THE 61st Sydney Film Festival launches on June 4, bringing no less than 183 titles from 47 countries to its audiences this year – including 15 World Premieres (six short films), 122 Australian Premieres (14 Australian Premiere shorts) and six International Premieres (one short).
Festival Director Nashen Moodley said the Festival has gone from strength to strength over recent years, with attendances increasing over 23% since 2011 to 143,000.
“SFF not only presents the best films from across the country and around the world, but we also open up dialogue between the creators and audiences and curators and critics alike, in every direction and combination.
“Together in a crowded theatre, comedies are funnier, horror films are scarier and tender moments bring tears more readily; everything we feel is amplified by the power of the shared experience.”
Direct from its world premiere screening at the Cannes Film Festival, SFF and Vivid Ideas are proud to co-present the Australian Premiere of the highly anticipated futuristic thriller, The Rover.
Its director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom, 2011) and key cast Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, will be special guests at the State Theatre screening on Saturday, 7 June.
This year also, Sydney Film Festival features the most Australian films ever to compete for the prestigious Sydney Film Prize: in addition to The Rover; the 12-film selection includes the World Premiere of Kasimir Burgess’ Fell, and Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Michael Cody’s Ruin.
The internationally recognised SFF Official Competition, now in its seventh year, awards a $60,000 cash prize in recognition of courageous, audacious and cutting-edge cinema. Previous Sydney Film Prize winners are: Only God Forgives (2013), Alps (2012); A Separation (2011), which went on to win an Academy Award; Heartbeats (2010); Bronson (2009); and Hunger (2008).
The festival will screen in more venues this year, including the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Art Gallery of NSW and, new in 2014, the Skyline Drive-In Blacktown, with a special 40th anniversary screening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on Friday the 13th June.
The Apple Store Sydney will host a selection of free public talks and SFFTV@Martin Place returns for its fourth year, with a big screen at Martin Place Amphitheatre, providing a multi-layered look at the festival and a dynamic mix of trailers, red-carpet coverage, short films and more.
A special program of innovative animated shorts, Big Window on a Big Screen, will be curated by guest programmer Malcolm Turner, director of animation festivals in London, New Zealand and Australia. What’s more in 2014, for the first time, Martin Place becomes an integral part of Vivid Sydney, with spectacular light installations and other attractions illuminating the night along with SFF’s big screen.
The Australian Premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth featuring pop-cultural music legend Nick Cave (pictured) is the festival’s Opening Night Film at the State Theatre on Wednesday 4 June at 7:30pm.
New Zealand’s vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows is sure to provide some quirkily creative comedy to close the festival on Sunday 15 June. This is a co-production by Taika Waititi (who directed the hit comedy Boy, which won the Audience Award at SFF 2010) and Jemaine Clement (from comedy duo Flight of the Conchords).
Also, The Hub returns to Sydney’s elegant Town Hall for a third year with a packed program of talks, exhibitions, live performances and over 25 free events.
Open until midnight for 11 days only (5-15 June), the pop-up bar is the beating heart of Sydney Film Festival. Situated within a short stroll of most of the venues, the Hub is the perfect meeting place for film lovers to relax, mingle and be entertained.
This year, The Hub features a Festival Bar and Herman Miller and Living Edge Lounge, a Discount Ticket Booth, savvy Program Gurus, a delicious Gelato Messina cart, a Title Pop-Up Store, a vintage Foxtel Movies photo and video Booth, an informal daily Film Club, an exclusive collection of iconic American Eames furniture, the Hugh Hamilton Rosebud photographic exhibition, a not-to-be-missed Viewmaster Experience by artist Vladimir, a series of Illustrated Talks and Panels as well as a Girl Rock Riot dance party, Cinema Burlesque and much more.
Sydney Film Festival will screen 10 films directly from the 2014 Cannes Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, including: The Rover in Cannes Official Selection; Two Days, One Night, The Captive in competition; How To Train Your Dragon 2 out of competition; Cold in July, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, You’re Sleeping Nicole and National Gallery in Directors Fortnight; The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a special screening in Directors Fortnight; and Life Itself in Cannes Classics.
For more info: www.sff.org.au