The primary role of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (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 Australian equivalent of the Oscars® and the BAFTAs.

AACTA was formerly the Australian Film Institute (AFI), which has been honouring excellence in Australian film and television for over 60 years. First established in 1958, when AFI held Australia’s first ever film excellence awards – the AFI Awards – AFI has remained committed to connecting Australian and international audiences with great Australian film and television content.

Launched by AFI in 2011 following an extensive review and consultation, AACTA is Australia’s peak screen body and continues to reflect a standard of film and television excellence that mirrors that of AMPAS and BAFTA, whilst maintaining a unique Australian perspective.

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 Member Body

AFI | AACTA, a not-for-profit organisation, has two important member bodies: AFI members (open to all) and AACTA members (open to screen industry professionals).

AFI membership provides the Australian public and international audiences with 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 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.

Become a member

Whether your place is on the screen, behind the camera, in an office or front row in a cinema, AACTA membership connects you to the heart of Australia's screen industry.

Discover the benefits of membership

Fast Facts

  • The AFI was set up in 1958 by a group of film enthusiasts from Carlton.
  • The AFI’s constitution is modelled on the British Film Institute.
  • The Melbourne Film Festival became an activity of the AFI from 1958, but they separated into two organisations in 1972.
  • The Raymond Longford Award (now the Longford Lyell Award) was established in 1968 as the AFI’s highest screen accolade.
  • 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.
  • Nine Network produced the first ever televised broadcast of the AFI Awards in 1976.
  • The Byron Kennedy Award was established in 1984 in honour of Dr George Miller’s original filmmaking partner Byron Kennedy. The Award celebrates outstanding creative enterprise within Australia’s film and television industries.
  • Dr George Miller was announced as Patron of the AFI in 2001.
  • Cate Blanchett was announced as Ambassador of the AFI in 2001.
  • The AFI launched AACTA in Sydney in August 2011, where Geoffrey Rush was announced as the founding President of AACTA.
  • The inaugural AACTA Awards were held in January 2012 at the Sydney Opera House and broadcast nationally on Channel Nine.
  • AFI | AACTA's first internationally held Awards event, the inaugural AACTA International Awards, was held in January 2012 in LA.
  • The inaugural AFI Awards in 1958 honoured six Award categories. Today, the AACTA Awards (a continuum of the AFI Awards) recognise screen craft excellence across more than 50 Awards and three major Awards events.


*Many of the above fast facts are referenced from the book Shining A Light: 50 Years of the Australian Film Institute, written by Lisa French and Mark Poole. To purchase a copy of the book ($35 AUD for AFI | AACTA members, $39.95 AUD for non members, plus postage and handling), please email accounts@afi.org.au.

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