Little Screen :: Winter Film Guide
June 4th 2015
Winter is coming.
Not to mention everything that comes with it – itchy wool, influenza, seasonal depression and post-graduation crises. But I must say the film programmers and curators of Sydney have definitely got a thorough understanding of the human psyche, because they have banded together to produce some amazing events that can banish any winter blues.
Sydney Film Festival // 3-14 June 2015
SFF has been bringing innovative cinema to Sydney since 1954, when it was just in four cinemas over four days. This year, it continues to expand our understanding of what cinema is capable of with a programme so diverse that there is something to suit every palate.
Now, you’ll be reading rants about SFF on nearly every screen and sheet of paper you come across this month – so in an effort to make this useful I will focus on the Australian film events in this year’s festival, and pick out my top ten features to see among the massive 251 films screening this year.
With 138 Australian premieres at this year’s SFF, it’s the perfect opportunity to see some innovative Aussie films.
SCREEN BLACK: INDIGENOUS CINEMA // SFF
SFF continues their partnership with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department to bring you Screen Black, a two-part programme dedicated to showcasing some of the latest talent in indigenous film-making. On 9 June, Songlines on Screen will be presenting six short films that explore indigenous stories through the full spectrum of indigenous storytelling including song, dance, art and land. On 10 June, Pitch Black shorts will be screening seven short films that highlight the striking, the bold, and the lively in short indigenous dramas. This year’s films range from stories of urban indigenous identity to grieving and exploring the past.
DOCUMENTARIES // SFF
As part of the seventh year of the Documentary Australia Foundation competition for best Australian documentary, SFF will present ten Aussie documentaries over the course of the festival that are in the running to win the prestigious award.
See the full list of films here.
FEATURES // SFF
See em’ all and then see em’ all again: Ruben Guthrie, The Daughter, Strangerland, Last Cab to Darwin, Riz, The Secret River and Holding the Man.
Find the programme here.
SHORT FILMS // SFF
Continuing its forty-six year long tradition, SFF’s short film competition will present short films over the last two nights of the festival. Sponsored by Dendy Cinemas, this competition has recognised the talents of Warwick Thornton and Cate Shortland in years past. If you can’t make it to many of the feature films of the festival or prefer a shorter film structure, this is a great way to catch a lot of (local) talent all at once. More info here.
MEET THE FILMMAKERS // SFF
Having attended some of these talks in the past, I highly recommend going along if you’re interested in receiving some personal insight into the filmmaking process and getting a taste of the current climate of the industry for filmmakers, producers and actors. Four out of the five talks are with Aussie filmmakers, while the last is with American Sean Baker, the director/writer/producer of the film Tangerine, shot on an iPhone 5s. More info can be found here.
Top ten // SFF film picks
1. The Goob, directed by Guy Myhill (UK)
2. The Emperor’s New Clothes, directed by Michael Winterbottom and Russell Brand (UK)
3. Slow West, directed by John Maclean (USA)
4. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, directed by Roy Andersson (Sweden)
5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (USA)
6. In the Basement, directed by Ulrich Seidl (Austria)
7. Pasolini, directed by Abel Ferrara (Belgium, France, Italy)
8. The Tribe, directed by Myroslav Slabosphytskiy (Ukraine)
9. The Smell of Us, directed by Larry Clark (France)
10. Kabukicho Love Hotel, directed by Ryuichi Hiroki (Japan)
GOLDEN AGE CINEMA & BAR
EDEN (Fr) // SYDNEY EXCLUSIVE
In this funny and aesthetically beautiful film, French director Mia Hansen Løve takes us into the French rave scene of the early 1990’s which gave birth to the musical talents of Daft Punk and Cassius. Hansen Løve’s choice to base the film on her brother’s real life experiences gives the film an honesty that does not glamorise or accentuate.
Showing on 25-27 June, 1 July. Tickets can be purchased here.
CLASSICS // GOLDEN AGE
Plus, classics from some of the greats continue at Golden Age with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining on 19 June and Woody Allen’s Manhattan on 20 June. Don’t miss a chance to see the genius of Jim Jarmusch on the big screen with Mystery Train on 4 July – you’ll be left wanting to listen to Elvis’ first album as you book a ticket to Memphis, Tennessee.
MELBOURNE WEB FEST // 10-12 July
An answer to one of the SFF talks about the future of film festivals in the digital age, the Melbourne Web Fest is a completely digital festival harnessing the online platform to showcase the latest in web series both nationally and from around the world. Check it out here.
THE CONNECTION // AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY
Shannon Harvey’s The Connection is a documentary that explores the healing power of the mind over the body through talking to people who have conquered long-term illness using natural therapies like meditation. Sceptical? Watch this.