The 66th Sydney Film Festival today announced a sneak peek of 25 new films to be featured in this year’s 5-16 June event.
“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.”
Leading the pack…
Leading the titles announced today is The Final Quarter, documenting AFL champion footballer and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes’ divisive public call-out of racism, and Australia’s heated response. Renowned Australian documentarian Ian Darling (Suzy and the Simple Man – SFF 2016) chronicles the final years of the Sydney Swans player’s career, as the cheers turned to boos.
40 years in the making, Amazing Grace captures a never-before-seen, Sydney Pollack’s spine-tingling 1972 performance by iconic diva Aretha Franklin. The legendary live show was recorded for her Grammy Award-winning album Amazing Grace – to this day, the highest selling live gospel album of all time.
Robert Pattinson (Good Time – SFF 2017, The Rover – SFF 2014), Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and hip hop icon André 3000 star in sexually charged sci-fi thriller High Life, from acclaimed French director Claire Denis (Chocolat); Dev Patel (Lion) is a compelling presence in Michael Winterbottom’s (On the Road – SFF 2017) thrilling, modern film noir The Wedding Guest; and Papi Chulo features Golden Globe winnerMatt Bomer (In Time) as a gay TV weatherman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a straight Latino migrant worker.
In Fabric brings more star power with Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) and Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace) in British visionary Peter Strickland’s (The Field Guide to Evil – SFF 2018) mesmerising tale of a demonic red dress.
Also featuring on the list is winner of the Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Screenplay Piranhas, about a group of 15-year-olds in Naples going from petty thieves to gun-toting gangsters virtually overnight.
International festival winners and nominees
Choice cuts from the international festival circuit include: the double Oscar-nominated epic Never Look Away, a beautiful and tragic love story inspired – controversially – by the life of German artist Gerhard Richter, from Oscar-winning filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others);
and winner of the Horizon Prize at Venice, as well as Best Director prizes at the Cairo and Thessaloniki film festivals, Manta Ray, a visually unforgettable story about the unusual friendship between a Thai fisherman and a Rohingya refugee.
Winner of the NETPAC Award at Toronto International Film Festival, Ash Mayfair’s exquisite debut The Third Wife focusses on a teenager in an arranged marriage in 19th century Vietnam who learns quickly about her world’s suffocating patriarchy;
and winner of the Youth Jury Award at San Sebastian International Film Festival, Journey to a Mother’s Room, an intimate and funny portrait of a tight mother-daughter bond that’s tested by separation.
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 return as official Festival screening venues.