The full 12 day film festival program for the 58th Sydney Film Festival, which opens on Wednesday, June 8-19, 2011 encompasses 161 titles: 75 features, 39 documentaries, 34 short films, 13 retrospective titles, 10 World premieres, 86 Australian premieres, 42 countries, 47 languages and 29 Australian productions (1 retrospective, 6 features, 10 documentaries, 12 short films).

The Australian premiere of espionage thriller Hanna – directed by Joe Wright (Atonement) and starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana – will kick start the 2011 Sydney Film Festival.

The festival will host its Closing Night Gala at the State Theatre on Sunday 19 June at 7.45pm, with the Australian premiere of Beginners, directed by Mike Mills and featuring Ewan McGregor (SFF’s 2010 guest for Ghost Writer), Christopher Plummer and Mélanie

Stars Jack Black, Lucy Liu, Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and CEO of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg will be at Sydney Film Festival to introduce the Australian premiere of Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D. The stellar cast also includes Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, James Hong, Gary Oldman, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Victor Garber.

Competitive Sections

The 12 titles in this year’s Official Competition line-up are:
• Direct from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, two Australian films will have their Australian premieres at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival: Sleeping Beauty (Official Competition at Cannes) and Ivan Sen’s Toomelah (Un Certain Regard at Cannes)
• Also direct from screenings at Cannes are The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, directed by Terrence Malick (Official Competition at Cannes) and Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, starring Academy Award® Nominee Michael Shannon (Critics’ Week at Cannes)
• Two award-winners from Berlin Film Festival will also compete: Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation which won Best Film and both Best Acting awards for its ensemble cast and Joshua Marston’s The Forgiveness of Blood which won Best Screenplay.
• Bold and inventive films from Spain – Fernando León de Aranoa’s Amador; Russia – Alexander Zeldovich’s Target and Egypt – Mohamed Diab’s Cairo 678 are also having their Australian Premieres in the Official Competition selection.
• Completing the line-up are the three previously announced films – Attenberg by Athina Rachel Tsangari; The Future by Miranda July and Norwegian Wood directed by Tran Anh Hung.

The FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize acknowledges excellence in local documentary production and is open to factual films of any length. The jury awards a cash prize of $10,000 which is presented at SFF’s Closing Night ceremony on Sunday 19 June.

The 10 selected finalists to be shortlisted for this year’s FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize include films on subjects as diverse as climate change, rollerskating and sexual expression.

The finalists are:
Carnival Queen: Director, Producer: Amy Gebhardt
A Common Purpose: Director, Producer, Screenwriter: Mitzi Goldman
Dancing with Dictators: Director: Hugh Piper | Producer: Helen Barrow
The Hungry Tide: Director, Producer: Tom Zubrycki
I’m Not Dead Yet: Director, Producer: Janine Hosking
Life In Movement: Directors, Screenwriters, Producers: Bryan Mason, Sophie Hyde
My America: Director: Peter Hegedus | Producers: Peter Hegedus, Jane Jeffes, Trish Lake
Rollerboy: Directors, Screenwriters: Jayson Sutcliffe, Polly Watkins | Producer: Beth Frey
Scarlet Road: Director: Catherine Scott. Producer: Pat Fiske.
Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure: Director, Screenwriter: Matthew Bate | Producers: Sophie Hyde, Matthew Bate

The prestigious Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films have launched and aided the careers of many Australian filmmakers and have been sponsored by Dendy Cinemas for 23 years.

The nominees are:

Live Action:
• At the Formal: Director, Screenwriter: Andrew Kavanagh. Producer: Ramona Telicican.
• Comfortable: Director, Screenwriter: Laura Dudgeon. Producers: Mathew Chuang, Laura Dudgeon.
• Cropped: Director, Screenwriter: Dave Wade. Producer: Bettina Hamilton.
• The Palace: Director, Screenwriter: Anthony Maras. Producers: Anthony Maras, Kate Croser.
• Peekaboo: Director, Screenwriter: Damien Power. Producer: Joe Weatherstone.
• Tethered: Director, Screenwriter: Craig Irvin. Producer: Ashley Harris.
• Two Laps: Director, Screenwriter: Owen Trevor. Producer: Lucas Jenner.

