Sydney Film Festival is inviting Sydneysiders to get off their couch and experience the real deal, from 3-14 June 2009.
Today the festival launched the official 2009 program that will showcase some of the world’s most dynamic and inspiring films. From 3–14 June, the festival program will include nine World premieres, three International and 86 Australian premieres along with a stunning array of gala screenings at Sydney’s majestic State Theatre.
In a special announcement Sydney Film Festival is thrilled to confirm some of the international guests making an appearance at the festival. Teri Hatcher will be at the Australian premiere of Henry Selick’s Coraline on Wednesday 10 June. Director John Woo will walk the red carpet for the Australian premiere of his film Red Cliff on Tuesday June 9.
Opening Night Gala
The 2009 Sydney Film Festival kicks off with Looking for Eric on Wednesday 3 June, direct from Competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. Ken Loach switches between side-splitting humour, dreamy romanticism and gritty urban thriller in this life-affirming film about devoted football fan Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) who unexpectedly receives a little life-coaching from real-life soccer star Eric Cantona (playing himself).
The second year of SFF’s Official Competition brings another selection of courageous, audacious and cutting-edge cinema to Sydneysiders. The 12 films in this year’s line-up include three films direct from the 62nd Cannes Film Festival (Altiplano, Face and Opening Night film Looking for Eric) and three Australian films (Beautiful Kate, Disgrace and Missing Water). Two films are World premieres, one is an International premiere and nine will have their Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. Supported by the Events NSW, the winning film receives a $60,000 cash prize (the largest cash award for film in Australia) generously provided by SFF Sponsor Hunter Hall Investment Management.
World Premieres: Rachel Ward’s Beautiful Kate and Khoa Do’s Missing Water.
International Premiere: Tsai Ming-liang’s Face
Australian Premieres: Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth’s Antiplano, Nicholas Winding Refn’s Bronson, Henry Selick’s Coraline, Steve Jacobs’ Disgrace, Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric, Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delépine’s Louise-Michel, Sebastián Silva’s The Maid and Alexey German Jr’s Paper Soldier.
After 12 days of glamour, excitement and debate, the festival will host its Closing Night Gala on Sunday 14 June with the Australian Premiere of An Education, directed by Lone Scherfig (Italian For Beginners, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself) from a sparkling script by Nick Hornby and featuring Carey Mulligan in a break-out performance which caused Variety to comment ‘you could almost swear you’re watching Audrey Hepburn…’. The Closing Night screening will be preceded by the highly anticipated announcement of the Official Competition winner as well as the presentation of The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films and the newly introduced 2009 FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize.
FOXTEL Australian Documentary Competition
First-time filmmakers and established documentarians are among the ten selected finalists to be shortlisted for the inaugural FOXTEL Australian
Shortlisted films: Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Bastardy and Cicada, Bentley Dean and Martin Butler’s Contact, Nicky Crowther’s A Fortunate Soldier…, Safina Uberoi’s A Good Man, Brian McKenzie’s Meet me at the Mango Tree, David Bradbury’s My Asian Heart, Michael Angus & Murray Fredericks’ Salt, Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw’s Stolen, Megan Doneman’s Yes Madam, Sir.
The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films
Sydney Film Festival today announced the finalists of the 2009 Dendy
Awards for Australian Short Films.
Shortlisted films, Animation: Eddie White & Ari Gibson’s The Cat Piano; Cris Jones’ The Funk; Michael Hill’s The Not-So-Great Eugene Green.
Shortlisted films, Live Action: Michael Latham’s Boxer; David S Vadiveloo’s Burn; Rene Hernandez’s The Ground Beneath; Luke Dolan’s Miracle Fish; Alexandra Schepisi’s One Night; Benjamin Zaugg’s The Room; Dominic Allen’s Two Men.
The Showtime Audience Awards
All feature length films screening at the Sydney Film Festival are eligible for the Showtime Audience Awards. Audience members will be handed voting slips upon leaving the auditoria and will be invited to rate the films they’ve seen
Films screening for the first time in the world include Official Competition titles Beautiful Kate (Rachel Ward’s directorial feature debut); and Missing Water (directed by 2005 Young Australian of the Year, Khoa Do) along with Cedar Boys by first time feature director Serhat Caradee, starring Les Chantery and Rachael Taylor and Prime Mover by David Caesar (Dirty Deeds, Mullet) starring Emily Barclay and Michael Dorman. Plus Australian documentaries Shadow Play about famed rock music photographer/director Anton Corbijn (Control); Contact, an important indigenous Australian story of the Martu people and their historical first encounter with ‘whitefellas’ in 1964; a political thriller set in Algeria (Stolen); and the latest from David Bradbury (My Asian Heart) and Brian McKenzie (Meet me at the Mango Tree).
