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SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE FULL PROGRAM FOR THE 7-18 JUNE FESTIVAL

The 64th Sydney Film Festival program was officially launched today by Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley.

“The Sydney Film Festival is a collection of perspectives from many of the world’s most interesting storytellers, who reflect our shared desire to understand today’s world – from refugees and gender rights, to attitudes about country and community,” said Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley.

“From the heart of the ancient Pilbara, to the rubble of besieged Aleppo, or messages from the universe delivered 40 years later, filmmakers go to incredible lengths and dedicate many years of their lives to inspire, enlighten and entertain us.”

“A film Festival is the one place where all of these perspectives come together and offer us a temperature reading of the global zeitgeist: of who, what, where and why we are today,” he said.

Sydney Film Festival has gone from strength to strength in recent year, since 2011 attendance has increased by 62% to 178,500 filmgoers.  In 2017 the Festival will present 288 films from 59 countries including 37 World Premieres, bringing together hundreds of international and local stories.

Opening and Closing Nights

The 2017 Festival opens with the world premiere of acclaimed Indigenous director Warwick Thornton’s Official Competition contender We Don’t Need a Map, presented by Distinguished Partner, Lexus Australia.  Thornton will be in attendance to present his documentary on Opening Night, which investigates Australia’s relationship to the Southern Cross through colonial and Indigenous history to the present day.

Closing the Festival is celebrated Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Competition contender Okja, starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and An Seo-hyun. Bong will attend the Festival to present his film, which has its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Official Competition 10th anniversary

The Official Competition celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017, marking a decade of awarding the $60,000 cash Sydney Film Prize for audacious, cutting-edge and courageous cinema.

Among the 12 films selected to compete are Warwick Thornton’s We Don’t Need a Map and celebrated Australian theatre director Benedict Andrews’ debut feature Una, starring Emmy-winning actor Ben Mendelsohn.

Also screening in Competition are exciting new works from acclaimed directors Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled), Alain Gomis (Félicité), Michael Haneke (Happy End), Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro), Nana & Simon (My Happy Family), Ildikó Enyedi (On Body and Soul), Aki Kaurismäki (The Other Side of Hope) and Amat Escalante (The Untamed). The Official Competition also features debut features from groundbreaking Afghan woman director Shahrbanoo Sadat (Wolf and Sheep) and Singapore’s Kirsten Tan (Pop Aye).

The winner of the Sydney Film Prize is announced at the Festival’s Closing Night Gala on Sunday 18 June. Previous winners include: Aquarius (2016), Arabian Nights (2015); Two Days, One Night (2014); Only God Forgives (2013); Alps (2012); A Separation (2011); Heartbeats (2010); Bronson (2009); and Hunger (2008).

The competition is endorsed by FIAPF, the regulating body for international film festivals, and is judged by a jury of five international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals.

Attending the Festival to present the premiere of their films are eight filmmakers and actors:  Australian Cannes-awarded director Warwick Thornton (We Don’t Need a Map), Australian Emmy-winning actor Ben Mendelsohn (Una), Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi (On Body and Soul), French director Alain Gomis (Félicité), actor Sherwan Haji (The Other Side of Hope), Mexican director Amat Escalante (The Untamed), Afghan female director Shahrbanoo Sadat (Wolf and Sheep), and Haitian American producer Hébert Peck (I Am Not Your Negro).

Thornton, Mendelsohn, and Peck will also join the Sydney Film Festival conversation for FREE Vivid Ideas talks at the Festival Hub, after the screenings of their films.

THE PROGRAM

The Festival’s diverse film programs promise cinematic treasures to be discovered every day. From the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary, showcasing 10 outstanding Australian documentaries; to 15 big-ticket films in Special Presentations at The State, presented by Princess Cruises.

There are also 46 feature films, including prize-winners of the world’s most prestigious festivals; and 35 international documentaries tackling essential contemporary topics, from some of the world’s most renowned documentarians.

