The 64TH Sydney Film Festival announces Korean-American actor and The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun will join director and 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or contender Bong Joon-ho, and Australian actor Daniel Henshall (Snowtown) at the Sydney Film Festival in June (7-18). Their film Okja will premiere at the Festival, direct from sparking controversy in Cannes.
The Festival also reveals former New Zealand Prime Minister and UN Secretary-General candidate Helen Clark will attend with director-producer Gaylene Preston for the World Premiere of her documentary My Year with Helen.
These Festival guests join an incredible line-up with some of the world’s most exciting filmmakers and industry stars, both local and international.
Festival audiences can see and hear from Oscar-winning actor and political activist Vanessa Redgrave, Hollywood based Emmy-winning actor Ben Mendelsohn, Cannes-winning Indigenous director Warwick Thornton, 2017 Berlinale Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize winner Alain Gomis, 2017 Berlinale Golden Bear winner Ildikó Enyedi, Australian director-writer-producer David Wenham, Red Dog director Kriv Stenders, and acclaimed Indigenous actor and director Wayne Blair.
These luminaries and many more will join audiences at the premieres of their films, in talks, panels and at Q&A sessions. The Hub at Town Hall will also host FREE Meet the Filmmaker talks: a collaboration between the Sydney Film Festival and Vivid Ideas, part of the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney.
- Oscar-winning actor and political activist Vanessa Redgrave and producer and son Carlo Nero | Sea Sorrow | Cannes selected directorial debut by the 80-year-old about the global refugee crisis | Talk at The Hub (Saturday 17 June, 2pm)
- Former NZ Prime Minister and UN Secretary-General candidate Helen Clark and director-producer Gaylene Preston | My Year with Helen | Extended Q&A in the Town Hall Vestibule about the year-long project (Saturday 10 June 6:30pm)
- 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or contender Bong Joon-ho, Korean-American actor and The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun and Australian actor Daniel Henshall (Snowtown) | Okja | Closing Night | Netflix film starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Daniel Henshall and An Seo-hyun.
- Iranian-Dutch director-producer Arash Kamali Sarvestani and co-creator and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani, who will attend via Skype | Chauka Please Tell Us The Time | Documents the life of detainees, made from footage captured secretly on a mobile phone by Boochani | Extended Q&A with Sarvestani and Boochani at Town Hall (Sunday 11 June 2pm)
- Samoan New Zealander director Tusi Tamasese | One Thousand Ropes | The director of the first feature film written and directed by a Samoan (The Orator, 2011) presents his latest feature | Extended Q&A at Town Hall (Monday 12 June 4:15pm)
- Canadian producer Christina Fon and Cherokee executive producer Stevie Salas (named one of the top 50 guitarists of all time) | RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World | Sounds on Screen
- Award-winning Canadian independent filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming | Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany Of Rosie Ming | Animation voiced all-star US cast, including Sandra Oh, Ellen Page and Don McKellar | Talk: An Animated Conversation at Town Hall (Saturday 17 June 6pm) | Focus on Canada
- Haiti-born filmmaker Hébert Peck | I Am Not Your Negro | Oscar-nominated cine-essay on race in America narrated by Samuel L Jackson | Extended Q&A at Town Hall (Tuesday 13 June, 2:30pm)
- Afghan filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat | Wolf and Sheep | Europe! Voices of Women in Film | The youngest director ever selected for a Cannes Cinéfondation Residency | Talk: In conversation with European Women Filmmakers (Sunday 11 June, 12pm)
- 2017 Berlinale Golden Bear winner, Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi | On Body and Soul
- 2017 Berlinale Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, French director Alain Gomis | Félicité
- 2016 Venice Silver Lion for Best Director winner, Mexican director Amat Escalante | The Untamed
- Award-winning Syrian-Finnish actor Sherwan Haji | The Other Side of Hope - won the 2017 Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Director
Europe! Voices of Women in Film:
Talk: In conversation with European Women Filmmakers (Sunday 11 June 12pm)
- UK filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach | The Levelling | Leach was last year awarded a £50 000 IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award by Cate Blanchett
- Georgian director-writer Rusudan Glurjidze | House of Others | Debut feature
- 2017 Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee Irish director Neasa Ní Chianáin and producer David Rane | School Life
- Macedonian actor turned artist turned director-writer Teona Strugar Mitevska | When the Day Had No Name
- Swiss actor Rachel Braunschweig | The Divine Order
- French novelist and filmmaker Amanda Sther | Madame | Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel star in the French romantic comedy.
- NZ director Florian Habicht | Spookers | Freak Me Out | A look at ‘scream park' Spookers, located on the site of a former psychiatric hospital near Auckland.
- Swiss director-writer with disability Manuël von Stürler | Lust for Sight | Screenability | Stürler sets out to define what it means to see when he is told by his doctor that he can’t see colours.
- Indian director Shubhashish Bhutiani | Hotel Salvation | Won the UNESCO Prize at Venice in 2017.
- Thai director-writer Anocha Suwichakornpong | By The Time It Gets Dark | The long-awaited second feature by Suwichakornpong (Mundane History, 2009).
- Shady Srour | Holy Air | Starred in the Oscar-nominated short Ave Maria (SFF 2016).
- Malaysian director-writer Ho Yuhang | Mrs K | Director reunites with veteran Hong Kong action star Kara Wai.
- Filipino director-writer Eduardo Roy Jr. and producer Ferdinand Lapuz | Ordinary People | Humanist drama won the People’s Choice Award at Venice 2016.
- South African director Akin Omotoso | Vaya | The true stories at the heart of this feature came from a writing workshop for homeless people in Johannesburg.
- Nepalese writer-director-producer Deepak Rauniyar | White Sun | Rauniyar’s first feature Highway, 2012, was the first Nepali film ever to be selected for a major international festival.
- Indian co-director Khushboo Ranka | An Insignificant Man | A portrait of political leader Arvind Kejriwal, aka 'The Bernie Sanders of India'.
- Filipino director-writer-producer Ramona S. Diaz | Motherland | Documentary about the busiest maternity hospital in the world in Manila.
- Canadian producer Hany Ouichou | Those Who Make The Revolution Only Halfway Dig Their Own Graves | Focus on Canada | Based on the Maple Spring student protests in Quebec, 2012.
- Hollywood based Emmy-winning actor Ben Mendelsohn | Una | Official Competition | Stars alongside Rooney Mara in debut feature from celebrated Australian theatre director Benedict Andrews | Talk at The Hub (Saturday 10 June, 2pm)
- Cannes-winning Indigenous director Warwick Thornton, producer Brendan Fletcher and film team | We Don’t Need a Map | Opening Night + Official Competition + First Nations | Investigates Australia’s complicated relationship with the Southern Cross | Talk at The Hub (Sunday 11 June, 3.45pm)
- Director-writer-producer David Wenham | Ellipsis | Directorial debut | Talk: Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture with David Stratton (Monday 12 June 4pm) | Jury Chair of the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship
- Director Kriv Stenders and cast Bryan Brown, Jenny Wu, Miah Madden and Sean Keenan | Australia Day | Takes place over one Australia Day with an all-star Australian cast | Talk: Diversity on Australian Screens at Town Hall (Friday 16 June 6pm)
- Director Kriv Stenders and singer-songwriter Robert Forster | The Go-Betweens: Right Here | Sounds on Screen | Intimate look at ’70s Aussie rock-band The Go-Betweens.
- Up and coming actress Danielle Macdonald | Patti Cake$ | Actress in her breakthrough US role from US director Geremy Jasper.
- Acclaimed Indigenous actor and director Wayne Blair and cast | Cleverman 2 | The Box Set + First Nations | The first two episodes from the highly anticipated second series of Cleverman.
- Director-writer Hollie Fifer, protagonist Joe Moses and producer Rebecca Barry | The Opposition | A David-and-Goliath battle over a slice of Papua New Guinea paradise will screen following court action in Australia.
- Director-producer Karina Holden; “shark girl” Madison Stewart; world-famous shark expert Valerie Taylor; marine scientist and free-diver Lucas Handley; research scientist Jennifer Lavers; and environmentalist Tim Silverwood | Blue | DAF| Environmental doco about the state of the earth's oceans with a special focus on the Great Barrier Reef.
- Marine scientist and ‘Godfather of Coral’ Dr. John ‘Charlie’ Veron and reef aquarist Zackery Rago | Chasing Coral | Discusses the dire fate of coral reefs by filming the phenomenon ‘coral bleaching' with the Great Barrier Reef taking centre stage.
- Director-writer Erica Glynn and producer Darren Dale | In My Own Words | First Nations + DAF | A heartfelt journey of adult Aboriginal students and their teachers as they discover the transformative power of reading and writing for the first time.
- Director-writer-producer and Ngarluma man Tyson Mowarin | Connection to Country | First Nations + DAF | Looks at the struggle of the indigenous people of the Pilbara (WA) to preserve cultural heritage from the ravages of a booming mining industry.
- Sherpa (SFF 2016) director-writer Jennifer Peedom | Mountain | The world premiere will screen with a live musical score by the Australian Chamber Orchestra at the Opera House (VIVID Live).
- Director-writer-producer Gregory Erdstein, writer-producer-star Alice Foulcher, actress Isabel Lucas and film team | That’s Not Me | Feature debut from Erdstein influenced by Girls and Bridesmaids | Talk: Low Budget? No Worries at Town Hall (Monday 12 June 6pm)
- US TV show Modern Family director Jeffrey Walker and actor and comedian Osamah Sami and members of the film team | Ali’s Wedding | Australia's first Muslim romantic comedy | Talk: Diversity on Australian Screens at Town Hall (Friday 16 June 6pm)
- Debut feature from WA based director-writer Stevie Cruz-Martin, and writer-producer-star with disability Daniel Monks | Pulse | Screenability | Body swap drama blending sci-fi with sexual teen angst and identity crisis.
- Director-writer Sarah Barton | Defiant Lives | DAF | Documents the rise and triumph of the disability rights movement following eight years of work.
- Director Sascha Ettinger Epstein (Destination Arnold – SFF2016) and subject - the “Madame” Simone Kearsley | The Pink House | DAF | About Kalgoorlie's (remote mining town in WA) last original gold rush brothel.
- Shaun Gladwell and Leo Faber | Virtual reality pioneers of ground-breaking VR collective BADFAITH present 13 immersive VR works at the Festival Hub | Talk at The Hub (Tuesday 13 June, 5pm)
- Award-winning cinematographer Ari Wegner | Lady Macbeth | Adaptation of Nikolai Leskov's novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk.
- One of Australia's leading documentary filmmakers Tom Zubrycki and subject and South Sudan refugee Zacharia Machiek | Hope Road | DAF | A South Sudan refugee takes part in a 40-day fundraising walk from Tweed Heads to Sydney to raise money to build a school in his home town.
- WA filmmaker Ben C. Lucas and the film team | OtherLife | Debut feature Wasted on the Young was nominated for the Sydney Film Prize in 2010; new science fiction thriller based on the popular novel, Solitaire, by Kelley Eskridge | Talk: Low Budget? No Worries at Town Hall (Monday 12 June 6pm)
- US based, Adelaide born director Matthew Salleh | Barbecue | Gourmet Cinema + DAF | A culinary and cultural exploration of the barbecue traditions across the globe.
- Autobiographical doco from director-writer-subject Su Goldfish | The Last Goldfish | DAF | Follows Goldfish's search for her lost family stretching from Australia to Trinidad and WWII Germany.
- British born, Australian based documentary filmmaker Luke Walker | PACmen | DAF | Looks into the men behind the SuperPACs (independent political committees that support a candidate with unlimited, often anonymous donations) that persuaded Dr. Ben Carson to run for President.
- Director-producer Kate Hickey and US roller dancer Terrell Ferguson | Roller Dreams | DAF | An in-depth look into the vibrant roller skate dancing scene of Venice Beach, California.
- Inspirational filmmaker Rhiannon Bannenberg | Rip Tide | Family Program | Perfectly-pitched tween feature filmed around Wollongong, Kiama and Shellharbour (NSW).
- Director-writer Kirsten Carthew | The Sun at Midnight | Focus on Canada | Debut feature shot in Canada’s remote Northwest Territory.
- Director-producer Pat Fiske | Rocking The Foundations
- Director Samantha Lang and producer Sandra Levy | The Well
Feminism & Film: Sydney Women Filmmakers, 1970s & ’80s:
- Co-directors Susan Lambert and Sarah Gibson | Behind Closed Doors
- Filmmakers Martha Ansara and Jeni Thornley | Film for Discussion
- Co-directors Megan McMurchy, Margot Nash, Margot Oliver and Jeni Thornley | For Love or Money: A History of Women and Work in Australia
- Producer Martha Ansara | First Nations | My Survival as an Aboriginal
- Co-directors Helen Grace and Erika Addis | Serious Undertakings
- Director Laleen Jayamanne | A Song of Ceylon
- Filmmaker Carolyn Strachan | Two Laws
- Director Margaret Dodd | This Woman is Not a Car
- Co-directors Robin Laurie and Margot Nash | We Aim to Please
Sydney Film Festival runs 7 – 18 June 2017.
Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2017 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.