Great Filmmakers, Hot Tickets and Award Winners
This year’s festival brings a terrific line-up of cinema from around the globe including Australian premieres of highly anticipated films by renowned filmmakers: John Woo’s Red Cliff; Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum; Stephen Frears’ Cheri; Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard; Jerzy Skolimowski’s Four Nights with Anna, Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, Abbas Kiarostami’s Shirin and Hirokozu Kore-eda’s Still Walking.
Hot ticket films include Australian premieres of uproarious British comedy In the Loop; Oscar Hirschbiegel’s (Downfall) intense Irish drama Five Minutes from Heaven, starring Liam Neeson; Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, starring Robin Wright Penn and the first American film by Australian director Rowan Woods’ (The Boys, Little Fish) Winged Creatures, starring Guy Pearce and Forest Whitaker.
Major award winners include Iranian drama About Elly (Silver Bear, Best Director Asghar Farhadi, Berlin 2009, Best Narrative Feature, Tribeca 2009); Steven Soderberg’s Che Parts 1 & 2 (Best Actor, Benicio Del Toro, Cannes 2008); German feature Everyone Else (Silver Bear, Best Director, Maren Ade and Best Actress, Birgit Minichmayr, Berlin 2009) and Mexican drama Parque Via (Golden Leopard, Enrique Rivero, Locarno FF 2008) along with Everlasting Moments (Nominated Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes).
Australian Feature Films
The first Australia/Israel co-production Tatia Rosenthal’s animated feature $9.99 (voices include Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia) and Andrew Lancaster’s Accidents Happen (starring Geena Davis) will have their Australian premieres at the festival which will also screen Glendyn Ivin’s Last Ride (featuring SFF Patron Hugo Weaving), Jonathan auf der Heide’s Van Diemen’s Land along with the features detailed above (Beautiful Kate, Cedar Boys, Disgrace, Missing Water, Prime Mover) and Aussie classic Wake in Fright (see below).
Retrospective: Girls 24/7
From desperate housewives and suffering celebrities to rampaging teenage anarchists, the girls are front and centre in this selection of films by women directors from the 60s and 70s. Films include new 35mm prints of Angès Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7, and Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles as well as rare screenings of Joan Littlewood’s Sparrows Can’t Sing and Barbara Loden’s Wanda. Accompanying the retrospective is the Australian premiere of 80-year-old French director Angès Varda’s (Vagabond, The Gleaners and I) memoir The Beaches of Agnès.
Artfully restored classics take centre stage in the restoration program. Direct from its World Premiere at Cannes in the Classic program, the 1971 Australian masterpiece Wake in Fright will screen in all its glory followed by Q&A with director Ted Kotcheff.
The 65th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 is marked with a screening of Overlord, an extraordinary film from 1975 that combines archival images of this historical landing with a fictional story about a young soldier, followed by Q&A with director Stuart Cooper. And a very special screening of Bob Fosse and Liza Minnelli’s 1972 history-making collaboration Liza with a Z (made the year they won Oscars for Cabaret) followed by a live satellite Q&A cross with the legendary Ms Minnelli.
Carbon footprints, melting icecaps and ecological disasters – the hot-button issue of the century is explored in this focus on sustainability. Moving from the broader politics of An Inconvenient Truth, this selection celebrates personal action and the steps individuals can take to make a difference. No Impact Man documents the journey of a Manhattan family’s one year experiment in zero impact, carbon-free living; Big River Man follows Slovenian Martin Strel who swims the entire length of the Amazon to highlight pollution in the world; The Cove investigates the dolphin capture trade in a small Japanese village; Crude examines the action indigenous
Amazonians initiate in what becomes a 13 year legal battle with petro-chemical giant Chevron; The Burning Season looks at Australian entrepreneur Dorjee Sun and his carbon credit scheme that could extinguish the Indonesian ‘burning season” and Food Inc. is an eye-popping documentary that reveals the truth about what we are eating.
The much loved Kids’ Films strand is back to entertain and delight young children. In addition to 3D Coraline screening in Official Competition, don’t miss the charming The Fox and Child narrated by Kate Winslet; the fun-loving, upbeat Sunshine Barry and The Disco Worm and the beautifully animated Irish adventure Brendan and the Secret of the Kells.