WORLD PREMIERES + DAFS

World premieres at the Festival include six Australian feature films beginning with Australia Day, Red Dog director Kriv Stenders’ hard look at the frayed edges of Australian society, with an all-star Australian cast (Bryan Brown, Shari Sebbens, Isabella Cornish, Matthew Le Nevez, and Sean Keenan).

Festivalgoers will be the first to see David Wenham’s directorial debut feature Ellipsis, a touching love letter to Sydney; tween feature Rip Tide with leading actress Disney star Debby Ryan; and inventive sci-fi thriller OtherLife from talented Australian director Ben C. Lucas.

Ten documentaries will contest the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary from Blue – an investigation into the state of the earth’s oceans dedicated to creating awareness and change – to The Pink House, the story of Kalgoorlie’s last original gold rush brothel, told through the eyes of Madame Carmel, 70, and its longest-serving lady of the night, BJ.

Other Australian stories competing include:  Barbecue, Connection to Country, Defiant Lives, Hope Road, In My Own Words, The Last Goldfish, PACmen and Roller Dreams.

VIVID Live, Sydney Film Festival and the Australian Chamber Orchestra will present Mountain LIVE, the World Premiere of Jennifer Peedom’s Mountain with live musical score by the ACO, at the Opera House on Monday 12 June, 3:00pm.

Also playing in the Sounds on Screen program is Kriv Stenders’ documentary looking at 1970s Aussie rock-band The Go-Betweens in The Go-Betweens: Right Here.

French romantic comedy Madame, starring Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel, also has its world premiere at the Festival.

FILMS FROM CANNES

The Festival will screen ten films direct from the Cannes Film Festival.

Four films are in the running for the Palme d’Or: Sofia Coppola’s seductive new thriller The Beguiled, starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning; acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Okja starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and An Seo-hyun; celebrated German director Fatih Akin’s In the Fade starring Diane Kruger; and master Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Happy End starring Isabelle Huppert.

Four films coming from Cannes to the Sydney Film Festival are directorial debuts: Sea Sorrow, from 80-year-old Oscar-winning actor and UK based political activist Vanessa Redgrave; Wind River from US screenwriter Taylor Sheridan – starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen; New Jersey story Patti Cake$ from US director Geremy Jasper – which gives Australian actress Danielle Macdonald a breakthrough role; and Brigsby Bear, a comedy with Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney from US director Dave McCary.

Also screening at the Festival from Cannes is Napalm, the latest documentary, set in North Korea, by renowned French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, now 91, and direct from Cannes Classics, the restored version of Luis Buñuel’s 1967 Belle de Jour.

Two films screening at Cannes are also contenders for the Festival’s Sydney Film Prize: The Beguiled and Happy End.

Attending the Festival to present their films are: Australian actor Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$), Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Okja), and Vanessa Redgrave (Sea Sorrow – with the support of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Initiative). Redgrave will also join film commentator Margaret Pomeranz In Conversation at Sydney Film Festival, for a FREE Vivid Ideas talk at the Festival Hub (Saturday 17 June, 2pm) after the screening of her film.

FEATURES supported By UNSW Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences & special PRESENTATIONS Presented By Princess Cruises 

The Festival will present new features from great cinematic storytellers, from prize-winners of the world’s most prestigious festivals, to exciting new works from ground-breaking filmmakers.

Home-grown Muslim comedy Ali’s Wedding, sophisticated romance Call Me By Your Name, set in the Italian countryside, and haunting micro-budget love story A Ghost Story, made in secret starring Rooney Mara and Oscar-winner Casey Affleck made, are among some of the films to screen in the Special Presentations at the magnificent State Theatre, presented by Princess Cruises.

Other feature highlights, supported by the University of New South Wales Sydney include:  Terrence Malick’s love story Song to Song, set in the Texas music capital of Austin and starring Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett; Tropfest winner Alethea Jones’ feature debut Fun Mom Dinner starring Toni Collette and Molly Shannon, Cannes Critics’ Week’s closing comedy Brigsby Bear starring Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney; and the exquisite tale of a transgender woman from Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio, Berlin award-winner A Fantastic Woman.

