A night at the movies and the BLOOM Gin Garden at the Sydney Film Festival Hub

Thanks to BLOOM gin, I was given a Sydney Film Festival experience which included movie tickets to a movie of my choice and drinks and a cheese platter at the BLOOM Gin Garden at the Sydney Film Festival Hub.

The movie we watched was Pop Eye, a movie set in Thailand about a disenchanted architect who is having the crowning glory of his career, Gardenia Square, demolished to make way for a new mega-building that will grace the skyline of Bangkok. Being excluded from being part of this new architectural project, he leaves his office feling disenchanted and has a chance encounter with his childhood pet, an elephant called Pop Eye, which he repurchases. Pop Eye was sold to the circus by his family when he left his village for the big smoke. Realising that he cannot keep Pop Eye in his modern designer home, he embarks on a long arduous journey, mostly by foot with Pop Eye, to return him to the village where his uncle still resides. Along the way, he meets a few interesting characters and ends up finding that things have changed and will never be the same again.

After the movie, we headed to the BLOOM Gin Garden at the Sydney Film Festival Hub Bar in Sydney’s Lower Town Hall which was serving BLOOM Gin’s signature cocktails: BLOOM Classic G&T (made with BLOOM gin, Fentimans tonic water and a strawberry garnish) and BLOOM Rosé (made with BLOOM gin, Fentimans rose lemonade and a strawberry garnish).  We enjoyed our drinks with a lovely cheese platter.

BLOOM Premium London Dry Gin is a light, delicate and floral gin. It is created with a bespoke blend of three botanicals: honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo.

BLOOM London Dry Gin is distilled at the oldest distillery in the UK. Established in 1761 only seven Master Distillers have worked at the distillery in its 250 year history.

For more information about BLOOM gin, head to: https://www.bloomgin.com

Sydney Film Festival Hub launches at Sydney Town Hall

The Sydney Film Festival Hub launched on Thursday 9 June 2016 at Sydney Town Hall.

The Hub at Sydney Town Hall is the Festival’s beating heart. This meeting place for film lovers is home of the Festival Bar and features over 25 free events, talks and performances presented over the 11 days and nights of the Festival.

Come in from the cold and make yourself comfortable in exclusive designer furniture from Living Edge and Herman Miller.
Enjoy a drink or a snack from the Festival Bar, see an exhibition, listen to a talk upstairs, recharge your phone and jump on the free wi-fi!

For tickets call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au

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Sydney Film Festival opens with the world premiere of the Australian film Goldstone

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival opened on 8 June 2016 at the State Theatre with the world premiere of Australian film Goldstone.

Festival Director Nashen Moodley was pleased to open his fifth Festival to a packed auditorium including; the film’s director Ivan Sen; producers David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin; actors Aaron Pedersen, David Gulpilil, Michelle Lim Davidson, and Tom E. Lewis.

Goldstone is the fourth feature by award-winning filmmaker Ivan Sen and stars Aaron Pedersen who reprises his role of Indigenous detective Jay Swan, who audiences first met in Sen’s Mystery Road, which opened Sydney Film Festival in 2013.

Shot on location in the remote settlement of Middleton (population 3) in outback western Queensland, the film is a gathering of some of the best Australian actors, including Jacki Weaver, David Wenham, David Gulpilil, Cheng Pei-pei, Michelle Lim Davidson and Tom E. Lewis.
Other attendees from the Goldstone cast included: Ivan Sen (director), David Jowsey  (producer), Greer Simpkin (producer), Aaron Pedersen (cast) and Max Cullen (cast).

Other attendees included: Simon Baker (The Mentalist), Hugo Weaving (Mystery Road – SFF2014), Sam Neill (The Daughter – SFF2015), John Jarrett (Wolf Creek), Michael Caton (Last Cab to Darwin – SFF2015), Bryan Brown (Beautiful Kate), Damian Walsh-Howling (MESSiAH – SFF2016 & Mystery Road SFF2014), Matt Day (Rake), Daniel MacPherson (TV Presenter) Stephen Sewell (Embedded), David Stratton OAMMargaret Pomeranz AMJan Chapman AOGillian Armstrong (Women He’s Undressed – SFF2015), Bruce Spence (Mystery Road – SFF2014), Zoe Carides (Mystery Road – SFF2014), Tasma Walton (Mystery Road – SFF2014), Hunter Page-Lochard (Cleverman), Tysan Towney (Cleverman), Clayton Jacobsen(Kenny), Ewen Leslie (Top of the Lake), Simon Field (SFF Official Competition Jury Chair), Grainne Humphreys (SFF Official Competition Jury), Robert Connolly (SFF Official Competition Jury & The Boys), Troy Grant, (Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Racing), Alex Greenwich (MP).

