Sydney Film Festival 2011 - A Preview

Contributing Writer; Sydney, Australia (@HugoOzman)
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Sydney Film Festival 2011 -  A Preview

Sydney Film Festival 2011The 2011 Sydney Film Festival in Australia will open on the 8th June and run over 12 days. With a program that encompasses 161 titles in 47 languages from 42 countries, this year's SFF promises to be 'a rousing chorus of unfettered vision, enquiry and creativity'.

The Opening Night film will be Joe Wright's espionage thriller HANNA starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana; and the Closing Night film will be Mike Mill's romantic comedy BEGINNERS starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. Special guests at the Festival will include Jack Black, Lucy Liu, director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who will all be there to introduce the Australian premiere of Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D; while Cate Blanchett will be the Opening Night guest.  


Competing for the Sydney Film Prize, worth 60,000 Australian dollars, are the following 12 films that will be judged by a jury led by Chen Kaige (FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE, TOGETHER):

• Direct from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, two Australian films will have their Australian premieres at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival: SLEEPING BEAUTY (Official Competition at Cannes) and Ivan Sen's TOOMELAH (Un Certain Regard at Cannes)

• Also direct from screenings at Cannes are THE TREE OF LIFE, starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, directed by Terrence Malick (Official Competition at Cannes) and Jeff Nichols' TAKE SHELTER, starring Academy Award® Nominee Michael Shannon (Critics' Week at Cannes)

• Two award-winners from Berlin Film Festival will also compete: Asghar Farhadi's A SEPARATION which won Best Film and both Best Acting awards for its ensemble cast and Joshua Marston's THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD which won Best Screenplay.

• Bold and inventive films from Spain - Fernando León de Aranoa's AMADOR; Russia - Alexander Zeldovich's TARGET and Egypt - Mohamed Diab's CAIRO 678 are also having their Australian Premieres in the Official Competition selection.

• Completing the line-up are the three previously announced films - ATTENBERG by Athina Rachel Tsangari; THE FUTURE by Miranda July and NORWEGIAN WOOD directed by Tran Anh Hung.


The Sydney Film Festival uses 'Pathways', an innovative way of dividing the films into categories that would help audiences answer the question 'What sort of film do I feel like seeing?' The Pathways include:

Gear up for some high-octane action or fuel the fires of controversy with:
• 13 ASSASSINS (Miike Takashi, Japan)
• CIRKUS COLUMBIA (Danis Tanović, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
• ELITE SQUAD: THE ENEMY WITHIN (José Padilha, Brazil)
• EVEN THE RAIN (Icíar Bollaín; Spain, France, Mexico)
• SENNA (Asif Kapadia, UK)
• TABLOID (Errol Morris, USA)

Art from the heart of cinema's foremost emotional explorers, sometimes sweet and often passionate:
• 33 POSTCARDS (Pauline Chan; Australia, China)
• ALL ABOUT LOVE (Ann Hui, Hong Kong)
• THE BEAVER (Jodie Foster, USA)
• BLACK & WHITE & SEX (John Winter, Australia)
• THE GOOD LIFE (Eva Mulvad, Denmark)
• JANE EYRE (Cary Joji Fukunaga, UK)
• MEDIANERAS (Gustavo Taretto; Argentina, Germany, Spain)
• OLD CATS (Sebastián Silva and Pedro Peirano, Chile)
• PROJECT NIM (James Marsh, USA)
• SACRIFICE (Chen Kaige, China)
• THE SALT OF LIFE (Gianni di Gregorio, Italy)
• TERRI (Azazel Jacobs, USA)
• THREE (Tom Tykwer, Germany)
• TOMBOY (Céline Sciamma, France)

Be amused, amazed and sometimes appalled at what's so funny:
• ANIMALS DISTRACT ME (Isabella Rossellini, USA)
• CEDAR RAPIDS (Miguel Arteta, USA)
• EXPORTING RAYMOND (Phil Rosenthal, USA, Russia)
• THE GUARD (John Michael McDonagh, Ireland)
• HAPPY, HAPPY (Anne Sewitzsky, Norway)
• SURVIVING LIFE (Jan Švankmajer; Czech Republic, Slovakia)
• THE TRIP (Michael Winterbottom, UK)
• TOP FLOOR LEFT WING (Angelo Cianci, France)
• WIN WIN (Tom McCarthy, USA)

You no longer have to wait until midnight for a serious fright:
• CORRIDOR (Johan Lundborg and Johan Storm, Sweden)
• END OF ANIMAL (Jo Sung-hee, South Korea)
• HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (Jason Eisener; Canada, USA)
• KILL LIST (Ben Wheatley, UK)
• MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD (Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura and Tak Sakaguchi, Japan)
• SEPTIEN (Michael Tully, USA)
• STAKE LAND (Jim Mickle, USA)
• THE TROLL HUNTER (André Øvredal, Norway)
• TUCKER &DALE VS EVIL. (Eli Craig, Canada)

The journeys are endless and they start right here:
• BOXING GYM (Frederick Wiseman, USA)
• HERE (Braden King, USA)
• HOW TO START YOUR OWN COUNTRY (Jody Shapiro, Canada)
• I WISH I KNEW (Jia Zhangke, China, The Netherlands)
• MEEK'S CUTOFF (Kelly Reichardt, USA)
• MY REINCARNATION (Jennifer Fox; USA, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland)
• POSITION AMONG THE STARS (Leonard Retel Helmrich, Netherlands)
• LE QUATTRO VOLTE (Michelangelo Frammartino; Italy, Germany, Switzerland)
• SILENT SOULS (Alexei Fedorchenko, Russia)
• SLEEPING SICKNESS (Ulrich Köhler; France, Germany, Netherlands)

Test your emotional boundaries and find the edge where the personal and the political are contested:
• THE ARBOR (Clio Barnard, UK)
• ARMADILLO (Janus Metz, Denmark)
• BLACK VENUS (Abdellatif Kechiche, France)
• BROWNIAN MOVEMENT (Nanouk Leopold; Netherlands, Germany, Belgium)
• THE DITCH (Wang Bing; Hong Kong, France, Belgium)
• HAIL (Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Australia)
• HOW TO DIE IN OREGON (Peter D Richardson, USA)
• KHODORKOVSKY (Cyril Tuschi, Germany)
• LIFE, ABOVE ALL (Oliver Schmitz; South Africa, Germany)
• POST MORTEM (Pablo Larraín; Chile, Mexico, Germany)
• THIRD STAR (Hattie Dalton, UK)
• THE TURIN HORSE (Béla Tarr; Hungary, France, Switzerland, Germany)
• TYRANNOSAUR (Paddy Considine, UK)

It definitely looks like a great program to me, and I am really looking forward to attending the Festival. I'll be bringing you regular film news and reviews from the SFF over the coming weeks. So please keep an eye out for them, and if the line-up contains any of your favourites, or there is something you think I should absolutely avoid, be sure to let me know through the Comments section!

Embedded below is the official trailer for the 2011 Sydney Film Festival.

Sydney Film Festival Official Website



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