“We are immensely proud of our track record as the voice of Australian film on the internet,” say the founding editors, Andrew L. Urban and Louise Keller, who have written, reviewed, managed and published it all with enthusiasm. “Over the years we have attracted readers from every corner of the globe and have served our Australian readers with a weekly menu of reviews, interviews, news and box office reports.”
Urban Cinefile was launched in February 1997 and in 1998 was voted the Best Arts & Entertainment Site in the inaugural Australian Internet Awards. The quality of its content was also recognised by major internet portals bursting onto the new online landscape. Urban Cinefile became the source of syndicated movie reviews and other content for the likes of Telstra Big Pond, Optus, AOL, Yahoo! City Search, Virtual Communities, Qantas Inflight and many more. Urban Cinefile produced movie reviews on mobile phones as well as a movie review program for subscription TV channels Ovation and World Movies.
“We also pioneered webcasting of the AFI Awards and Tropfest,” recalls Urban, “in association with our client partners, and I think we gave Australian movie lovers easy and entertaining access to the discussion of movies and insights into film and filmmaking in Australia.” Keller adds: “We are proud to have hosted Australia’s first live online chat with Kate Ceberano (through AOL) and hosted the official Telstra webcast of the Fox Studios Opening with over 40 Red Carpet interviews including Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch.
The future of movies was canvassed at a forum for our 10th anniversary when a panel of industry notables including (then) Foxtel CEO Kim Williams, Oscar winner George Miller, Animal Logic’s Greg Smith, AFTRS acting head Chris Fitchett. Oscar winner Peter Jackson recorded a special video message reinforcing his view that the internet will drive changes in filmmaking.
Since 1999, the National Library of Australia has archived Urban Cinefile in its PANDORA project, the ongoing web archive, citing Urban Cinefile as ‘an online publication of cultural value’.
We will continue to enjoy movies (& continue publishing our reviews of some) and safeguard our legacy in Urban Cinefile; we invite readers to browse our extensive archives and enjoy the reflections on the thousands of films we have reviewed.
Published February 16, 2017