The 2022 iteration of the Sydney Film Festival (SFF) marks his 69th outing. Throughout the 11-day festival, Sydneysiders will have the chance to see over 200 films from 64 countries, including 27 world premieres. The curation team behind the festival took great care to source 101 feature films, many of which won international awards, and 53 documentaries.
Nashen Moodley, Festival Director of 69th Sydney Film Festivalrecently sat down to talk with city hub and explained that it was great to return to the traditional festival dates in June.
“Of course, we really hope we don’t have any problems, but knowing that our Sydney community can come together like this after 3 years is a huge feeling of joy for the Festival team. The films in this year’s program have responded to difficult times of the pandemic, war and the rise of authoritarianism with many feature films about love and joy.
The SFF is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the most respected. “It is an important platform for filmmakers, local and international for a plethora of reasons and we strive to include the views and voices of filmmakers from diverse life experiences and backgrounds. The festival is also an opportunity for filmmakers and cinephiles to connect, a wonderful platform for young Australian filmmakers and it’s a way to celebrate Australian art and culture,” explained Moodley.
“VERY QUEER, VERY SYDNEY” FILMS ON THE BIG SCREEN
Craig Boreham is another Australian filmmaker whose career has been enriched by the SFF. He had success with his first feature film Teenage kicks in 2016 which was screened at the SFF and now he is thrilled that Lonelyher second feature, was also chosen to screen at this year’s festival.
Lonely tells the story of a young man (Josh Lavery) who leaves a small country town for Sydney. He hooks up and has an intense sexual encounter with another man (Daniel Gabriel) whom he meets through an app. This is the story of two men who meet.
“A relationship develops but neither of them are particularly equipped to have a relationship and it’s mostly about these two lost souls finding each other and making something of it,” explained Boreham who wrote, directed and co-produced the film. “The story is about things I like to explore, sexuality, power and desire – all good stuff!
“These two characters came from two short scripts that I had written, and I had an idea of what it would be like if they were cast together in one script. The story also contains bits of real people and reflections on my own stories It is not uncommon for rural homosexuals to go to the big cities because it is simply easier for them to be among their fellow citizens.
Boreham described Lonely as a contemporary love story, very Sydney, very queer and categorical, it is aimed at all audiences, regardless of gender. “We had the premiere in Seattle in front of a mixed audience and it went really well. I wrote it in such a way that it was from the perspective of a queer eye, so in some ways the audience straight has to catch up because some things aren’t spelled out, but no one seems to be struggling.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPOTLIGHT AT SFF
When asked if the SFF opens doors for local filmmakers, Boreham was quick to respond. “It really is, because it puts your work on the map. The SFF has an international reputation and just having your film on the program makes other festival programmers around the world take notice. C t is also the first time that my film has been presented at the State Theater and it is the ambition of a lifetime!
KIWI FILMS MAKE THEIR WAY THROUGH THE DIVIDE
Jackie van Beek is a New Zealand filmmaker who also found success at the SFF. His 2nd film project to be screened at the festival is Naked Tuesday in which she co-wrote and starred. The film screens at SFF from June 10 and opens nationwide in theaters on June 23.
Naked Tuesday is an Australian-New Zealand comedy about a conservative but dysfunctional suburban couple who attend a new age camp in the hopes that the experience will ultimately save their marriage. Beek plays Laura and Damon Herriman plays her husband Bruno.
“There’s been so many stories told about dysfunctional marriages in movies and I had the idea, in terms of miscommunication, to be a theme, and if we play it in a language that no one understands The whole film is spoken in gibberish language that opens the door to the absurd.
Beek explained that the humor of his latest film differs from that of his previous film. The Superior Breakers another comedy she co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in which opened the SFF in 2018.
“It’s a different flavor of comedy. The Superior Breakers was such a fun, colorful and playful comedy as Naked Tuesday is more absurd and because we’re all talking gibberish it doesn’t necessarily sound like an Australasian film.
Beek is honored to have the world premiere of her latest film at SFF. “I was so thrilled and then to find out it was going to be screened at the State Theater was even more delightful. The adrenaline is already rushing so exciting!
SFF IS MORE THAN FILM SCREENINGS
She also agrees that having a cinema screen at SFF can open doors for all the filmmakers behind and in front of the cameras. “My experience with film festivals has been fantastic in terms of the incredible networking opportunities and the opportunity to see films from around the world. There are often masterclasses and other things happening along the festivals, and I fully embrace those festival opportunities.
And what audience should this film be aimed at? “People who love comedy and given the element of gibberish, it should also appeal to people who love the language and love going to those quirky, quirky and unexpected films that are often screened at film festivals – basically at a brave audience!”
FLAMBATE – Australian drama centered on a teenage girl who, after witnessing a horrific crime, releases her imaginary dragon to move on. Stars Simon Baker and directed by the Australian artist and two-time winner of the Archibald PrizeDel Kathryn Barton.
FIRE OF LOVE – From the United States comes this exhilarating documentary filmed over two decades by geochemist Katia and geologist Maurice Krafft before their ultimate demise in 1991 due to a volcanic explosion on Mount Unzen in Japan.
SERIOUSLY RED – A charming Australian comedy that revolves around a redhead who gives up her day job to become a Dolly Parton impersonator. Elvis impersonators Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers and Kylie all join the party. Overloaded Dolly hits movie stars Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale.
IHAVE ICE – this Danish documentary explores the icy surroundings of Greenland and will captivate audiences as three scientists try to answer questions about our future climate. Visually stunning, this documentary must be seen on the big screen.