Continuing the festival’s commitment to screening films about disability, Accessible Cinema showcases entertaining and moving films such as Blind Loves, winner of Cannes CICAE Award, and Australian premiere of the much-talked about The Horse Boy (previously known as Over The Hills and Far Away) that addresses living with a disability in new and meaningful ways. See also Safina Uberoi’s A Good Man, a contender for the Australian Documentary Prize and short films Water (Australia) and My Brother Lives on the Moon (France).
Sounds on Screen
If this were a concert, you’d be queuing on the streets at dawn! Jam with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, The White Stripes’ Jack White and U2’s The Edge in the Australian premiere of It Might Get Loud, travel to the heart of Youssou Ndour’s Grammy Award winning ‘Egypt’, get on down with Soul Power and marvel at the contradictions in the life of music-maestro and now convicted murderer Phil Spector.
Silent Film Presentation
King Vidor’s 1925 masterpiece The Big Parade was hailed as the first realistic war drama and will screen in a restored print at The State Theatre accompanied live score by classical pianist Mauro Colombis.
Glam it up with fashion doyens Anna Wintour (Editor) and Grace Coddington (Creative Director) in the fascinating behind-the-scenes expose of American Vogue in The September Issue; be charmed by the great haute couturier in Valentino: the Last Emperor (Australian premiere) or be dazzled by Christian Lacroix’s extraordinary costumes for Tsai Ming-liang’s Official Competition entry Face.
In the world of documentaries, the festival has every angle covered with thought provoking themes, powerful human stories and entertaining romps. See the controversial (Roman Polanski and Phil Spector), the award-winners (Burma VJ, We Live in Public) and the heart-breakers (Old Partner, Rough Aunties). Go on a fabulous journey (Unmistaken Child, The Horse Boy) or ponder the meaning of it all (Oblivion, On the Way to School) – there’s a documentary for every mood, every focus.
SFF09 will host an impressive line-up of international and Australian filmmakers to take part in an informative and entertaining schedule of talks, forums and events. This year’s program presents two new exciting programs for industry. In partnership with the NSW Film and Television Office and Screen Australia, the Sydney Film
Festival will hold an Industry Conference day exploring opportunities for international co-productions. And teaming up with X|Media|Lab, a ground breaking conference and series of labs on the subject of Serious Games (virtual worlds, immerse environments), bringing together some of the world leading gamers with documentary filmmakers.
Talks and forums
The festival will be hosting free lunchtime talks in the Statement Bar with filmmakers from the Official Competition and other films screening in the program. Sydney Film Festival has also teamed up with Creative Sydney to present a number of free talks and forums during June at the MCA.
Visit www.sff.org.au or www.creativesydney.com.au for more details nearer the time.
The 56th Sydney Film Festival is a massive line-up of feature films, documentaries, shorts and animations that will challenge, provoke and entertain. SFF09 presents a cross-section of arthouse, cutting-edge and award-winning films. The program was launched today at the Dendy Opera Quays by SFF President Virginia Gordon and Festival Director Clare Stewart.
Now in its 56th year, making it one of the world’s oldest film festivals, SFF will screen films in four venues across Sydney – State Theatre, Greater Union and Dendy Opera Quays and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
So if you want to see it first, or see something you may never have the chance to see again, don’t try it at home, be a part of the festival!
The full program for the 56th Sydney Film Festival, 3–14 June 2009, will be announced on Thursday 14 May 2009. The program guide will be included in The Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 15 May. FlexiPasses are now on sale and single session tickets will be on sale from 14 May.
For further information please contact The Lantern Group
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About Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival screens feature films, documentaries, short films and animations across the city at the State Theatre, GU George Street Cinemas, Dendy Opera Quays and the Art Gallery of NSW. The festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest running film festivals. In 2008, SFF introduced the Official Competition, a FIAPF-accredited competition for ‘new directions in film’, which rewards courageous and audacious filmmaking. The Official Competition is supported by Events NSW and the $60,000 cash prize is provided by Hunter Hall Investment Management. Celebrated Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer heads up the 2009 jury of three international and two Australian industry figures.
The 56th Sydney Film Festival spools from Wednesday 3 June – Sunday 14 June 2009.
For more information visit www.sff.org.au
Stills from a selection of films in SFF 2009 are available for media at www.image.net
FlexiPasses are on sale now, and single session tickets are available from Thursday 14 May. All tickets are available from the Sydney Film Festival website – www.sff.org.au.