Sydney Film Festival has launched its program which will feature over 200 films from more than 64 countries.
The 69th Festival will take place from June 8 to 19 and will also play host to 27 world premieres.
Festival venues this year include The State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Newtown, Palace Central, Palace Norton Street, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Ritz Cinemas Randwick, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The Festival’s outdoor screen, SFFTV, will be stationed in Martin Place from June 2 to 18 and Pitt Street Mall from June 15 to 19 showing people trailers for must-see festival films as well as red carpet footage from events.
The opening night of the 69th Sydney Film Festival will play host to the world premiere of “We Are Still Here”, a multi-genre First Nations collaboration interweaving eight stories by 10 directors from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Australian directors involved in the project include Beck Cole, Danielle MacLean, Tracey Rigney and Dena Curtis. The directors from New Zealand are Tim Worrall, Richard Curtis, Renae Maihi, Miki Magasiva, Chantelle Burgoyne and Mario Gaoa.
The Closing Night Gala, meanwhile, will include an awards ceremony at the State Theatre, honouring the winners of the Sydney Film Prize, the Documentary Australia Award, the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, the Sustainable Future Award, the Deutsche Bank Fellowship for First Nations Film Creatives, the Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award and the inaugural AFTRS Craft Award.
The Sydney Film Prize will award $60,000 cash for audacious, cutting-edge and courageous cinema. Two Australian films, “Blaze” and “You Won’t Be Alone” are among the 12 contenders for the prize.
Nashen Moodley, director of the Sydney Film Festival, noted the emotions both within the films and those associated with reviving the festival.
“What a joy it is to return to the Festival’s traditional June dates, bringing with it the return of international filmmakers to present their films, in-person parties, talks, the Festival Hub and a range of activities in and outside of the cinema,” Moodley said.
“As ever, our 2022 program brings together films from all over the world, engaging with the most pertinent issues in challenging and entertaining ways.
“And how have filmmakers responded to these past years of the pandemic, war and rising authoritarianism? With films confronting these challenges head-on, but frequently suggesting a better way forward. And with love stories. From Del Kathryn Barton’s provocative feature debut blending live action and animation “Blaze”, to Cooper Raiff’s moving romantic comedy “Cha Cha Real Smooth”, starring Dakota Johnson, to the extraordinary documentary “Fire of Love”, so many films in this year’s Festival hone in on intensely personal stories, of people taking comfort in each other through difficult times.
“There are films that will elicit big emotions, that have us laughing and crying in the cinema; films that will bring the intensity of feeling that comes from seeing something on the big screen, in a room filled with people – the big feelings experienced only in cinema.”
Ben Franklin, NSW’s minister for the arts, encouraged people to support the festival following two years of disruptions.
“The NSW Government proudly supports the long-running Festival which has launched countless careers,” he added.
“Funding through the Sydney Film Festival has helped connect audiences with a diverse range of filmmakers from across the state.
“The popular Screenability program continues to showcase the immense talents of filmmakers identifying with disability, and the Travelling Film Festival ensures regional NSW can experience the same global stories as those in the city.”