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2010 Event Media Release - GRAPHIC attracts 8000 people

MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday, August 12, 2010

ANIMATED AUDIENCES: Sydney Opera House attracts more than 8,000 to inaugural GRAPHIC festival and 15,000 online

The inaugural GRAPHIC festival and online animation competition has been declared a huge success with more than 8000 people attending one of 16 ticketed shows and four free events at Sydney Opera House on August 7, 8 and 9.

Specially commissioned productions, musical responses to stories, animation and illustration, interviews and panel discussions celebrated the imagination and ideas of visionary creators in the fields of graphic storytelling, comics, animation and illustration.

According to Sydney Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Culture Virginia Hyam and co-curator Jordan Verzar, plans are already underway for 2011. Ms Hyam said GRAPHIC represented a lot of firsts but had clearly made its mark on the Australian and international landscape as a unique festival.

“Graphic was about  takings risks, encouraging artists who are leaders in their fields to move slightly beyond their comfort zones in new collaborations  and  new projects, all of which achieved results beyond expectations, for the artists, the audiences and the producers,” Ms Hyam said.

“This festival set out to bring artists and enthusiasts together to draw focus to these incredibly exciting mediums, but it grew into something even richer, with a community really talking to each other, sharing ideas and creating a powerful impetus for new creative adventures to grow. We are already focussed on next year and what new dimensions we can add.”

"For an inaugural festival, the response has been overwhelming, far better than I could have dreamed of,” Mr Verzar added. “I feel we successfully presented new directions in enhanced storytelling that haven't really been explored before and I look forward to unleashing the crazy experiments we're cooking up for future years."

In partnership with Screen NSW and Hackett Films, Sydney Opera House also launched a world-wide online animation competition which attracted 75 entries from 13 countries and 15,000 people to the competition website (

Won by Dave Barton Thomas of Canada for Seven Year Twitch, the 44-year-old father of three was presented with the $20,000 cash prize by legendary filmmaker and comics guru Kevin Smith ahead of the world premiere of The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Accompanied by Australian string quartet FourPlay and the illustrations of Eddie Campbell, Gaiman said he cannot wait to see what happens next year.

“The Graphic festival has gone, in one weekend, from nowhere to being the smartest, wisest, most cutting edge festival and celebration of narrative literature and its intersection with culture in the world. It was an honour to have been able to be part of it,” he said.

Eddie Campbell added: “Graphic is the single best comics related show I have been a part of. The idea of our collective ambition has always been to connect with the larger world of literary and artistic culture and appearing at the Sydney Opera House is a giant step for us. That it should also have been a sell-out weekend affirms our faith in that idea.”

The festival also included two hilarious Q&A sessions with Kevin Smith, the legendary Japanese anime epic Akira rescored live by Regurgitator, and Ben Walsh and the Orkestra of the Underground creating a live score to Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

A series of talks, film screenings, free workshops, and the Best of the Independent Games Festival 2009 exhibition also took place across the weekend.

For more information about GRAPHIC and the online animation competition please visit the following website: Check back shortly for a photo gallery and video show reel of highlights from this year’s festival.

Media Contact:
Nathan McIlroy, Senior Publicist, Sydney Opera House
9250 7596 / 0434 146 121 /


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