INTERNATIONAL DOCS

Closer to home, The Great Barrier Reef takes centre stage in Sundance winner Chasing Coral, which raises awareness of the dire fate of coral reefs by filming the phenomenon ‘coral bleaching’. Laura Poitras’ follow-up to her Oscar winning Citizenfour is Risk, a portrait of controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange filmed over six years. And also brought to the screen is the story of the Bruce McLaren: the humble New Zealander who became a superstar of Formula 1 (McLaren).

Other highlights include The Farthest, a passionate documentary on NASA’s Voyager space program and the far-reaching probes launched 40 years ago, Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance Last Men in Aleppo, – a portrait of White Helmet volunteers of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, and Sundance award-winning Filipino documentary Motherland filmed in the busiest maternity hospital in the world.

SCREENABILITY

New to the Festival is Screenability, an exciting platform for screen practitioners with disability in partnership with Screen NSW and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

Curated by Guest Programmer Sofya Gollan, six cutting edge works will be showcased – features My Name is Emily and Pulse, documentary Lust for Sight, and short films Drumming is Like Thunder, Struck, and The Milky Pop Kid – all by filmmakers with disability.

Filmmakers with disability, Australian Daniel Monks (Pulse), and Switzerland’s Manuël von Stürler (Lust for Sight), will attend the Festival as guests to introduce their screenings. All Screenability filmmaker Q&As and introductions will be Auslan interpreted.

The Festival has also expanded its access and inclusion policy, introducing audio described and open captioned screenings, and a relaxed screening (My Life as a Zucchini) to compliment the Festival’s program – which includes over 90 English-subtitled films.

Festival Venues

Randwick’s iconic Ritz Cinema – celebrating its 80th birthday this year – has been added to the Festival’s wide Sydney footprint, which returns to the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, Dendy Newtown, Skyline Drive In Blacktown, Art Gallery of NSW, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Casula Powerhouse, SFF Outdoor Screen at Pitt Street Mall, and the Festival Hub at Sydney Town Hall.

The Festival’s outdoor screen, SFFTV @ Pitt St – presented by distinguished partner Princess Cruises – returns to Pitt St Mall.  Audiences can catch SFF trailers, red carpet footage and short films on the giant, double-sided screen.

Also screening: an eye-popping international animated shorts showcase curated by the Festival’s Animation Programmer Malcolm Turner, and clips of four films from the National Film and Sound Archive, along with a selection of vintage Sydney footage.

14 Festival feature films will screen at Randwick’s Ritz Cinema, five at Casula Powerhouse in Sydney’s south west, and 26 at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne for audiences on Sydney’s North Shore.

LEXUS AUSTRALIA SHORT FILM FELLOWSHIP

For the second year, the Festival’s Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship will award four filmmakers the largest cash fellowship (AU$200,000 annually) for short film in Australia. On Tuesday 13 June, the four fellows will be announced, selected from 20 shortlisted Australian filmmakers by a jury chaired by actor David Wenham.  Once announced the fellows will commence production of their films, which will premiere at the 65th Sydney Film Festival in 2018.  The Fellowship is a partnership between Lexus Australia and Sydney Film Festival.

The Festival will also host the world premieres of the 2016 Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship Fellows: Anya Beyersdorf (How the Light Gets In), Brooke Goldfinch (Outbreak Generation), Alex Murawski (Snow) and Alex Ryan (Red Ink), supported by Lexus Australia.

short film AWARDS

Ten finalists in the Dendy Awards, Australia’s longest running short film competition, now in its 48th year, will also screen over two sessions on 17 and 18 June. Three prize winners: The Dendy Live Action Short Award, The Rouben Mamoulian Award and the Yoram Gross Animation Award, will be announced at the Festival’s Closing Night, together with the Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award.

EUROPE! VOICES OF WOMEN IN FILM

In partnership with European Film Promotion and Screen International Sydney Film Festival will present Europe! Voices of Women in Film: a program of 10 new films from vital European women filmmakers.

From Ireland to Denmark, and Portugal to Macedonia, Europe! Voices of Women in Film shines a spotlight on emerging women filmmakers who are working to redress gender imbalance in the industry.

