The much anticipated full program for this year's Sydney Film Festival, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, has just been announced. The 190-film program looks filled with wonderful treasures for all film lovers. At first glance, some highlights, besides the ones that I have mentioned previously
, include Richard Linklater's Before
trilogy: Before Sunrise
, Before Sunset
and Before Midnight
, Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives
and David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche
. But it will seriously take me a good couple of days to study, research and digest everything that is on offer. So I will now be locking myself in my room with nothing but the program and some Tim Tams, and in the hopefully not too distant future, I will be back sharing with you my first thoughts about this year's Sydney Film Festival.
In the mean time, do check out what the Festival organizers have said in their official announcement:
The 60th Sydney Film Festival program was officially launched today by NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and Minister for the Arts, The Hon. George Souris.
"The New South Wales Government, through Screen NSW and Destination NSW, is proud to support Sydney Film Festival, a much-loved part of the city's arts and events calendar. Sydney Film Festival continues to provide filmmakers a wonderful opportunity to showcase their work, as well as boosting the State's economy," Minister Souris said.
SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, "Opening with the World Premiere of a landmark Australian film, Ivan Sen's Mystery Road, is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how far both the festival and the Australian film industry have come since 1954. Confident, mature, word-class and compelling - these are words that describe both this wonderful film and this extraordinary festival.
"Our 2013 program has more screenings of more films from more countries in more venues than even our record-breaking 2012 festival. We cover all tastes in film, with the peak best represented by our Official Competition films, made by some exciting new talents as well as masters of the form. Beyond the competition, feature and documentary programs, the 60th Sydney Film Festival features a focus on Austrian cinema, the best of British Noir, a good splattering of horror and some downright weird works that are bound to become future cult classics."
This year SFF is proud to announce the 2013 festival is expanding its program, audience reach and accessibility to Sydneysiders. 38,000 additional seats will go on sale for festivalgoers to experience the best films from across Australia and around the world. Sydney's North Shore residents can now more easily share the excitement with the addition of 23 screenings at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne.
The program features 190 titles (19 world premieres, 5 international premieres, and 122 Australian premieres) from 55 countries at the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, the new screening location at the Hayden Orpheum Cremorne and Art Gallery of NSW. The Apple Store Sydney hosts a selection of free public talks; Grasshopper continues as the official festival lounge, open late for drinks and dinner; and SFFTV@Martin Place returns with a free giant outdoor screen showing a selection of SFF highlights plus fascinating shorts from Film Australia collection at the National Film and Sound Archive.
A few minutes' walk from the Festival's major venues, the Sydney Film Festival Hub at Lower Town Hall will return for a second year, celebrating the theme of Cinema, Reconstructed. Now open until midnight, the Hub offers an expanded line-up of FREE exhibitions, inspiring talks and panels, parties, performances, DJs and screenings throughout the Festival. It is the only place to buy $10 discount tickets for selected screenings, or take part in the new Film Club, daily from 5pm to 6pm, to share your festival experiences.
For the first time ever SFF screens films from Angola (Death Metal Angola, screening in our Sounds on Screen program); Bangladesh (Television, directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and awarded a Muhr AsiaAfrica special mention at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival); North Korea (Comrade Kim Goes Flying); Malawi (William and the Windmill) winner of the Grand Jury Award for Documentary at SXSW; and Saudi Arabia (Wadjda directed by Saudi Arabia's first-ever female filmmaker).
Among the 19 World Premieres at this year's festival are two major Australian feature productions. Opening Night's Mystery Road is an Outback-set murder mystery written, directed and edited by Ivan Sven (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah) and starring Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, Ryan Kwanten, Damian Walshe-Howling, Tasma Walton, Zoe Carides and Samara Weaving. Then we welcome the psychological drama Nerve, a Sydney-based production directed by Sebastien Guy, starring a stellar cast of well-known and upcoming Australian actors including Gary Sweet, Christian Clark, Georgina Haig, Craig Hall, Andrea Demetriades, Denise Roberts and Cameron Daddo.
Eight new documentaries and one important restoration will also make their World Premieres at the festival including:
· The World Premiere of William Yang: My Generation, screening in partnership with ABC TV Arts and Vivid Ideas. Yang's trademark candid narration leads us through the wildly creative and decadent era of Sydney in the '70s and '80s, capturing personalities such as Brett Whiteley, Patrick White, Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee.
· In collaboration with Vivid LIVE, SFF will screen The Sunnyboy, which follows Australian musician Jeremy Oxley's 30-year struggle with schizophrenia as he faces up to returning to the stage with his band The Sunnyboys. The screening concludes with the band playing a live gig in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
· Award-winning Australian photographer Murray Frederick's (Salt) journey to capture some of the most elusive and beautiful sights of Greenland's icecaps will captivate you in Nothing on Earth.
· Renowned filmmaker and artist George Gittoes is at the centre of Love City Jalalabad, which charts his journey against all odds to create an artists' collective in western Afghanistan, and to produce films there for the local community with an international cast and crew.
· Big Name No Blanket examines the legacy of Indigenous Australian music legend George Rrurrambu Burarrawanga - the frontman of the groundbreaking Warumpi Band.
· The Unlikely Pilgrims, directed by Kristen Mallyon and John Cherry, follows a group of recovering addicts and a drug counsellor from a New South Wales rehab centre along their journey on the Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrims' trail through northern Spain.
· The Crossing, directed by Julian Harvey, follows two young Australians, Clark Carter and Chris Bray, as they attempt the difficult crossing of a remote island in the Arctic.
· Buckskin is directed by Indigenous filmmaker Dylan McDonald. It follows Jack Buckskin's mission to renew a once-extinct language and inspire a new generation to connect with the land and culture of his ancestors.
The digital restoration of the groundbreaking 1981 film Wrong Side of the Road, directed by Ned Lander, is based on the real lives of seminal Australian bands Us Mob and No Fixed Address, and is presented in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. It returns an important story to our cultural history - looking and sounding even better than it did when it was released 30 years ago.