By Charlie David Page
5th April 2017

The Sydney Film Festival is always a great eye-opener for film fans. Featuring both much-hyped and elusive offerings, the 12-day event provides Australians the chance to experience the work of some of the world's top artists. Today we got our first glimpse of the 2017 calendar, with 28 films announced as a tease of what's to come.

The festival has its fair share of Australian premieres. Much-hyped since its screening at Sundance, David Lowery's 'A Ghost Story' stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in a ruminating, haunting tale of loss.

Oscar nominees Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins star in 'Maudie', a biopic of one of Canada’s best-known folk artists. Directed by Aisling Walsh ('Room At The Top', 'Wallander'), the film features excellent performances, with Hawkins' portrayal a wonder.

Though few people will have heard of 'My Life As A Zucchini' before its nomination for Best Animated Feature at this year's Academy Awards, this stop-motion masterpiece is definitely geared towards adults with its heavy story. Showing at the festival in both the original French and English versions, the latter features the voices of Will Forte ('Nebraska', 'The Last Man On Earth'), Nick Offerman ('Parks and Recreation') and Ellen Page ('Freeheld', 'Juno').

The Sydney Film Festival is also home to a range of innovative and thought-provoking documentaries, and 2017 is no exception. At the forefront will be 'Whitney: Can I Be Me', the story of the most awarded female recording artist of all time, Whitney Houston. With exclusive backstage footage from the peak of her career right through to her passing in 2012, director Nick Broomfield will garner a lot of interest as he heads down under for the festival.

Nominated for Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, 'I Am Not Your Negro' is a study of the struggles for racial and economic equality in America during the 50s and 60s. SFF will be the doco's Australian premiere.

Another highly political documentary to be making its debut is 'Winnie', the story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Married for 38 years to Nelson Mandela, the film features first-hand interviews, promising a compelling watch.


Following up from her work on 'Sherpa', Australian director Jennifer Peedom presents the stunning 'Mountain', a cinematic adventure to the top of the world while looking at the people who risk their lives to explore these traverse territories. There will also be a live orchestration of the film at the Sydney Opera House, which is not to be missed.

For something a little different, 'Spookers' is sure to fit the bill. In its Australian premiere, the documentary takes a look inside the Southern Hemisphere’s largest horror theme park, located in Auckland. New Zealand director Florian Habicht follows the tight-knit Kiwi family who run the theme park, facing their fears so others can face theirs.

For a classic twist, Sydney Film Festival is offering a chance to see 'An American Werewolf in London' at the Blacktown Skyline Drive-In. The 1981 Oscar-winning comedy horror cult classic can be enjoyed in a unique setting.

That's just the tip of the iceberg as far as the first announcement for SFF is concerned - here are a list of the additional films which will be screening at this year's festival...

O The Woman Who Left (drama, winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival)
O The Opposition (documentary)
O Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World (documentary, Australian premiere)
O That's Not Me (comedy, Australian premiere)
O The Untamed (sci-fi drama, winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Best Direction, Australian premiere)
O Graduation (drama, winner of the Best Director Prize at Cannes 2016)
O Wolf and Sheep (drama, winner of the Art Cinema Award at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Australian premiere)
O Nowhere to Hide (documentary, main award-winner at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam)
O Motherland (documentary, Australian premiere)
O Mrs K (Malaysian action)
O Untitled (documentary, Australian premiere)
O Liberation Day (documentary, Australian premiere)
O Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (documentary, Australian premiere)
O Waiting For Giraffes (documentary)
O God's Own Country (drama, Australian premiere)
O Spoor (drama, Australian premiere)
O Sexy Durga (drama, winner of the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Australian premiere)
O Pop Aye (drama, Australian premiere)
O Hotel Salvation (comedy, winner of the UNESCO XXIIIRD Prix Enrico Fuchignoni at Venice Film Festival 2016, Australian premiere)

The full program featuring over 200 films will be released on the 10th May 2017, so check back at SWITCH for our feature on the announcement. For more details on the first 28 films, head to

TRENDINGWIN THE KEEPMichael Mann's cult gothic thriller hits DVD for the first time ever!
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TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGUNDERWATERA solid subaquatic monster mash
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
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