The program is enriched by seven industry guests from across the continent, who will introduce their films and take part in a public talk:  In Conversation with European Women Filmmakers.

In attendance to present their films to Festival audiences are: Award winning Georgian filmmaker Rusudan Glurjidze (House of Others), acclaimed Irish filmmakers Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane (School Life), Swiss actress Rachel Braunschweig (The Divine Order), promising UK filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling) – who was last year awarded the IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award of £50k presented by Cate Blanchett, Macedonian filmmaker Teona Strugar Mitevska (When the Day Had No Name), and Afghan filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat (Wolf and Sheep), the youngest ever selected for a Cannes Cinéfondation Residency – at 20 years old.

YOUTH

Since 2016, changes to classification restrictions have made over 50% of the program accessible to audiences 15+. A new Youth Pass introduced this year allows for cheaper tickets for film lovers aged 18-24. Festival films will now cost young people just $72 for a bundle of six-tickets. Tickets for under 18s are just $13.

FAMILY

The Family Films program returns with six films screening at the Festival in daytime sessions over the weekend. Tweens will relish the world premiere of Australian feature Rip Tide, featuring Disney star Debby Ryan, The Sun at Midnight, and My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, starring the voices of indie heroes Jason Schwartzman and Lena Dunham.

Kids and adults will love this program equally, designed to bring festival-quality feature-length films suitable for a variety of ages, such as the Oscar-nominated stop-motion My Life as a Zucchini and the superhero crime-fighting adventure Phantom Boy.

ANIMATION

The Animation Showcase returns to the Festival with three special events, curated by specialist Malcolm Turner. Short animated gems from all around the world can be found within the International Animation Showcase, the wicked Animation After Dark Program, and Family Program – curated for younger audiences.  Short films for animation fans of all ages will also screen for free at Pitt Street Mall.

SOUNDS ON SCREEN

Sounds on Screen covers everything from Whitney Houston to the Sex Pistols in celebrating the stories of inspiring music and musicians through a selection of six films.

From high-profile documentarian Nick Broomfield’s Whitney ‘Can I Be Me’, to Red Dog Director Kriv Stenders’ look at legendary Aussie rock-band The Go-Betweens in The Go-Betweens: Right Here, to a look into the psyche of John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, the outspoken Sex Pistol punk icon, in The Public Image is Rotten. With talks about music films and rocking parties, music lovers can take the Festival experience to the next level.

THE BOX SET

Also screening first at the Festival are the first two episodes of Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell’s highly anticipated second series of Cleverman returning with its stellar cast: Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Golden Globe nominee Frances O’Connor (The Missing), Hunter Page-Lochard (The Sapphires), and Rob Collins (The Lion King on stage).

Cleverman’s innovative blend of mythology, futuristic thrills and impressive creatures and effects created by world-renowned Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar) will be seen first by Festival-goers before screening on ABC TV.

ESSENTIAL KUROSAWA presented by The Japan Foundation

The Sydney Film Festival’s retrospective program Essential Kurosawa: Selected by David Stratton, gives audiences a chance to see 10 films by the great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa – from Rashomon (1950) to Ran (1985) – with specially imported 35mm prints courtesy of The Japan Foundation and Toho Co. Ltd.

RESTORATIONS

Five Restorations will give audiences the opportunity to see other cinema classics the way they were intended.

Three Australian films will screen: The Year My Voice Broke (1987) by director John Duigan starring Noah Taylor and Ben Mendelsohn, psychological drama The Well (1997), starring Pamela Rabe and Miranda Otto, and Pat Fiske’s outstanding 1985 documentary on a NSW union’s past endeavours to preserve Sydney’s parks, neighbourhoods and historical buildings in Rocking the Foundations (1985).

Australian filmmakers Pat Fiske, John Duigan, Samantha Lang and producer Sandra Levy, will present their films at the Festival.

