Sydney Film Festival reveals first 25 films
‘The Final Quarter’. (Photo: Wayne Taylor/Fairfax)
Ian Darling documentary The Final Quarter, which looks at AFL footballer and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes’ public call out of racism and Australia’s heated response, will premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June.
The festival today unveiled the first 25 films on this year’s line-up, with the full program to launch on May 8.
Made using only archival footage aired at the time, Darling’s doco chronicles the final years of the Sydney Swans player’s career. Other Aussie films announced today include Sophie Hyde’s Animals, which made its world premiere at Sundance earlier this year, and Erica Glynn’s portrait of her mother and Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) co-founder Freda Glynn, She Who Must Be Loved, which also screened at the Adelaide Film Festival and Berlinale.
Leading the preview announcement is Amazing Grace, which captures never-before-seen footage, shot by Sydney Pollack, of an Aretha Franklin performance recorded live for her Grammy-Award winning album Amazing Grace – the highest selling gospel album of all time.
French director Claire Denis’ (Chocolat) sci-fi thriller High Life, starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and André 3000, will also screen at the fest, as will Michael Winterbottom’s modern noir The Wedding Guest, starring Dev Patel; John Butler’s Papi Chulo, which stars Matt Bomer as a gay TV weatherman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a straight Latino migrant worker; and Peter Strickland horror In Fabric, starring Gwendoline Christie and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
Other highlights include winner of the Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Screenplay Piranhas; the double Oscar-nominated Never Look Away, from Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; winner of Venice’s Orrizonti (Horizon) Prize, Manta Ray; The Third Wife, the winner of the NETPAC Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Journey to a Mother’s Room, which won the Youth Jury Award at San Sebastian International Film Festival.
Also in the first batch films is is Cuban sci-fi The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia; Hiroshi Okuyama’s debut Jesus; and Minuscule 2: Mandibles from Far Away, a follow up to the French TV series and Minuscule feature.
On the doco line-up is The Kleptocrats, which explores Malaysia’s 1MDB wealth fund scandal; Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, a visual essay on the human’s impact on Earth; portrait of rock star PJ Harvey’s performance-art process, A Dog Called Money; and Yuli, which follows Cuban ballet luminary Carlos Acosta, the first black principal dancer of the prestigious Royal Ballet. There’s also Midnight Family, which follows a family in Mexico City operating one of many private ambulances hustling for work in the megapolis; Up the Mountain, a meditative work about an artist and his community in a Chinese mountain village; and School of Seduction – Three Stories from Russia, about workshops in Putin’s Russia where you can learn ‘skills for seducing wealthy men’.
This year will see the festival’s program for high school students, Screen Day Out, return, featuring a National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) digital restoration screening of Lawrence Johnston’s Eternity, and The Miracle of the Little Prince, which explores the nature of language and culture, particularly disappearing Indigenous languages.
As announced last week, David Stratton has curated a retrospective of films from Australian female directors, including 1930s silent melodrama The Cheaters, from Paulette McDonagh, digitally restored by the NFSA.
“This sneak peek of the 2019 program invites us to come together and hear from a wonderful kaleidoscope of voices, like the inspiringly sensational powerhouse talent of gospel queen Aretha Franklin, or Adam Goodes courageously standing up against racism and facing severe repercussions as a consequence,” Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley said.
“These first 25 films are a mere taster of the incredible program in store, from the devastating human impact on the world around us, to captivating stories from unique communities, and spotlights on the most accomplished artists of our generation.”
The State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, Dendy Newtown, Randwick Ritz, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Hoyts Entertainment Quarter, Art Gallery of NSW, and Casula Powerhouse will all return as official festival screening venues.
Flexipasses and subscriptions to Sydney Film Festival 2019 are on sale now. sff.org.au