banner image

:: Spotlight :: 2014 Sydney Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 61st Sydney Film Festival program was recently launched by the NSW Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant. “The New South Wales Government, through Screen NSW and Destination NSW, is very pleased to be again supporting Sydney Film Festival which is also part of Vivid Ideas 2014­. Sydney Film Festival is a highlight of the city’s rich arts calendar and an important part of our cultural fabric. The Festival underpins Sydney’s recognition as a UNESCO City of Film, and I look forward to experiencing the Festival this June,” Mr Grant said.

“Sydney Film Festival has gone from strength to strength over recent years, with attendances increasing over 23% since 2011 to 143,000,” said SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “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 present the Australian Premiere of the highly anticipated futuristic thriller The Rover and host the director David Michôd and key talent Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson at the State Theatre on Saturday June 7. The Rover screens as part of the SFF Official Competition. David Michôd, Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and producer Liz Watts will also give a talk as part of Vivid Ideas, further details to be announced in the coming weeks.

In 2014, SFF 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. The 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 61st Sydney Film Festival consists of 183 titles from 47 countries and includes 15 World Premieres (including 6 World Premiere short films), 122 Australian Premieres (including 14 Australian Premiere short films) and 6 International Premieres (including 1 International Premiere short film).

SFF will screen in even 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 hosts a selection of free public talks and SFFTV @ Martin Place returns for its fourth year with a big screen at Martin Place Amphitheatre, giving you a multi-layered look at all things SFF, with an ever changing mix of trailers, red-carpet coverage, short films and more. This year we present a special program of innovative animated shorts, Big Window on a Big Screen, 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.

This year SFF presents the Australian Premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth featuring Nick Cave as the Opening Night Film on Wednesday June 4 and the Australian Premiere of New Zealand vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows as the Closing Night film on Sunday June 15.

Also in 2014, The Hub returns to 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 from June 5-15, this Festival pop-up bar is the beating heart of SFF. Situated within a short stroll of most Festival 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. The full up-to-date schedule of events at Festival Hub is now available here

SFF will screen 10 films direct 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.

The Opening Night Gala features the Australian Premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth, an innovative film about international cultural icon Nick Cave directed by visual artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, who will be in attendance. The Opening Night Film screens at the State Theatre on Wednesday June 4 at 7:30pm and is followed by an after party at Bungalow 8, Kings Street Wharf with beverages supplied by Eden Road, Little Creatures and Yarrabank. Opening Night is presented by Audi.

The Closing Night Gala features the Australian Premiere of the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, the new film from Taika Waititi (who directed Boy, which won the Audience Award at SFF 2010) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) at the State Theatre on Sunday June 15 at 8.00pm. The Closing Night Gala which also includes the announcements of all the SFF awards for 2014, including the $60,000 Sydney Film Prize (see Official Competition below). Taika Waititi will attend the Festival and introduce the screening.

The 61st Sydney Film Festival runs June 4-15 and brings a packed program of screenings and special events to even more venues across Sydney. For tickets and full up-to-date program information visit the official website

For more information, visit

www.sff.org.au