At a morning tea at Sydney’s Circular Quay this morning, the 59th Sydney Film Festival launched its 2012 program. Under the curatorial helm of new SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley, the 12-day festival will showcase 156 titles, including 67 features, 43 documentaries, 33 short films and 13 retrospectives.
The festival will open on 6 June 2012 with Australia’s Not Suitable for Children, from Australian director Peter Templeman, starring Ryan Kwanten, Sarah Snook, Ryan Corr and Bojana Novakovic. The closing night film just 12 days later is the wonderful Safety Not Guaranteed, which we were lucky to see at Sundance London last month. Of the remaining films, 18 are world premieres, 106 Australian premieres, 31 Australian productions and films from 51 countries in 49 languages. Check out this Trailer for the quick overview. Regular festival goers will no doubt see this several dozen times by the time the festival is done.
If that isn’t exciting enough, Billy Connolly has been confirmed as a guest for the Australian premiere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave.
Films in Competition
Rachel Ward will be the 2012 Jury President for the FIAPF Accredited SFF Official Competition. The films competing for the $60,000 cash prize this year will be:
- Alps (Greece) |Australian Premiere | Director: Yorgos Lanthimos | Cast: Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Vekris
- Beasts of the Southern Wild (USA) |Australian Premiere|Director: Benh Zeitlin | Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry
- Caesar Must Die (Italy) | Australian Premiere | Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani | Cast: Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano
- Dead Europe (Australia) | World Premiere | Director: Tony Krawitz | Cast: Ewen Leslie, Marton Csokas, Kodi Smit-McPhee
- Gangs of Wasseypur (India) | Australian Premiere | Director: Anurag Kashyap|Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chaddha, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Nawazuddin Siddique, Vineet Singh, Huma Qureshi, Reema Sen
- The King of Pigs (South Korea) | Australian Premiere | Director: Yuen Sang-ho | Cast: Yang Ik-june, Oh Jeong-se, Kim Hye-na
- Lore (Australia) | Australian Premiere | Director: Cate Shortland | Cast: Saskia Rosendahl, Nele Trebs, André Frid
- Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) | Australian Premiere | Director: Philippe Falardeau | Cast: Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron
- Neighbouring Sounds (Brazil) | Australian Premiere | Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho | Cast: Irandhir Santos, Gustavo Jahn, Maeve Jinkings
- On the Road (USA) Australian Premiere | Director: Walter Salles | Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst
- Tabu (Portugal, Germany, Brazil, France) | Australian Premiere | Director: Miguel Gomes| Cast: Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Carlotto Cotta
- Today (France, Senegal) | Australian Premiere | Director: Alain Gomis | Cast: Saül Williams, Djolof M’Bengue, Anisia Uzeyman
While a number of the films will be released in the months following the festival for general release, perhaps indicative that we are seeing more films in the cinemas, half the joy of the SFF is seeing films earlier than the rest of the country. Quite a number of films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival have made it to our shores, along with a number of films competing at Cannes Film Festival next month, including Michael Haneke’s Amour, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, For Ellen and Walter Salles On the Road.
So what are we looking forward to? We can already highly recommend Woody Allen: A Documentary, Liberal Arts, Tatsumi (which strangely screened at MIFF 2011), and, of course, Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed. Here’s a few other quick picks to look out for:
- Beasts of the Southern Wild (USA) – Winner of the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize in Sundance, this might be one of the “must see” films of the festival.
- Jeff Who Lives At Home (USA) – Directors Mark and Jay Duplass bring Jason Segel and Ed Helms together for an offbeat comedy about an aimless man who believes he is destined for something special.
- Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 3D (Japan) – Following the sold-out sessions for SFF2011’s 13 Assassins, Takashi Miike’s latest jidaigeki is the first 3D film to screen in Competition at Cannes. The beautifully shot film, with a score by actor/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, explores the notions of honour and the traditions of the samurai.
- Killer Joe (USA) – Legendary director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) is this twisted fairy tale described as a “deep-fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story”. The cast is to “die for”: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon andThomas Haden Church.
- Rampart (USA) – Israeli director Oren Moverman’s follow-up to The Messenger once again stars Woody Harrelson, and is set in Los Angeles in 1999 and revolves around a trigger-happy cop whose brutality is out of step with the times.It’s supporting cast will also turn some heads: Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Robin Wright, Ice Cube, Sigourney Weaver and Steve Buscemi.
The full program can be found on the SFF website.