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Another fabulous new event at the House to look forward to


By Barbara Seville

AUGUST is a horrible month in Sydney so how about a brand new festival thingy to brighten up the old tart?

Sydney Opera House is coming to the rescue and announced this stimulus package today: "A brand new festival and online competition to celebrate the imagination and ideas of visionary creators in the fields of graphic storytelling, comics, animation and illustration." Read on:

It's called GRAPHIC and "will take over Bennelong Point on August 7 and 8 and feature specially commissioned productions, musical responses to graphic art, interviews and panel discussions with renowned local and international figures.

In partnership with Screen NSW and Hackett Films, Sydney Opera House today also launched a world-wide online competition open to illustrators, animators and storytellers of all levels with a cash prize of $20,000.

GRAPHIC's keynote event will feature celebrated graphic novelist Neil Gaiman reading his new as-yet unpublished story The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains in the Concert Hall. Eddie Campbell (From Hell) has been commissioned to illustrate the story and Australian string quartet FourPlay will create a live underscore to the reading.

The festival will also include an evening with independent filmmaker and comic writer Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma>), 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 free Best of the Independent Games Festival 2009 exhibition in the Western Foyers will also take place across the weekend.

Co-curator Jordan Verzar of Top Shelf Productions said: "Sydney Opera House embracing and presenting this event is a godsend for the fans. GRAPHIC will present artists you had always hoped, but would never have expected to appear in Australia and in formats you wouldn't anticipate."

Entrants to the online animation competition will be required to create 3 X 20 second animatics that form a three-part series. Judged by an expert panel of industry leaders, all styles of animation are accepted and can be anything from a storyboard comic to stop motion to 3D.

In addition to the $20,000 cash prize, the winner will receive an Adobe CS5 Master Collection (valued at $4333) and have their film screened at GRAPHIC.

GRAPHIC tickets will be available to individual events and a discount of up to 20% applies if buying tickets across multiple shows in a single transaction. For more information about the GRAPHIC festival and online animation competition visit:

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