Two international masterpieces restored to be screened at the Festival include: a 20th anniversary screening of minimalist masterpiece Taste of Cherry (1997) by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, together with companion piece: 76 Minutes and 15 Seconds with Abbas Kiarostami (2016), crafted by his friend and collaborator, photographer Seifollah Samadian; and tour de force of erotic cinema, in a new restoration which premieres in Cannes this year, Belle de Jour (1967) starring Catherine Deneuve.

PUNK

Punk fans can get excited by the Festival’s homage to the genre with Smash it Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Punk Rock 1977-2017 curated by programmer Richard Kuipers.

Five explosive films will screen: deliriously demented punk rock fairytale Desperate Living (1977) from the ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters, satirical fantasy Jubilee (1978), about England on the brink of punk-fuelled destruction, legendary documentary into the LA punk rock scene circa 1980, The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), Julien Temple’s classic 1980 mockumentary The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle (1980) about the rise and disintegration of the Sex Pistols, and The Sex Pistols tell their own story in the same filmmaker’s reply 20 years later in The Filth and The Fury (2000).

A talk on the punk phenomena in Australia – Smash it Up: A Queen’s Birthday Conversation – and Queen’s birthday bash/party featuring Australian band Nancy Vandal, will provide a well-rounded education on the birth of punk.

FEMINISM & FILM

The Sydney women’s movement of the 1970s and ’80s is celebrated under the banner Feminism & Film: Sydney Women Filmmakers, 1970s & ’80s in three showcases: Personal & Political, Disruptive & Deconstruction, and Culture & Collaboration. Nine films (five features and four shorts) made during the era will be screened.

Curated by Guest Programmer Susan Charlton, a selection of bold, stirring, and witty films such as:  For Love or Money: A History of Women and Work in Australia (1983), a high point of feminist documentary filmmaking; the formally rigorous, visually lush study of gender and possession, A Song of Ceylon (1985); and two ground-breaking Indigenous documentaries: My Survival as an Aboriginal (1979), and Two Laws (1981); will revive the diverse influences and intentions of the women who made the films.

Women filmmakers from all three Feminism & Film programs will take part in Suffragette City: Sydney, Feminism & Film Discussion Panel, with curator Charlton about Sydney in the 1970s and ‘80s and feminism/s and filmmaking – both then and now.

FOCUS ON CANADA

The Festival in partnership with the Government of Canada presents Focus on Canada: to celebrate its 150th anniversary of Confederation.  The Festival will be screening a strong selection of seven Canadian films representing the themes for the anniversary: diversity, inclusion, reconciliation, environment and youth.

The spotlight is firmly on Canada with First Nation films: Maliglutit, a thrilling Arctic version of John Ford’s classic western The Searchers; Angry Inuk, a look at the anti-sealing movement’s adverse impact on Inuit communities; RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a stomping tribute to Native American musicians. Also screening: Maudie starring Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins about painter Maud Lewis; Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming; The Sun at Midnight, and Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves, alongside a selection of short films.

Four Canadian filmmakers will present the screening of their films: director-animator Ann Marie Fleming (Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming), director Simon Lavoie (Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves), director Kirsten Carthew (The Sun at Midnight), and producer Christina Fon (RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World) together with Apache musician Steve Salas – named one of the world’s top 50 guitarists of all time.

 FREAK ME OUT

Sydney Film Festival’s weird, wonderful and completely whacked-out Freak Me Out program, curated by Richard Kuipers, returns with seven twisted films to Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Newtown; and the Skyline Drive In Blacktown.

Film fans with a taste for the bizarre will be challenged by full-tilt assaults from evil board game thriller Game of Death, killer-virus-bloodbath-meets-corporate-satire Mayhem, a SXSW smash hit with rising Australian actor Samara Weaving starring alongside The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun (who also appears in Closing Film Okja), and Better Watch Out with Australian stars Levi Miller, Ben Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge.

Freak Me Out will also screen its first-ever documentary: Spookers, a look inside the lives of the actors who play killer clowns and zombie brides at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest ‘scream park’, with the New Zealand-based filmmaker Florian Habicht attending the Festival to present his film.

Cult classic Oscar-winning horror comedy An American Werewolf in London, is also playing under the full moon at the Skyline Drive In.