• Fragments: Directors, Producers: George Varettas, Cosmin Hrincu
• The Missing Key: Director, Screenwriter: Jonathan Nix. Producers: Garth Nix, Anna McFarlane, Jonathan Nix.
• Nullarbor: Directors: Alister Lockhart, Patrick Sarell. Producers: Katrina Mathers, Merrin Jensen, Patrick Sarell, Daryl Munton.

SFF developed the Pathways concept to establish an intuitive, experiential set of categories that would help Sydneysiders answer the question “What sort of film do I feel like seeing tonight?”

Gear up for some high-octane action or fuel the fires of controversy with:13 Assassins (Miike Takashi, Japan), Cirkus Columbia (Danis Tanovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (José Padilha, Brazil), Even the Rain (Icíar Bollaín; Spain, France, Mexico), POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Morgan Spurlock, USA), Senna (Asif Kapadia, UK) and Tabloid (Errol Morris, USA). Sponsored by Maurice Lacroix.

Art from the heart of cinema’s foremost emotional explorers, sometimes sweet and often passionate: 33 Postcards (Pauline Chan; Australia, China), All About Love (Ann Hui, Hong Kong) The Beaver (Jodie Foster, USA), Black & White & Sex (John Winter, Australia), The Good Life (Eva Mulvad, Denmark), Jane Eyre (Cary Joji Fukunaga, UK), Medianeras (Gustavo Taretto; Argentina, Germany, Spain), Old Cats (Sebastián Silva and Pedro Peirano, Chile), Project Nim (James Marsh, USA), Sacrifice (Chen Kaige, China), The Salt of Life (Gianni di Gregorio, Italy), Terri (Azazel Jacobs, USA), Three (Tom Tykwer, Germany) and Tomboy (Céline Sciamma, France). Supported by SBS.

Be amused, amazed and sometimes appalled at what’s so funny: Animals Distract Me (Isabella Rossellini, USA), Cedar Rapids (Miguel Arteta, USA), Exporting Raymond (Phil Rosenthal, USA, Russia), The Guard (John Michael McDonagh, Ireland), Happy, Happy (Anne Sewitzsky, Norway), Surviving Life (Jan Švankmajer; Czech Republic, Slovakia), The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, UK), Top Floor Left Wing (Angelo Cianci, France) and Win Win (Tom McCarthy, USA).

Guest programmer Richard Kuipers’ screamadelic selections mean you no longer have to wait until midnight for a serious fright: Corridor (Johan Lundborg and Johan Storm, Sweden), End of Animal (Jo Sung-hee, South Korea), Hobo with a Shotgun (Jason Eisener; Canada, USA), Kill List (Ben Wheatley, UK), Mutant Girls Squad (Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura and Tak Sakaguchi, Japan), Septien (Michael Tully, USA), Stake Land (Jim Mickle, USA), The Troll Hunter (André Øvredal, Norway) and Tucker & Dale vs Evil (Eli Craig, Canada).

The journeys are endless and they start right here: Boxing Gym (Frederick Wiseman, USA), HERE (Braden King, USA), How to Start Your Own Country (Jody Shapiro, Canada),
I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhangke, China, The Netherlands), Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, USA), My Reincarnation (Jennifer Fox; USA, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland), Position Among the Stars (Leonard Retel Helmrich, Netherlands), Le Quattro Volte (Michelangelo Frammartino; Italy, Germany, Switzerland), Silent Souls (Alexei Fedorchenko, Russia) and Sleeping Sickness (Ulrich Köhler; France, Germany, Netherlands). Sponsored by Tourism NT.

