Australia's Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport Rod Kempwas slow clapped off the stage prior to this week's Sydney Film Festival worldpremiere screening of the reconstructed version of the 1919 romantic comedy TheSentimental Bloke.

Theoutbreak of bad manners appeared to be either cineastes annoyed at thespeeches, invited VIPs and delayed start time, or objectors to the culturalinclusions in the yet to be-signed Free Trade Agreement with the US. It couldalso have been State Government staffers of the opposite political persuasion.

The objections became particularly hostile when Kemp begantalking about the Australian Government's financial support of film and it wasthen that he cut his speech short and, with tongue in cheek, thanked theaudience for its warm and generous reception. The following speakers, PaoloCherchi Usai, senior curator at George Eastman House and soon to be director ofScreenSound Australia, and actor Jack Thompson, were allowed to say theirpiece.