Sydney Film Festival runs 8 – 19 June 2016.
Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2016 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit
sff.org.au for more information.

Matt DayLexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Matt DayLexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016

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Billy & Jack ThompsonLexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Billy & Jack ThompsonLexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Lexus Cocktail Party at The Hub for Sydney Film Festival 2016 Wednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sam Neill & Hugo WeavingSydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sam Neill & Hugo WeavingSydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Nashen Moodley, Chris Freeland, The Hon. Troy Grant MP, Ivan Sen, Aaron PedersenSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Nashen Moodley, Chris Freeland, The Hon. Troy Grant MP, Ivan Sen, Aaron PedersenSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Chris Freeland, The Hon Troy Grant MP & Nashen MoodleySydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Chris Freeland, The Hon Troy Grant MP & Nashen MoodleySydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
David Stratton, David Gulpilil, Tom E Lewis & Ford SarhanSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
David Stratton, David Gulpilil, Tom E Lewis & Ford SarhanSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Chris Freeland & Lord Mayor Clover MooreSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Chris Freeland & Lord Mayor Clover MooreSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Roy Billing & Linda TizardSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Roy Billing & Linda TizardSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Simon Baker & Bryan BrownSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Simon Baker & Bryan BrownSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sam Neill & Hugo WeavingSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sam Neill & Hugo WeavingSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Daniel MacPherson & James TobinSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Daniel MacPherson & James TobinSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Daniel MacPherson & James TobinSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Daniel MacPherson & James TobinSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Helen & Michael CatonSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Helen & Michael CatonSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sam Neill & Hugo WeavingSydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sam Neill & Hugo WeavingSydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
David GulpililSydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
David GulpililSydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 - Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016
Sydney Film Festival 2016 – Opening NightThe State Theatre, Market St, SydneyWednesday 8th June, 2016Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016

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​​​SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES NEW FILMS, DIRECT FROM CANNES

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival announces eight important new films and one restoration will screen as part of the 2016 Festival8-19 June.

Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, “The Festival is very pleased to announce another six feature films, two documentaries, and one short film, have been added to the program, which now stands at 254 films presented over the 12-day Festival.”

“All nine films come direct from Cannes to Sydney Film Festival including Korean director Park Chan-wook’s sensual, twist-filled tale The Handmaiden; FIPRESCI Prize winner Maren Ade’s clever and original comedy about the complexities of familial relationships, Toni Erdmann; Jim Jarmusch’s popular Cannes hit Paterson, a gentle, quietly moving portrait of a bus driver poet and his artistic wife and Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, a spooky ghost story starring Kristen Stewart.”

“Two true stories will also screen: a critically acclaimed heart-warming tale about India’s travelling picture shows, The Cinema Travellers, by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya; and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’ Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy, a film to honour the victims of Hissein Habré’s brutal dictatorship, tracing their long fight for justice,” he said.

Marlon Brando’s revenge western One Eyed-Jacks, in which he also starred, will bring the dusty Mexican countryside and wild Californian coastline to Sydney Film Festival. The only film directed by Brando, this exquisite restoration by Universal Pictures and The Film Foundation, which premiered at Cannes 2016, was overseen by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, who has named the film his ‘favourite western’.

The Red Turtle, a dialogue-free, animated fable by Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli and London-based artist Michaël Dudok de Wit, is sure to delight and surprise audiences in equal measure.

The final film added to the festival is The Beast, a funny and powerful South African short film which played at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

Tickets go on sale from 10am on Monday 6 June. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.

Synopsis for these special screenings:

THE BEAST (SHORT) screens with Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy
In this hilarious and powerful short film, Shaka, the star performer at a Zulu cultural village, dreams of finding a more fitting outlet for his acting talents. He expresses his frustrations to his co-workers as he sits on display for tourists. When he reaches the end of his tether, his protest reaches Shakespearean proportions.

THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS
A critically acclaimed, poignant documentary that celebrates India’s travelling picture shows and laments their demise, filled with exquisite visuals and marvellous eccentrics. In the world of the touring cinema, the projectionists coax their rusty 35mm projectors into life, sleeping and eating alongside their ancient machines. It’s a far remove from Australia’s multiplexes, but the crowd is no less enraptured. Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya’s heart-warming documentary, filmed over five years, follows the fortunes of three cinema workers in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. Bapu, the proprietor of Akshay Touring Talkies, gets ready for the season by brushing cobwebs from his broken-down truck, and blessing his ancient projector with incense. Mohamed and his crew haul an enormous tent and weighty projector around small-town fairs, where the audience sits on the stony ground. For 45 years, Prakash has repaired touring projection equipment, abandoned cogs and parts now fill his workshop, alongside the ‘oil bath’ projector he invented, and for which he once held big dreams. Declining audiences and ever fewer celluloid options force Bapu and Mohamed to shift to a digital format. Cinephiles will be heartbroken when an ancient projector is sold for scrap, but can be reassured that the movies endure, brighter and sharper than ever.

Screens Wednesday 15 June, 6.00pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Saturday 18 June, 3.00pm, Event Cinemas George Street (includes introduction and Q&A).

THE HANDMAIDEN
Visually sumptuous and very sexy, The Handmaiden is a stunning and suspenseful period drama by acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-wook (Old Boy; Stoker, 2013). Inspired by Sarah Water’s novel ‘Fingersmith’, Park cleverly transposes the story to 1930s colonial Korea and Japan to tell a sensual, twist-filled tale. Sookee (Kim Tae-ri) is hired as a handmaiden to the repressed and isolated Japanese heiress Hideko (Kim Min-hee), who lives with her domineering uncle. Though servile and charming on the surface, Sookee has been planted in the household by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count (Ha Jung-woo). His plan is to seduce and elope with Hideko and take possession of her considerable fortune. But all is not what it seems, and when the intense attraction between Sookee and Hideko explodes, all bets are off. Visually arresting, unashamedly erotic and romantic, The Handmaiden finds Park at his stylish best.

Screens Saturday 18 June, 9.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Sunday 19 June, 8.50pm, Event Cinemas George Street.

HISSEIN HABRÉ, A CHADIAN TRAGEDY
In his Cannes-selected documentary, the multi-award winning director of A Screaming Man and Grigris (SFF 2013) honours the victims of a brutal African dictatorship and their long fight for justice. In June 1982, rebel commander Hissein Habré forcefully took control of the Central African Republic of Chad. Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun was one of the many exiles from Habré’s punishing regime, which lasted until 1992. The ruthless political police – supported by the USA, France, Egypt and Iraq – were expected to keep the population in line. Haroun meets the men and women, often bearing mental and physical scars, who survived the regime’s brutal campaign of harassment and imprisonment. The resulting interviews are disturbing but ultimately inspiring. Through their courage and determination, the victims accomplished an unprecedented feat in the history of Africa:that of bringing a Head of State to trial. In 2013, the former dictator was arrested in Senegal. The outcome of Habré’s landmark trial was announced on 30 May 2016, where he was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity, summary execution, torture and rape.

Screens Thursday 16 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Sunday 19 June, 2.00pm, Event Cinemas George Street.

ONE EYED-JACKS
The magnificent and magnetic Marlon Brando directed and starred in this newly restored, brooding revenge western, largely set on California’s rocky coast. This 1961 film is loosely based on the legend of Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid. Brando plays a charming rogue, Rio (nicknamed ‘The Kid’), who is betrayed by his bank-robber accomplice and mentor Dad Longworth (Karl Malden, who appeared with Brando in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire and 1954’s On the Waterfront), and left to rot in a Mexican jail. When Rio escapes, after five long years, his only goal is revenge. Discovering that Longworth is now the sheriff of Monterey, he heads across the border to California. His old outlaw buddy is outwardly a reformed man, with a wife (the terrific Katy Jurado, best known for High Noon), and a doe-eyed stepdaughter Louisa (Pina Pellicer, who won Best Actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival for her performance). Rio sets out to seduce the naïve Louise and rob the local bank, but passion and the double-crossing Sheriff Longworth thwart his malicious plans.

