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Speech given by the Governor at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne virtual Awards Ceremony

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First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land from which I am joining you, and I pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders who are with us in this virtual event.

Just over a week ago, we were filled with anticipation as our much-loved Indian Film Festival of Melbourne was about to open. It DID open, albeit in a different form than originally expected.

Of course, that simply reflects the time we live in for now. And it prompts a particularly huge congratulations to Mitu and the team for delivering a fantastic Festival, despite the various circumstances that continue to challenge us all.

You not only successfully grappled with every logistical and delivery roadblock that you encountered. You brought us a Festival with the gift of beautiful, interesting, funny, sad, entertaining and thought-provoking films.

Thank you to every one of you involved with the Festival.

And thank you to every single person involved in the making of the films we have seen. You too, no doubt, have grappled with the challenges of these strange times – when nothing has been quite as simple as it used to be – but the quality of your art has still been sublime.

I do not envy the judges who have had to choose perfection from amongst perfection.  But like you all, I am excited to know the outcome of their deliberations.

So let me make just two brief observations.

One is that I have been delighted to see the growing number of women film makers featured in this Festival. I am convinced that diversity in perspectives makes for strong art and a stronger community. I doubt that anyone here – male or female – will disagree. 

My other (and last) comment is along similar lines.

It is simply that our many Indian Victorians are significant contributors to the rich diversity of our State: something of which we are proud.

But, we can never rest on our laurels.  

And so, I particularly welcome another aspect that this Festival brings. It is the artistic exchange that underpins better understanding and appreciation of each other. We profit from learning about our cultural differences and, even more so, as we see the commonalities in the human condition.

Thank you to all of you who help to heighten that appreciation, and congratulations and good luck to all the finalists this afternoon.