The two biggest nights of the festival typically bookend SFF with films that create a buzz, and this year is no exception. Australian director Warwick Thornton's ('The Darkside', 'Samson and Delilah') latest work 'We Don’t Need a Map' will premiere on Opening Night, a documentary which investigates Australia’s relationship to the Southern Cross through colonial and Indigenous history to the present day. To wrap the festival up, 'Okja', starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and An Seo-hyun and directed by Bong Joon-ho (2014 festival favourite 'Snowpiercer') will screen, with Bong in attendance.
There are 12 films in this year's Official Competition - 'Una' starring Ben Mendelsohn, Sofia Coppola's Civil War drama 'The Beguiled', Alain Gomis' 'Félicité', Michael Haneke's 'Happy End', Raoul Peck's Oscar-nominated 'I Am Not Your Negro', Nana & Simon's 'My Happy Family', Ildikó Enyedi's 'On Body and Soul', Aki Kaurismäki's 'The Other Side of Hope' and Amat Escalante's 'The Untamed', Afghan female director Shahrbanoo Sadat's 'Wolf and Sheep' and Kirsten Tan's 'Pop Aye', as well as 'We Don't Need A Map'.
There's also plenty of films being screened for the first time at this year's Sydney Film Festival. 'Red Dog' director Kriv Stenders premieres 'Australia Day', starring Bryan Brown, Shari Sebbens and Isabella Cornish in a story that questions our national identity. David Wenham’s directorial debut feature 'Ellipsis', described as "a touching love letter to Sydney", will be perfectly at home at its first showing at SFF. In combination with VIVID Live, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, a world premiere screening of Jennifer Peedom’s ('Sherpa') latest documentary 'Mountain' will take place at the Sydney Opera House with a live musical score. Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel's French romantic comedy 'Madame' will also has its world premiere at the Festival.
OYou're Sleeping Nicole - Stay in bed
OFish and Cat - Into the woods
OTamako In Moratorium - Wasted on the young
OSydney Film Festival 2014 - The reviews
OSydney Film Festival 2014 - The films
OSydney Film Festival 2014
OSydney Film Festival - The anticipation of 2014
OWhat Richard Did - Emotionally perplexing
OOutrage Beyond - Brutal bloody brilliance
This year's SFF films feature some big star power. Diane Kruger stars in German director Fatih Akin's 'In the Fade', Vanessa Redgrave makes her directorial debut at the age of 80 with the documentary 'Sea Sorrow', Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star in the crime thriller 'Wind River', and Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara feature in the introspective and much-hyped 'A Ghost Story'.
There are so many other fascinating elements to the Festival this year. There'll be a screening of the Aussie cinema classic 'The Year My Voice Broke', a collection of Akira Kurosawa's films, a program highlighting female filmmaking in Europe! Voices of Women in Film, and a screening of 'An American Werewolf in London' under the full moon at the Skyline Drive In. For the first time ever, the Festival will also feature Screenability, an exciting platform for screen practitioners with disability, and will also introduce audio described and open captioned screenings.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of films to explore at the Sydney Film Festival, from documentaries to dramas to dark comedies, brought to life by some of the world's greatest filmmakers. Immerse yourself in the creativity of the Festival, and enjoy the variety, diversity and significance of this year's collection of films.
For more details or to book a session for one of the films, head to www.sff.org.au.