LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Last year I was absent when the (Sydney) Travelling Film Festival (TFF) relocated to the Alice Springs Cinema.
It was I recall the first time that I had missed the festival since I arrived in town in 1986 when for several years I was on the mailing list and distributed flyers in those early days of the festival.
It saddens me hugely to find that Araluen which is owned by the people of Alice Springs, yet managed on our behalf by the NTG, has managed to lose the festival to private industry.
Conversations that I had with the visiting TFF staff informed me that Araluen were simply asking too much money to continue to hold the event in their theatre.
Perhaps there are other issues unknown or undeclared to me. It came across pretty strongly that Araluen again this year was the first preference for the TFF organisers.
But again Araluen appears to have priced itself out of consideration. This I find most concerning. As I have said, Araluen belong to us the people of Alice Springs. I see Araluen as the natural “home” of cultural events in Alice. So how can these events have occurred? How can Araluen have higher charges than the private market?
However my real concern is what might have happened if Alice Springs Cinema had not wished or been able to get onboard the event now or in future years. It is entirely possible that the town may have entirely lost the festival.
Once lost it may prove difficult to re-establish when Araluen pricing policies changed to be more competitive. Would Araluen have cared if we lost the festival? I am wondering! The evidence suggest not. We must indeed be grateful to the Cinema for hosting the festival! They have ensured that the town remains on the festival circuit.
I request the Friends of Araluen investigate how these events have occurred, and do their best to have the TFF return “home” next year. Perhaps the changes have been the result of changes to NTG funding, or more in-house decisions on-site at Araluen.
The festival visits only thirteen towns throughout Qld, NSW and the NT. It is indeed a privilege that must not be lost.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR