First Films Announced for the 65th Sydney Film Festival

April 4, 2018
26 titles and a brand new venue have been unveiled.

The full program for the 65th Sydney Film Festival doesn’t hit until May 9, but the first 26 films have today been announced, along with news of a new venue.

Hoyts Entertainment Quarter will be joining the roster of locations, including The State Theatre, Dendy Opera Quays, Dendy Newtown, Event Cinemas George Street, Art Gallery of NSW, the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Randwick Ritz, and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, which the festival will be taking over from June 6 – 17. Hoyts EQ will be home to a line-up of specially selected family films as well as Screenability, the festival’s showcase of works by screen practitioners with disability.

The films announced so far are an impressive and varied lot, described by Festival Director Nashen Moodley as encompassing “…features and documentaries from Argentina to the Arctic Circle. From the war zone of Kabul, where young men risk arrest for their love of rock music, to the revolutionary creativity of punk icon Vivienne Westwood, these unique and poignant films share stories of freedom, identity and passion from across the globe.

“The 2018 Sydney Film Festival is once again proud to kick-start exciting conversations and showcase powerful ideas and bold statements that open eyes, expand horizons and enrich the lives of our audiences and community.”

Highlights so far include:

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, a fascinating profile of revolutionary fashion designer and punk icon Vivienne Westwood from UK model-turned- filmmaker Lorna Tucker.

Foxtrot, the winner of Venice Film Festival’s 2017 Grand Jury Prize, from award- winning Israeli director Samuel Maoz, which follows an Israeli couple learning that their soldier son died in the line of duty.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award winner featuring Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie), Sasha Lane (American Honey) and Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant), which adapts Emily M. Danforth’s novel about a young lesbian sent to a radical Christian de-gayifying camp.

Leave No Trace, the new film from Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik, featuring Ben Foster and young New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie as a father and his 13 year-old daughter living in a paradisaical existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon.

Leave No Trace

Disobedience, from Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, SFF 2017). Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams star in an adaptation of the novel by Naomi Alderman, which sees a woman return to the community that shunned her after she revlealed her sexuality, and reigniting her relationship with a childhood friend.

Ghost Stories, a British anthology horror film starring Martin Freeman and Andy Nyman, in the tradition of Amicus and Hammer.

Piercing, by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother), a psychosexual thriller starring  Christopher Abbott, Olivia Bond, and Mia Wasikowkska that has echoes of George Sluizer’s The Vanishing.

Anchor and Hope from Spanish director Carlos Marques-Marcet (10.000 Km), which sees Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), Oona Chaplin(Game of Thrones), and her mother, Golden Globe nominee Geraldine Chaplin (Chaplin), in the story of two best friends living in a London canal boat.

Anchor and Hope

RocKabul, Australian Travis Beard’s  examination of  Afghanistan’s first metal band, District Unknown.

I Used to be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story, a coming-of-age documentary about the intense love of boy bands,

West of Sunshine, the debut feature Australian director Jason Raftopoulos, which stars real life father and son
Damien Hill (Pawno) and Ty Perham in a gritty, heartfelt, low key crime drama.

Maya the Bee: The Honey Games, a new family adventure from Australian animation veteran Noel Cleary (Blinky Bill), voiced by an all-star Australian cast including Richard Roxburgh, The Umbilical Brothers’ Dave Collins and Shane Dundas, and Justine Clarke.

Genesis 2.0, the Sundance 2018 Special Jury Prize winning documentary following scientific efforts to resurrect the woolly mammoth in the Arctic.

Genesis 2.0

Mug, the Silver Bear winner from renowned Polish filmmaker Małgorzata Szumowska, which tells the blackly comic story of a simple, upbeat man who has a face transplant after a horrific industrial accident.

The Breadwinner, the new animated film from renowned Irish animation house studio Cartoon Saloon (Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells).

The Insult, a legal thriller from Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri’s potent legal thriller which tracks a court battle between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee.

American Animals, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee starring Evan Peters (American Horror Story) and Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) as two of four men who attempt an audacious heist.


My Brilliant Career (1979), the brand new restoration of Gillian Armstrong’s debut film, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive.

Chef Flynn, an inspiring documentary about, Flynn McGarry who became one of the world’s top chefs at just 13 years old.

For the full sneak preview, head over to the Sydney Film Festival’s official site. Flexipasses and festival subscriptions are on sale now.

Leave a Comment