Test your emotional boundaries and find the edge where the personal and the political are contested: The Arbor (Clio Barnard, UK), Armadillo (Janus Metz, Denmark), Black Venus (Abdellatif Kechiche, France), Brownian Movement (Nanouk Leopold; Netherlands, Germany, Belgium), The Ditch (Wang Bing; Hong Kong, France, Belgium), Hail (Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Australia), How to Die in Oregon (Peter D Richardson, USA), Khodorkovsky (Cyril Tuschi, Germany), Life, Above All (Oliver Schmitz; South Africa, Germany), Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sean Durkin, USA), Post Mortem (Pablo Larraín; Chile, Mexico, Germany), Third Star (Hattie Dalton, UK), The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr; Hungary, France, Switzerland, Germany) and Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, UK).
Specialised Programs

Jack Black, Lucy Liu, Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and CEO of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg will be at Sydney Film Festival to introduce the Australian premiere of Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D on the public holiday Monday 13 June, 6.30pm, at Vmax 1 & 2, Event Cinemas George Street.

Other great family films screening in the Festival are:
• Africa United – an energetic and enjoyable story featuring three Rwandan kids as they hit the road to soccer’s World Cup.
• The charming animated feature The Great Bear, a Nordic tale (in English) featuring a host of wonderful creatures including a giant beer, a herd of mini-moose and puddles full of rainmaking frogs.
• The 3D animation Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage, is a romantic turtle tale voiced by John Hurt and Dominic Cooper.
• A new 35mm print of Jafar Panahi’s classic The White Balloon screening as part of the Free Panahi and Rasoulof tribute program.

Processes are uncovered, approaches are dissected and results are revealed in mediums ranging from the painting to the plate: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog, USA), Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (Alex Stapleton, USA), El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (Gereon Wetzel, Germany), Jiro Dreams of Sushi (David Gelb, USA), A Letter to Elia (Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones, USA), and The Mill and the Cross (Lech Majewski; Poland, Sweden).

Music and film are inseparable dance partners,and films about music make for some of the most compelling cinema created: Ain’t in it for My Healt: A film About Levon Helm (Jacob Hatley, USA) Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (Michael Rapaport, USA), LENNONYC (Michael Epstein, USA), Mama Africa, a film about Miriam Makeba(Mika Kaurismäki; Germany, South Africa, Finland), Microphone (Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt) and Sing Your Song a film about Harry Belefonte(Susanne Rostock, USA).

Also as part of SOUNDS ON SCREEN:
• SFF & Vivid Creative Sydney present the Australian Premiere of Alex Munt’s musically-inspired ‘pop art film’ LBF. The film’s screening on Friday 10 June will be following by a live performance from bands featured in the film Fergus Brown, Kids at Risk and Tortoiseshell DJ set.
• Dingo – A new preservation of print of Rolf De Heer’s 1991 feature, Dingo, starring Colin Friels and Miles Davis.

These films tackle the issues impacting on our environment with fresh and often surprising perspectives: Cool It (Ondi Timoner, USA), If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Marshall Curry, USA), Letters from the Big Man (Christopher Munch, USA) and Windfall (Laura Israel, USA). Sponsored by Toshiba.

The festival’s line-up of short films which screen before features are: Bear (Nash Edgerton,Australia); Bird (Jane Shearer, Steve Ayson, Gregory King; New Zealand); Bunce (Peter Cattaneo, UK); Charcoal Burners (Piotr Zlotorowicz, Poland); Deerfall (Kate McLaughlin, UK); Hackney Lullabies (Kyoko Miyake, Germany); Heavy Heads (Helena Frank, Denmark); Il Capo (Yuri Ancarini, Italy); James Dean (Lucy Asten Elliot, UK); The Lady with the Dog (Damien Manivel, France); Library Of Dust (Ondi Timoner, Robert James, UK); A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation (Martin Wallner, Stefan Leuchtenberg; Germany); Pass the Salt, Please (Tatjana Najdanovic,USA); Paths of Hate (Damian Nenow, Poland); Scenes from the Suburbs (Spike Jonze; USA, Canada);
A Screening at the Tatry Cinema (Igor Chojna, Poland); Sugar (Jeroen Annokkeé,
The Netherlands); Susya (Dani Rosenberg, Yoav Gross; Israel, Palestinian Territories);
The Wind (Marcio Salem, Brazil); Tiong Bahru (Desperate Optimists – Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor with Singapore community; Singapore); Tremblay-en-France (Vincent Vizioz, France).

