The Customs House at Sydney’s Circular Quay was once again the host for a program launch this morning, as the 63rd Sydney Film Festival revealed its 2016 program with the theme “Change Your View, Change Your World.” Under the curatorial helm of SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley’s fifth year, the 12-day festival will showcase 244 films from 60 countries, including 25 world premieres, 3 international premieres and 137 Australian premieres. Moodley has also announced that he will stay on as Festival Director for another four years.
The Festival will open on 8 June 2016 at the State Theatre with the world premiere of Ivan Sen’s GOLDSTONE, the Australian follow-up to Mystery Road, a stylish outback noir which is also screening in competition. It will close 12 days later on 19 June with Closing Night film LOVE & FRIENDSHIP from Whit Stillman, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s early novella Lady Susan, starring Chloe Savigny, Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry. On that night, they will also announce the winners of the $50,000 fellowship for short film makers, designed to screen at the Festival in 2017.
Films in Competition
- APPRENTICE (Boo Junking, Singapore)
- AQUARIUS (Kleber Medonca Filho, Brazil)
- CERTAIN WOMEN (Kelly Reichardt, USA)
- THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER (Brady Corbet, USA)
- THE ENDLESS RIVER (Oliver Hermanus, South Africa)
- GOLDSTONE (Ivan Sen, Australia)
- IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (Xavier Dolan, Canada)
- LAND OF MINE (Martin Zandvliet, Denmark)
- LETTERS FROM WAR (Ivo M. Ferreira, Portugal)
- NOTES ON BLINDNESS (Peter Middleton and James Spinney, UK)
- PSYCHO RAMAN (Anurag Kashyap, India)
- VIVA (Paddy Breathnach, Ireland)
Highlights (aka Bitsy’s Choices)
- BLOOD FATHER (Jean-François Richet) starring Mel Gibson and GIMME DANGER (Jim Jarmusch) – direct from the Midnight Screenings at Cannes, the latter is a documentary about Iggy Pop. Gibson will join the festival as a guest this year, for talks in The Hub.
- THE BFG – OMG! BFG crashes SFF! Steven Spielberg takes the honours of being the big animated film debuting at the Festival this year, straight from Cannes and the first Spielberg film to debut at the SFF.
- KOREA ON THE VERGE – Not a film, but a whole mini-retrospective of five indie films from Korea. As long-time supporters of Korean cinema, including our association with KOFFIA, it great to finally see such a strong level of support for Korean cinema.
- JULIETA – The 20th film from the legendary Pedro Almodóvar, starring Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte, who play the older and younger versions of the film’s title character
- LURE – Agnieszka Smoczynska’s played at Sundance, as was described as an erotic, Lesbian, vampire, musical. Sold!
- EVERYBODY WANTS SOME – Richard Linklater’s follow-up film to the monumental Boy, it follows a group of college baseball players in Texas during the 1980s. It stars Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, and Zoey Deutch.
- I SAW THE LIGHT – Tom Hiddleston plays country legend Hank Williams, and apparently does all of his own singing. Can this man do no wrong?
- HIGH-RISE – Hiddleston again, alongside Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elisabeth Moss in this thriller from Ben Wheatley
- RED CHRISTMAS – the world premiere of this Australian premiere, starring horror legend Dee Wallace. Part of the Freak Me Out program, these screenings are always fun and challenging, an endurance test at the end of a long night.
- THE COMMUNE – Thomas Vinterberg’s films (The Hunt, The Celebration) are guaranteed to frustrate and challenge audiences, and Trine Dyrholm win for Best Actress at the Berlinale only heightens our anticipation for this.
- MAGGIE’S PLAN – Months ahead of the Australia cinema release date! Written and directed by Rebecca Miller, it has a massive cast of Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel, Wallace Shawn, Ida Rohatyn, Monte Greene and Julianne Moore.
- SING STREET – Did you love Once, Begin Again and the 80s? John Carney’s musical inclinations lead him to a new musical comedy-drama with a soundtrack that contains The Cure, Duran Duran, The Jam and Motörhead. What else could we want?
- SWISS ARMY MAN – Paul Dano rides Daniel Radcliffe’s corpse across the ocean. What is not to like here?
- ESSENTIAL SCORSESE – David Stratton guest programs 10 films from the great Martin Scorsese, offering a journey through 10 essential classics from Mean Streets (1973), through Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1982), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995) and finally, The Aviator (2004). For many, this will be the first opportunity to see these films on the big screen in Australia for years.