Sam Peckinpah wrote the original script, but Brando wasn’t happy with it, so Stanley Kubrick and Calder Willingham (Paths of Glory, The Graduate) became involved. When that fell through, Brando decided to direct the film himself. He shot six times more film than planned, took six months instead of twelve weeks, and went four million dollars over budget. Despite being nominated by the Directors Guild of America and winning the overall prize at San Sebastian, Brando never directed again.

Cinematographer Charles Lang, Oscar-nominated for his work, uses the dusty Mexican countryside and wild Californian coastline to stunning effect. Brando is equally mesmerising in this exquisite restoration from Universal Pictures and The Film Foundation, overseen by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, who has named One-Eyed Jacks his ‘favourite western’.

Screens Saturday 18 June, 9.45am, Event Cinemas George Street, and Sunday 19 June, 6.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street.

PATERSON
Paterson, Jarmusch’s popular Cannes hit, is a gentle, quietly moving portrait of a bus driver poet (Adam Driver, Girls) and his artistic wife (Golshifteh Farahani, About Elly). Paterson (Driver) drives his daily bus route in the city of Paterson, New Jersey, carefully observing the city and people around him. He follows the same routine each day: waking up, going to work, walking the dog, eating dinner at home with his wife Laura (Farahani) and ending the night with a single beer at the local bar. But Paterson is also a poet, and each day he writes a poem in his notebook, finding contentment in its very existence. Meanwhile, Laura finds outlets for her artistic ambitions and harbours dreams of becoming a country musician. Patiently paced, and revealing the beauty in the details of everyday life, Paterson further confirms Jarmusch as a master chronicler of small but profound moments.

Screens Tuesday 14 June, 9.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Thursday 16 June, 8.30pm, Event Cinemas George Street.

PERSONAL SHOPPER
Kristen Stewart shines in this spooky ghost story by Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria, Clean), which earned him the Best Director prize at Cannes 2016. Stewart (who also stars in Certain Women, which screens in Official Competition at SFF this year) plays Maureen, a young American woman living in Paris and working as a personal shopper for a celebrity. She spends her days perusing the city’s luxury designer stores, collecting fabulous pieces that she is forbidden from wearing and could never hope to own. Alongside her isolating job, Maureen pursues her psychic ability to communicate with spirits. All the while, she longs for a sign from her recently deceased twin, Lewis, who promised to send her a message from the other side. Stewart gives a commanding performance, subtly shifting between certainty and fragility. Things become stranger and stranger as it becomes apparent that an unfriendly spirit is pursuing Maureen. Following their successful collaboration on Clouds of Sils Maria, Assayas and Stewart reunite to create a daring, provocative and creepy existential drama.

Screens Wednesday 15 June, 9.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Friday 17 June, 8.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street. Screens with short The Beast.

THE RED TURTLE
The revered Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away) joined forces with London-based artist Michaël Dudok de Wit to create this stunning, dialogue-free, animated fable set on a desert island. A shipwrecked sailor washes ashore and explores his new home. He finds a sandy beach fringed by palm trees, a swaying bamboo forest, limpid freshwater pools and a rocky incline. It’s an earthly paradise that our lanky castaway is desperate to leave, but his escape plans are mysteriously thwarted. It’s a simple story, akin to fairy tales or myths, illustrated in exquisite line and colour, with spectacular dream sequences.

Dudok de Wit has won prizes the world over for his lyrical short films and commercials, including an Oscar for his 2001 short film Father and Daughter.  The outstanding creative team for The Red Turtle also includes Isao Takahata (The Tale of Princess Kaguya, SFF 2014) as creative producer, Jean-Christophe Lie (The Triplets of Belleville) as supervising animator, French director Pascale Ferran (Bird People) as co-screenwriter, and Studio Ghibli’s revered Toshio Suzuki (Howl’s Moving Castle, SFF 2015) as producer.

The visuals are mesmerising, symbolic, and charming – look out for the cute sand crabs – and invite the audience to interpret this timeless cycle of life story at their own pace. This unique feature, which premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last month, demands to be seen on the big screen.

Screens Friday 17 June, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Saturday 18 June, 5.30pm, Event Cinemas George Street.