All-day cable marathons and full-season DVD sets of shows like Mad Men, Twin Peaks and The Wire have changed the way we watch TV. Immersing ourselves entirely in an imagined world one episode after another is now one of our most popular pastimes. SFF, in partnership with AFTRS, brings you Australian premieres of two stunning examples of cinematic television in mini-marathons at AFTRS’ comfy theatrette.

This Is England ’86 Shane Meadows’ first foray into television-making sees him return to the characters of his provocative, BAFTA-winning feature film This is England (2006). Three years on and things have changed for the motley band of outsiders just as things have changed in Thatcher’s Britain.

Dreileben: Pt. 1 Beats Being Dead; Pt. 2 Don’t Follow Me Around; Pt. 3 One Minute of Darkness This compelling three-part series plays like the love-child of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Lars Von Trier’s The Kingdom born in the Thuringian Forest of former East Germany. Three directors – Dominik Graf, Christian Petzold and Christoph Hochhäusler – approach the same tabloid article, about a criminal escaping from police custody, each from a different story perspective.

There would be few cinephiles unaware of events over the last year concerning Jafar Panahi and his younger filmmaking colleague, Mohammad Rasoulof, which culminated in their receiving a six-year jail sentence and a twenty-year prohibition on leaving Iran or participating in the film industry. (The sentence is currently, as of May 2011, under appeal.)

The Sydney Film Festival will honour award-winning Iranian director Jafar Panahi and his colleague Mohammad Rasoulof by screening a selection of their work: Panahi’s The Circle, The Mirror, Crimson Gold, Offside, The White Balloon and short film The Accordion; Mohammad Rasoulof’s Iron Island and The White Meadows and the Australian Premiere of Gesher, directed by Vahid Vikilifar, produced by Rasoulof and edited by Panahi.
SFF is proud to have acquired a new 35mm print of the White Balloon to ensure the film will remain accessible for audiences in years to come. Rated G, The White Balloon screens as a family matinee on Public Holiday Monday 13 June at 12.20pm, State Theatre.

Cannes Film Festival has announced that this year the Carrosse d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award for courage will be bestowed on Panahi.

SFF invites you to flounce down a sweeping staircase past a patently-fake vista and into five of the best 1950s Hollywood melodramas of Douglas Sirk. Commercial successes for Universal Studios, they were critically maligned at the time. Reinterpreted by filmmakers from Reiner Werner Fassbinder (Fear Eats the Soul) to Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), and reclaimed by feminist and neo-Marxist critics in the 70s and 80s for their social critiques, they remain pervasively influential, with hit TV series Mad Men also drawing deep from the Sirkian well of stylistic excesses, loaded subtexts and shimmering surfaces. His five showcased films are Magnificent Obsession, All that Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind, There’s Always Tomorrow and Imitation of Life.

New projects

The premieres of two new films created from up-loaded content give a glimpse of a powerful new direction in cinema. YouTube has revolutionised and democratised the moving image around the world. It was instrumental in creating both Life in a Day and WE WERE HERE: The Map My Summer Film – the latter of which is a special collaboration between Screen Australia, YouTube and Sydney Film Festival.
Life in a Day For this ground-breaking user-generated project, Academy Award®-winning director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void) teamed up with YouTube and executive producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott to create a feature-length documentary shot in a single day – 24 July 2010 – from thousands of hours of footage submitted by people all over the world. Australian Premiere

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