FIRST NATIONS

The Festival together with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department continues support for First Nation storytelling.  The First Nations program will showcase important films by First Nation filmmakers from across Australia and around the world.

Australian First Nation films to screen are: Warwick Thornton’s Opening Night film and Official Competition contender We Don’t Need a Map, two episodes of Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell’s highly anticipated second series of Cleverman, Tyson Mowarin documentary about the battle to preserve Australia’s 40,000-year-old cultural heritage in the Pilbara in Connection to Country, and Erica Glynn’s story of adult Aboriginal students learning to read and write for the first time in In My Own Words.

Four short films and a retrospective screening of two ground-breaking Australian documentaries: Essie Coffey’s My Survival as an Aboriginal, considered to be the first documentary directed by an Australian Indigenous woman; and the 1981 documentary, Two Laws, made by the Borroloola Aboriginal Community, will also screen.  As well as two remarkable Canadian First Nations from Focus on Canada: Angry Inuk and Maliglutit.

GOURMET CINEMA

Gourmet Cinema fans can take a culinary and cultural exploration of the barbecue traditions across the globe in Barbecue, by Adelaide filmmaking duo Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker.

Screenings will be paired with a six-course gastronomic journey to locations explored in the film at The Meat & Wine Co or an exotic South American BBQ at Casula Powerhouse’s Bellbird following a screening at Dendy Opera Quays or Casula Powerhouse; film-only options are also available.

The Festival has once again teamed up with 12 of Sydney’s favourite restaurants in the CBD, Cremorne, Newtown and Randwick, to provide Dining Delights: special gourmet experiences throughout 12 Festival days and nights.

THE HUB

The Festival Hub at Town Hall is a 360 degree Festival experience, with filmmaker talks, panels, parties, contemporary art, and now an forward-looking daily virtual reality (VR) program, curated by the brilliant VR collective BADFAITH.

Open to the public all nights, and select days from 8-18 June, The Hub is also a pop up bar, with all events FREE except the VR sessions.  Discount tickets to Festival films ($10) can also be snapped up to selected screenings at the Hub Box Office daily.

Sydney Contemporary’s Barry Keldoulis has also curated the works of four painters:  Sam Holt, Jess MacNeil, Rochelle Haley and Ron Adams, to juxtapose the concept of space, using an age-old medium against the backdrop of VR: art’s most recent incarnations.

Foxtel Movies Photobooth will be back in action for Festival snaps.

VIRTUAL REALITY AT THE HUB

Artist Shaun Gladwell and producer Leo Faber from edgy VR content collective BADFAITH have curated a VR program of 13 unflinchingly raw and highly immersive VR experiences across four packages for Sydney Film Festival fans looking for next level engagement.  Playful, imaginative and intimate, these works will open minds and expand imaginations with Japanese robots, dance battles on the streets of Sydney, an Antarctic dive, a trip around the earth, and the story of evolution itself.

International and national premieres from the world’s top visual artists and directors including the hit of Sundance, Orbital Vanitas, and the first feature narrative VR, Miyubi, from Canada will transport audiences to the cutting edge of this new medium.

All VR experiences are 15+ and cost $19.90 per person, except Life of Us which costs $19.90 for two people.

VR curators Shaun Gladwell and Leo Faber will also talk about this cutting edge new medium.

TALKS

The heart and soul of the Festival are the filmmakers and guests whose wide range of knowledge, skills, talents and points of view, come together create films which open a window into other worlds and experiences.

The FREE Festival Talks, create a space for audiences, filmmakers and industry professionals to progress a dialogue about the important topics and issues of the year, addressed in Festival films.

FREE In Conversations at the Festival Hub

Together with Vivid Ideas, part of the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, Sydney Film Festival presents five talks and panels.

Hollywood based Emmy-winning Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, will discuss his extraordinary career and his latest film Una, in Competition for the Sydney Film Prize.

Activist and Oscar-winning actor Vanessa Redgrave, will join Margaret Pomeranz following the screening of her directorial debut – at 80 years of age – of her documentary Sea Sorrow, about the global refugee crisis.

