifthorse Films, and an AWGIE award winner. “As an emerging filmmaker, to earn and be granted the support of both Sydney Film Festival and the Lexus Australia Fellowship is a great vote of confidence in my future career as a filmmaker in Australia.”
  • Brooke Goldfinch, studied filmmaking at NYU and last year won the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director at Sydney Film Festival’s Dendy Awards for her short film Red Rover. “The prestige of being selected for this Fellowship is an important step in my career and I look forward to collaborating with Lexus and Sydney Film Festival.”

  • Alex Murawski is an AFTRS graduate whose film school short Kiss screened at the Berlinale as well as many other international film festivals, including Cannes and Palm Springs International Shortsfest where it took second prize, and has over 70,000 views on YouTube.  “The Fellowship will substantially help one of my goals when I left film school: to be a versatile filmmaker, able to work with varied narratives, worlds, budgets, environments and people.”

  • Alex Ryan is a UTS and AFTRS graduate with a number of award-winning shorts and music videos to his name. “Being chosen by this prestigious jury will bring a level of exposure and credibility to my work that will support the next steps in my career.”

Glamorous 2016 GOLD DINNER raises $1.6 million for the Sydney Children's Hospital

400 guests gathered at The Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, to celebrate the 19th annual Gold Dinner, in support of Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. Over $1.6 million was raised on the evening to support the Hospital’s new initiative for adolescent chronic care, The Bright Alliance capital appeal’s TRAPEZE.

In grand Gold Dinner style, the landmark building was transformed into an Arcadian wonderland, ‘The Pleasure Garden’, created by the Gold Dinner’s legendary creative director Tony Assness. Landscape gardener to the stars Miles Baldwin shipped in over 500 trees to create an ethereal backdrop for the event which featured entertainment by the cast of ‘Matilda’, singer Thelma Plum and the Orchestra of the Antipodes.

With a guest list featuring a who’s who of Sydney, the Gold Dinner has raised more than $22 million in its 19 year history, helping to ensure that Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick continues to deliver world-class care. This year’s stellar guest list included John and Amber Symonds, Justine Hemmes and Kate Fowler, Robby and Sarah Ingham, Jean Marc and Kirsten Carriol, Camille and Chad Walker, Paul and Misia Duchen, Bob and Sally Ell, D’Leanne Lewis and Ashley Bierman, Rebecca Vallance and David Gasan, Anthony Bell and Kelly Landry, Eva Galambos, Christine Bracher, Monica Tu, David and Dana Lewis, Judith, Beau and Paris Neilson with MCs, Channel Nine’s Sylvia Jeffries and Peter Stefanovic.

Gold Dinner guests feasted on a pastoral-inspired menu specially designed by Jeremy Strode and his Bistrode CBD team, complemented with drinks by Bollinger and Lion. This is the first year that the Merivale Group has joined forces with the Gold Committee and marks a new culinary era for the event. Guests bid on money-can’t-buy prizes from generous supporters such as Louis Vuitton, Paspaley, One&Only Resorts and Emirates, auctioned by the inimitable Justin Miller.

Gold Dinner committee co-chairs Nikki McCullagh and Chrissy Comino, alongside Gold Dinner Ambassadors Skye Leckie and Jane Freudenstein, led the hard-working committee comprising Alina Barlow, Roslyn Hakim, Sara Lane, Wallis Graham, Edwina McCann and Athena Wagner to create this stellar fundraiser. The Gold Dinner would also not be possible without the support of Gold partners Emirates, Bollinger, Louis Vuitton, Paspaley, World Travel Professionals, ABC Bullion as well as Gold Ambassadors One&Only Resorts, Servcorp and Laing & Simmons.

Says the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO, Nicola Stokes: “This year, the beneficiary of Gold Dinner is The Bright Alliance capital appeal, specifically TRAPEZE, a global pioneer in adolescent chronic care which is at the heart of our new Centre for Adolescent and Young Adult Health. An investment in The Bright Alliance is an investment in our young people’s future, and we are incredibly grateful to the Gold Dinner committee, donors and patrons for their support.”

Sydney Theatre Company's 'The Present': cast announced for Broadway season

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh will be joined by the entire original cast of The Present when Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play opens on Broadway. Full casting was announced overnight in the US as tickets go on sale for the limited season, commencing previews at the Barrymore Theatre on 17 December 2016, opening on 8 January and closing on 19 March 2017.

John Crowley’s acclaimed production features Anna Bamford (Maria), Cate Blanchett (Anna), Andrew Buchanan (Osip), David Downer (Yegor), Eamon Farren (Kirill), Martin Jacobs (Alexei), Brandon McClelland (Dimitri), Jacqueline McKenzie (Sophia), Marshall Napier (Ivan), Susan Prior (Sasha), Richard Roxburgh (Platonov), Chris Ryan (Sergei) and Toby Schmitz (Nikolai).

Set and costume design is by Alice Babidge, with lighting design by Nick Schlieper. Stefan Gregory is composer & sound designer for The Present, which had its premiere season at Roslyn Packer Theatre in 2015, seen by almost 45,000 people.

Variously known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness and The Disinherited, Anton Chekhov’s first play was not discovered until 1920, some 16 years after the playwright’s death. Andrew Upton’s adaptation is set post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna. At the centre is the acerbic and witty Platonov with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fueled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.

The Present is produced on Broadway by Stuart Thompson and Sydney Theatre Company.