SFF jury announced

02 June, 2009 by IF

Press release from the Lantern Group

Jury President, Australian director Rolf de Heer will be joined by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, Canadian director/producer Ted Kotcheff, Australian actress Miranda Otto and Danish director Lone Scherfig on the 2009 SFF Official Competition Jury.


All Jury members will attend the Sydney Film Festival to determine the winner of the AUD$60,000 Sydney Film Prize. The Jury will work as a collegial ensemble, viewing all 12 Competition films and assessing the merits of each within the criteria of ‘audacious, cutting-edge and courageous filmmaking’. The prize winner will be announced at the festival’s Closing Night Gala (14 June 2009).

“Sydney Film Festival’s Official Competition filmmakers will be well served by this diverse, talented and experienced jury galvanized by the leadership of celebrated Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer” said Festival Director Clare Stewart in Sydney today.

Running 3–14 June, Sydney Film Festival opens Wednesday with the one of the Official Competition films, Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric. The FIAPF-accredited competition for ‘new directions in film’ is now in its second year and is supported by Events NSW with the cash prize (the largest for film in Australia) generously provided by Hunter Hall Investment Management.

"If the films we’re to see measure up to the quality of this jury, we’re in for some very fine viewing, followed by, doubtlessly, complete disagreement. I’m looking forward to the process." Said Jury President, Rolf de Heer today.

Rolf de Heer (Jury President) is the Dutch born, Australian director of more than a dozen films. Bad Boy Bubby won the Grand Special Jury prize and the International Film Critics Prize at Venice in 1993, and four AFI awards. The Quiet Room (1996) and Dance Me To My Song (1998) were invited to Cannes, cementing de Heer’s place in the international film arena. The Tracker premiered to critical acclaim at Venice in 2002. Alexandra’s Project was invited into competition at Berlin, 2003, and Ten Canoes won the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2006, opened the 2006 Sydney Film Festival and won 6 AFI Awards including Best Film and Best Director. The same year, de Heer was awarded the prestigious AFI Byron Kennedy Award for his “unflagging artistic courage across an astonishing body of work from Bad Boy Bubby to Ten Canoes.”

Oliver Hirschbiegel is the German director of Five Minutes of Heaven which received Best Director Award (World Cinema) and Best Script (for Guy Hibbert) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and has its Australian Premiere at Sydney Film Festival. His previous films as director include the Oscar-nominated Downfall (2004) with Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler, The Invasion (2007) with Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, and The Experiment (2001).

Ted Kotcheff is the Canadian born director of the Australian classic Wake in Fright which has its restoration premiere screening at Sydney Film Festival following its recent Cannes Classic selection. He is currently Executive Producer of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and has been involved from the inception of the series and guided it through its 200 episode, ten-year run. Ted has a long and distinguished career as a film and television director and producer with highlights including his BAFTA winning ‘Edna, the Inebriate Woman’ and his Berlin Film Festival winner The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

Miranda Otto is one of Australia’s leading international actresses, has been nominated for five AFI Awards and is well known for her role in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Return of the King and The Two Towers. She appeared in the US series Cashmere Mafia and most recently she worked on the upcoming Australian feature film Blessed.

Lone Scherfig is the Danish director of SFF’s Closing Night film An Education, starring Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan and Emma Thompson. Born in Copenhagen, Lone has collected 22 awards for her work including a FIPRESCI award and a Silver Bear Jury Prize at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival for Italian for Beginners (2000). An Education is Scherfig’s second English language film after Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.

The 12 Official Competition films are:

World premieres: Rachel Ward’s Beautiful Kate and Khoa Do’s Missing Water.
International premiere: Tsai Ming-liang’s Face (Visages)
Australian premieres: Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric, Sebastián Silvia’s The Maid (La Nana), Steve Jacobs’ Disgrace, Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope’s Antiplano, Nicholas Winding Refn’s Bronson, Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delépine’s Louise-Michel, Alexey German Jr’s Paper Soldier (Bumazhnyy Soldat), Henry Selick’s Coraline, and Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience.

Films directed by SFF Jury Members screen as follows:

Five Minutes of Heaven (Oliver Hirshbiegel) Thursday 11 June 4.15pm State Theatre and Staurday 13 June 6.05pm Dendy Opera Quays
Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff) Saturday 13 June 11.45am State Theatre
An Education (Lone Scherfig) Sunday 14 June 7.30pm (Closing Night) State Theatre