May 9, 2013
Nineteen world premieres, 122 Australian premieres, 190 films from 55 countries, 79 features, 51 documentaries, 41 short films: these are the numbers Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley reeled off on Wednesday at the launch of the Festival’s 2013 program.
“You think that after screening a phenomenal 8580 films over the last 59 years there would be no cinematic territory left uncharted,” says Moodley. “But that turns out to be untrue.”
For the first time films from Angola, Bangladesh, North Korea, Malawi and Saudi Arabia will feature in the program.
“These films say a great deal about the world we live in,” says Moodley, “and they say it in innovate and daring ways.”Wadjda, for example, is the first-ever feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. Made by Haifaa Al-Mansour, a graduate of the University of Sydney, it looks at the role of women in Saudi society through the story of a rebellious 11-year-old girl who enters a Qurʼan-reading contest at her school, planning to use the prize money to buy herself a bicycle (an activity that was banned, until very recently, to women in Saudi Arabia).
There is also a touch of Hollywood in the form of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas, which premieres next week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in France.
Only God Forgives joins Sven’s Mystery Road and Wadjda in the Main Competition. Hugo Weaving, who stars in Mystery Road alongside Aaron Pedersen, will head the jury overseeing the $60,000 Sydney Film Prize.
Moodley says the program represents the state of world cinema today, but it is clear that in its 60th year the Festival remains committed to profiling local filmmakers.
“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,” says Moodley.
A number of new Australian documentaries will make their world premiere. William Yang: My Generation and Nothing on Earth (both produced in association with ABC TV Arts), The Sunny Boy and Big Name No Blanket are all in the running for the Documentary Prize at this year’s festival.
Other highlights include the Screen: Black series, a showcase of the best in Indigenous filmmaking, and The Box Set which puts TV drama from Japan (Penance, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa) and Poland (Burning Bush, directed by Agnieszka Holland) up on the big screen.
Sydney Film Festival runs from June 5-16 at seven venues around Sydney.
Borgman (Dir Alex Van Warmerdam, Netherlands)
Child’s Pose (Dir Calin Peter Netzer, Romania)
For Those In Peril (Dir Paul Wright, UK)
Grigris (Dir Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France)
Monsoon Shootout (Dir Amit Kumar, India/UK)
Oh Boy (Dir Jan Ole Gerster, Germany)
Only God Forgives (Dir Nicolas Winding Refn, France/Denmark)
Stories We Tell (Dir Sarah Polley, Canada)
The Act Of Killing (Dir Joshua Oppenheimer, co-directors Christine Cynn, anonymous, Denmark/Norway/UK)
The Broken Circle Breakdown, (Dir Felix Van Groeningen, Belgium/Netherlands)
The Rocket (Dir Kim Mordaunt, Australia)
Wadja (Dir Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia/Germany)
Audrey Of The Alps, (Dir Grace McKenzie)
Big Name No Blanket (Dir Steven McGregor)
Buckskin (Dir Dylan McDonald +)
The Crossing (Dir Julian Harvey)
Love City Jalalabad (Dir George Gittoes)
Miss Nikki And The Tiger Girls, (Dir Juliet Lamont)
Nothing On Earth, (Dir Michael Angus)
Red Obsession, (Dirs David Roach and Warwick Ross)
The Sunnyboy, (Dir Kaye Harrison)
The Unlikely Pilgrims, (Dir Kirsten Mallyon and Jon Cherry)