About AFI | AACTA Geoffery RushGeoffrey Rush StatuetteStory of the Statuette


The Australian Film Institute (AFI) was established in 1958 when the AFI held Australia's first ever film excellence Awards – the AFI Awards – and since then has remained committed to connecting Australian and international audiences with great Australian film and television content.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) was launched by the AFI in August 2011 following a 12 month review and consultation.

The primary role of AACTA is to recognise, encourage, promote and celebrate film and television excellence in Australia through the nation's highest screen accolades – the AACTA Awards.

The AACTA Awards, a continuum of the AFI Awards, are the Australian screen industry's "stamp of success" – the Australian equivalent of the Oscars and the BAFTAs.

AFI | AACTA, a not for profit organisation, has two important membership streams.

AFI membership is open to all, and provides the Australian public and international audiences a unique opportunity to connect with and show their support for the Australian screen industry.

AACTA serves as Australia's most prestigious film and television member body, and is overseen by AACTA President, Geoffrey Rush, and an Honorary Council comprising more than 50 of Australia's most outstanding film and television practitioners and performers.

AACTA brings together and represents screen professionals from a cross-section of the screen industry in order to galvanise the industry and to further screen excellence in Australia. AACTA membership is granted to screen industry professionals through an accreditation process.

Australia has produced some of the best screen performers, practitioners and productions in the world, and AFI | AACTA remains committed to promoting, within Australia and internationally, Australia's best and brightest screen professionals and the great Australian stories which they tell on the big and small screens.

AFI | AACTA History: Fast Facts*

  • A group of Carlton film enthusiasts set up the AFI in 1958.
  • The AFI modelled its constitution on the BFI (British Film Institute).
  • The Melbourne Film Festival became an activity of the AFI from 1958 but they separated into two organisations in 1972.
  • The AFI did not receive any government funding until 1970.
  • The AFI was instrumental in the lobby for the 'revival' of Australian film in the 1970s.
  • The AFI funded films between 1970 and 1978 through the Experimental Film and Television Fund.
  • The Nine Network produced the first ever televised broadcast of the AFI Awards in 1976.
  • The AFI Raymond Longford Award was established in 1968 as the AFI's highest screen accolade, honouring such Australian icons as Peter Weir, Geoffrey Rush, Fred Schepisi, Jan Chapman, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Jack Thompson, David Stratton and Reg Grundy, to name a few.
  • Dr George Miller, internationally acclaimed writer, producer and director, was announced as Patron of the AFI in 2001. Dr Miller's company, Kennedy Miller, also funds the Byron Kennedy Award, celebrating outstanding creative enterprise within Australia's film and television industries.
  • Cate Blanchett was announced as Ambassador of the AFI in 2001. Blanchett is the recipient of awards bestowed by the AFI, AMPAS, BAFTA and the Golden Globes.
  • The AFI launched a 12 month organisation review in 2010, which included a significant industry consultation in order to identify support for the establishment of an "Australian Academy".
  • Due to overwhelming support for an Academy model, the AFI launched the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts in Sydney in August 2011, announcing internationally acclaimed actor, Geoffrey Rush, as President of the Australian Academy.
  • The inaugural AACTA Awards were held in January 2012 and included the AACTA International Awards (held in Los Angeles – marking AFI | AACTA's first internationally-held Awards event), and the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards, held at the Sydney Opera House and broadcast nationally on Channel Nine.
  • The inaugural AFI Awards held in 1958 honoured six Award categories. Today the AACTA Awards (which are a continuum of the AFI Awards) recognise film, television and documentary screen craft excellence - including screenwriting, producing and acting, through to cinematography, composition and costume design - across more than 50 Awards.

A full list of AFI Award and AACTA Award winners and nominees can be found here.

*Many of the above listed fast facts pertaining to the AFI are referenced from the book Shining A Light: 50 Years of the Australian Film Institute, written by Lisa French and Mark Poole.