Cannes-winning Indigenous director Warwick Thornton will join the conversation with Sandy George following the screening of his Official Competition contender We Don’t Need a Map.  The talk will further the themes in his film, which investigates Australia’s relationship with the Southern Cross from astronomical, Indigenous and colonial history to the present day.

Emerging women directors and industry trailblazers from Europe join Europe! Voices of Women in Film, the Festival’s program of 10 new feature films from vital European women filmmakers, and topical subjects such as the industry gender gap.

Virtual reality pioneers Shaun Gladwell and Leo Faber will talk experience engineering, creativity and their ground-breaking new collective BADFAITH, at the Hub.  A mash-up of art, film and experimental experiences, this is a chance to find out what is at the cutting edge of the new medium.

FREE Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture

David Stratton, former director of the Sydney Film Festival (1966 – 1983), film critic and author, will be in conversation with one of Australia’s most respected actors, David Wenham, for the Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture, at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Marrickville-born star will talk about his incredible career, from his theatre heritage to 1998 screen breakthrough in The Boys and later SeaChange, to international stardom in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Lion. Wenham will also discuss his new incarnation behind the behind the camera, making his directorial debut as a part of the epic The Turning, and his latest directorial outing Ellipsis premiering this year’s Festival.

FREE After the Movie Discussions in the Treasury Room

The Festival has arranged for extended Q&As to take place with visiting directors after highly topical films have screened, beginning with Dutch co-director Arash Kamali Sarvestani, in conjunction with The Refugee Advice and Casework Service.

Kamali Sarvestani’s extraordinary project:  Chauka Please Tell Us the Time (also screening at ACMI), documents the day to day life of detainees on Manus Island from footage captured secretly on a mobile phone by co-creator Iranian-Kurdish journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani.

Producer Hébert Peck, will discuss his Oscar-nominated cine-essay on race in America (I Am Not Your Negro) narrated by Samuel L Jackson, with Documentary Australia Foundation’s Mitzi Goldman.

New Zealand filmmaker Gaylene Preston will discuss her year-long project (My Year with Helen) about former NZ Prime Minister and UN Secretary-General candidate Helen Clarke; and Tusi Tamasese, director of One Thousand Ropes and of the first-ever Samoan feature (The Orator, 2011), will talk about his approach to storytelling with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Garry Maddox.

FREE Talking Movies in the Treasury Room

The Australian filmmakers of Australia Day and Ali’s Wedding discuss the realities of multiculturalism in Australian cinema in ‘Diversity on Australian Screens’

Australian filmmakers behind That’s Not Me and OtherLife will provide an insiders’ guide to low budget filmmaking in ‘No Budget? No Worries’.

Author of new book Miller and Max: George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend, Luke Buckmaster will tell everything there is to know about: ‘Things You Never Knew About Mad Max’.

Punk phenomena in Australia gets a revival in ‘Smash It Up: A Queen’s Birthday Conversation’ after Derek Jarman’s iconoclastic genre-buster Jubilee.

And Sydney Film Festival Animation programmer Malcolm Turner has ‘An Animated Conversation’ with an icon: Ann Marie Fleming, the world-renowned animator of Window Horses.

FREE PARTIES AT THE HUB

To celebrate the Australian premiere of Kate Hickey’s Roller Dreams documentary about California’s skate-dance scene, the Festival will bring the Venice Beach vibes to The Hub with the Roller Boogie Party featuring Alex Dimitriades (aka the Boogie Monster) and Soul-of-Sydney DJ Phil Toke, complete with skate-dancers (Sunday 11 June 9:00pm).

A crash and burn punk party featuring Australian band Nancy Vandal alongside former roadie for The Damned, DJ Richard Kuipers, will mark the Queen’s birthday (Monday 12 June 9:00pm), following the screening of Derek Jarman’s 1978 cult classic Jubilee.

And Australian indie-icons The Go-Betweens will be venerated in a party that celebrates their indelible music, with DJs covering everything from enduring early singles to the band’s final ARIA-winning album Oceans Apart (Thursday 15 June 9:00pm).

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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