Genevieve Kelly: rising up through the ranks

April 11, 2016

I loved the work I was doing while I studied.... it allowed me to forge relationships which is so often how you hear about the jobs going

Genevieve Kelly with two of the films at this year's Spanish Film Festival

It still happens… who would have thought? You can start as an intern or junior and become the manager. That’s Genevieve Kelly’s story—the National Festival Manager for Palace Cinema—who recently brought the Spanish Film Festival to Brisbane.

Ola! I have a burning desire to go to Spain. This is the country that has enriched the civilized world in so many ways. Julio AND Enrique Iglesias (“Moonlight Lady” – what a classic), Zara, the siesta, Picasso and Rafael Nadal, a bunch of outstanding explorers… they also invented the stapler. True! It was designed and created in the Basque country of Spain for French King Louis XV back in the 18th century. Bet you didn’t know that?

The Brisbane connection

In the course of finding out a bit more about The Spanish Film Festival, I discovered that Genevieve is a former Brisbane girl from the Gap. Now, the Director of the Spanish Film Festival—a position she’s held for the last four years—it’s a role she has in addition to National Festivals Manager for Palace Cinemas at their head office in Melbourne.

“I came up through the ranks,” Genevieve says. She studied her Communications and Media degree at QUT and worked front of house at George St. Dendy during her student days. She says her progression into her current role was an organic progression.

“Front of House, then Events and Sponsorship Co-Ordinator, and then after I finished my degree I became the Publicity, Promotions and Event Manager for the Dendy in Queensland,” Genevieve says.

Her love of films comes from her parents; her Peruvian mother frequently took her to the movies, going to the George St. Dendy, which she did regularly from an early age. She recalls Baraka and The Secret of Roan Inish being two of her earliest memories of arthouse films.

“I loved the work I was doing while I studied. It gave me a creative outlet and allowed me to forge relationships with people in the film industry, which is so often how you hear about the jobs going. That’s still true today,” she says, offering a piece of advice to other students with a love for the big screen. “We have a staff member now working for Palace in Melbourne who started as intern.”

Genevieve is excited about the recent progression of festivals and cites the Italian and Spanish festivals as both experiencing growth.

“We’re seeing a real demand for the (Spanish) festival now. I say to people give it a chance,” Genevieve says.

And next…

At the age of 31, Genevieve undoubtedly has a big career ahead of her in the industry and is already thinking ‘bigger picture’ with a future move of taking on a role with an international film festival.

“Berlin would be amazing,” she says. Her sister is a painter who currently lives there. “Well, it’s a long way from us sharing a flat in West End,” she laughs.

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Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

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