The 64th Sydney film festival begins

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The 64th Sydney Film Festival (7 – 18 June) opened on June 7, 2017 at the State Theatre with the world premiere of Australian film We Don’t Need a Map.

Festival Director Nashen Moodley was pleased to open his sixth Festival to a packed auditorium including the film’s director Warwick Thornton and producer Brendan Fletcher, alongside Timmy Murrmurrnga Burarrwanga, Djimbalal Ngurruwuthun, Terry Mununggurr, Adam Briggs and Gareth Liddiard, who feature in the film.

NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, said at the Opening Night Gala, “Each year as one of eight UNESCO Cities of Film around the world, Sydney welcomes thousands to take in two weeks of incredible discussion and diversity on the big screen. This year I am particularly proud to launch the Screenability program in partnership with the Department of Family and Community Services and Sydney Film Festival to extend the opportunities to see work produced by artists living with disability. From some of the very best in Australian storytelling to some of the highest profile international highlights, the festival and regional tour that follows is an opportunity to share our passion and diversity for a truly immersive experience of outstanding cinema and culture.”

City of Sydney Councillor Jess Scully, representing the Lord Mayor of Sydney also spoke, welcoming audiences to come and experience all the Festival has to offer, including the Festival Hub at Sydney Town Hall. “Sydney Film Festival is our opportunity to see the world through other people’s eyes, an annual dose of the empathy and diverse perspectives that we need in ever more polarised times. Sharing stories, expanding horizons and seeing the world from other angles is the ultimate News-Feed-bias-eliminator: exploring the world through film can catapult us out of our echo-chambers. I’m really looking forward to seeing everything the Sydney Film Festival has to offer over the next 12 days.”

Peter McGregor, Chief Executive of the Festival’s opening night partner Lexus Australia said, “Lexus applies and takes inspiration from craftsmanship, technology and innovation. In film, all these elements come together to make something truly unique and amazing. Through our partnership with the Sydney Film Festival, we are building on our support of emerging talent through creative initiatives such as the Lexus Design Award and the Lexus Short Film Series.”

“Last year we announced the Lexus Short Film Fellowship, a $200,000 investment in developing next generation filmmakers. This year we are excited to see the films of the four winning fellows from 2016, and we will also reveal the winning fellows of the 2017 Lexus Short Film Fellowship, with their films to premiere at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival. Our involvement in film is a progressive step forward for innovation, and a positive way for us to continue advancing art forms in Australia.”

We Don’t Need a Map is the work of acclaimed Indigenous director Warwick Thornton, winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes (2010) for Samson and Delilah. The film investigates Australia’s relationship with the Southern Cross through colonial and Indigenous history to the present day.

Also in attendance:  SFF Festival Patrons Jan Chapman AO, Gillian Armstrong AM, Bryan Brown; 2017 SFF Official Competition jury members, Jury President Margaret Pomeranz, Ann Marie Fleming, Rosemary Blight and Kini Kim; as well as Ellipsis director, Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship Jury Chair and Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture subject David Wenham.

A long list of SFF 2017 filmmakers and cast also attended, including; Kriv Stenders Australia Day and The Go-Betweens: Right Here director; Australia Dayactors Shari Sebbens, Jenny Wu and Mia Madden; Wayne Blair Cleverman director; Amat Escalante The Untamed director; Arash Kamali SarvestaniChauka Please Tell Us The Time director; Rip Tide director Rhiannon Bannenberg and producer Steve Jaggi; Osamah Sami Ali’s Wedding actor and writer;Jennifer Peedom Mountain director; Rachel Braunschweig The Divine Order actor; Shahrbanoo Sadat Wolf and Sheep director; Neasa Ní ChianáinSchool Life director; Teona Strugar Mitevska When The Day Had No Name director; Erica Glynn In My Own Words director; Ben Lucas OtherLife director;Hope Dickson Leach The Levelling director; That’s Not Me director Greg Erdstein and producer-star Alice Foulcher; Sascha Ettinger Epstein The PinkHouse director; Su Goldfish The Last Goldfish director; Hollie Fifer The Opposition director; Sarah Barton Defiant Lives director; Florian Habicht Spookersdirector;  Daniel Monks Pulse producer-star; and the recipients of the 2016 Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship: Anya Beyersdorf, Brooke Goldfinch,Alex Ryan and Alex Murawski.

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