Attendance figures down 7% from last year

SYDNEY — Admissions to the 53rd Sydney Film Festival, which closed Sunday, dipped 7% to 123,000, but organizers said this reflects a change in auditing practice and misrepresents the fest’s growing success.

Previously, SFF assumed all subscribers attended all events, but management this year adopted a more realistic system.

Artistic director Lynden Barber’s second, and final, fest opened with Rolf de Heer’s “Ten Canoes” and closed with Jason Reitman’s “Thank You for Smoking.”

The World Cinema Audience Award went to Steve Carrel and Toni Collette starrer “Little Miss Sunshine,” from helmers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; helmer Molly Reynolds’ “The Ballander and the Bark Canoes,” about the making of “Ten Canoes,” won the World Cinema docu award.

In the Sidebar Program, helmer Ronny Yu’s chopsocky “Fearless” won the feature award, and helmer David Guggenheim’s “An Inconvenient Truth” won docu plaudits.

The Fipresci doc kudos went to “Favella Rising,” from helmers Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary.

The 17-day fest unspooled 113 major pics from 40 countries. Barber’s replacement has not been announced.

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