TONI ERDMANN
Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes, Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann is a clever and original comedy about family bonds, modern business tactics and the value of just letting go. Practical joker Winfried (Peter Simonischek) has retired, and regrets that he doesn’t get to see enough of his busy daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller). Working as a management consultant in Romania, Ines is advising a company how they can increase profits by laying off workers. It’s not the most opportune time for a visit, but Winfried descends on Bucharest and is soon donning a terrible suit, strange wig and outrageous fake teeth. As his alter ego “Toni Erdmann”, a life coach, his intrusion into Ines’ life becomes bolder and more provocative, pushing his daughter to question her life, and the place her father should occupy in it. With fantastic, fearless performances from its leads, a bizarre sense of humour, and a real honesty in its treatment of the complexities of familial relationships, Toni Erdmann is a truly unforgettable cinematic experience.

Screens Wednesday 15 June, 8.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street, and Sunday 19 June, 8.15pm, Event Cinemas George Street.

Sydney Film Festival runs 8 – 19 June 2016.
Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2016 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit
sff.org.au for more information.

See the Director’s Picks at the Sydney Film Festival

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival (8-16 June 2016) held their per-festival drinks on Tuesday 24 May 2016 with great food from Abode Bistro at the Parkroyal Hotel Darling Harbour.

In 2016 the Festival will present 244 films from 60 countries including 25 World Premieres, representing hundreds of fresh perspective and new stories from across Australia and the world.

Nashen Moodley, Festival Director, announced his director’s pick, which included:

Hotel Coolgardie

A wryly observed documentary set in a tiny mining town somewhere between Kalgoorlie and Perth. Two Finnish girls on working visas, Lina and Steph, head to this remote spot for a three-month stint behind the bar of the local pub. It’s a tough gig. The girls contend with drunkenness, relentless sexual advances, and a belittling, bullying boss. The booze-addled patrons rant about failed relationships and female duplicity; it seems the girls’ only ally is the toothless, odorous local, Canman. The barmaids struggle to negotiate this unhealthy environment, with little by way of distraction. Gleeson’s warts-and-all debut is by turns shocking, amusing and unexpectedly moving.

Suntan

Is set on a sun-drenched Greek island and is about a middle-aged doctor becomes obsessed with a group of beautiful, frequently naked, young tourists in this sensual and disquieting drama.

Notes of Blindness

In the early 1980s, writer and theologian John Hull lost his eyesight after decades of steady deterioration, documenting his experience on audio cassettes. Upon publication, author and neurologist Oliver Sacks described Hull’s diaries as “The most extraordinary, precise, deep and beautiful account of blindness I have ever read. It is to my mind a masterpiece.” In 2013, Spinney and Middleton made an award-winning short film based on Australian-born Hull’s experiences entitled Notes on Blindness: Rainfall (SFF 2014). Hull’s profound life is now the inspiration for this breathtaking feature-length film. The filmmaking duo, with an approach akin to Clio Barnard’s The Arbor (SFF 2011), cast actors Dan Skinner and Simone Kirby to lip sync to Hull’s original recordings. The resulting film, and associated VR project (which can be viewed at the Festival Hub), is a remarkable re-creation of the author’s thoughts and observations that unearths the interior world of blindness. Hull was closely involved with the process before his death, aged 80, in July last year.

The Lure

Is unique Polish romance-horror-mermaid-musical that defies classification and deservedly won the Special Jury Award for Unique Vision and Design at Sundance 2016.

Rosita

Is a film with an funny and insightful look at immigration and arranged marriage, a young Filipino woman relocates to a fishing village in Denmark to wed a middle-aged widower.

Zach’s Ceremony

Ten-year-old Zach enjoys fishing and boxing with his dad Alec, and is looking forward to his initiation ceremony. It’s a vital part of his Indigenous heritage, marking the transition from boyhood to manhood. Growing up isn’t easy, and for Zach there are the added pressures of racism and city living – a long way from his father’s community in Far North Queensland. An Aboriginal activist, leader and actor, Alec is a devoted dad, but his strict parenting inevitably causes friction. Shot over six years, this is a remarkable portrait of a young man struggling with identity and his father’s expectations, as he heads towards adulthood.

Weiner

This is a absorbing exposé of Anthony ‘sexting scandal’ Weiner’s 2013 New York mayoral campaign which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

For a full program, go to: www.sff.org.au

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