SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL
Nashen Moodley, Festival Director of the Sydney Film Festival states that the Festival “…continues to bring together all those disparate and often rarely-seen international points of view, opening a window into the lives of people and places you might never otherwise experience”. And if the previous years are anything to go by, this year’s feast of celluloid has much to offer. With hundreds of films from all over the world screening at nine different locations, it’s no mean feat to watch a large portion of it, however canny audience members can work out the films that are likely to be released in the not too distant future by checking to see if they have been picked up for Australian distribution. Some, particularly documentaries, may go straight to DVD, too. The official competition has 12 films competing for the $60,000 prize and only two have not currently been picked up for local distribution.
The films on offer include a wide range of Australian and international documentaries, features and short films; other categories include Europe! Voices of Women in Film, Family Films, Sounds on Screen, and intriguing side retrospectives such as David Stratton’s Essential Kurosawa and Richard Kuiper’s Punk - Smash It Up, celebrating 40 years of punk rock. With such a plethora of films to choose from, it’s worth considering Warwick Thornton’s We Don’t Need A Map, which is the opening night film, and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja (to be released on Netflix), selected for the closing night film - both have other sessions as well. The rest are up for grabs but many sessions are selling fast. Guests this year include Vanessa Redgrave, Ben Mendelsohn, Gaylene Preston and Warwick Thornton. There are also talks and social events at the Hub at the Town Hall, including what looks like a pretty wild night on the Queen’s birthday, when the venue will host a tribute to punk, with Richard Kuipers playing 45's from 1977 and beyond. For 12 days in the middle of winter, the best film event of the year is guaranteed to leave you sleep-deprived and making the most of a quick bite and drink between sessions in preparation for the visual feast ahead of you. As the Festival strap line indicates, this year you can experience the buzz, FROM EVERY ANGLE. Enjoy!
Ildikó Enyedi's charmingly off-beat film On Body And Soul came out triumphant over the other 11 films in the 10th anniversary Sydney Film Prize Official Competition. Set in a Budapest meat-works, her film, which she also wrote, depicts a strange love story between two co-workers who share the same dream each night.
The Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary's $10,000 cash prize was awarded to director Sascha Ettinger Epstein and producer Claire Haywood for their documentary The Pink House, about the last brothel in Kalgoorlie, WA.
In the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films categories, the $7000 cash prize for the Dendy Live Action Short Award went to Adele, directed by Mirene Igwabi, while Sunday Emerson Gullifer was Highly Commended for her short film Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.
Daniel Agdag's animation Lost Property Office won both the $7000 Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and the $5000 Yoram Gross Animation Award.
Indigenous Australian actor, director and writer Leah Purcell won the $10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, awarded to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner.
The Audience Award for Best Feature went to the highly deserving Ali's Wedding, an Australian Muslim romantic comedy, and in the Best Documentary category the award winner was also Australian, Kate Hickey's Roller Dreams, about the 1980s roller dance scene at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.