The 2017 Sydney Film Festival (June 7 to 18) opens with the world premiere of acclaimed Indigenous director Warwick Thornton’s Official Competition contender We Don’t Need a Map. Thornton will be in attendance to present his documentary on Opening Night, which investigates Australia’s relationship to the Southern Cross through colonial and Indigenous history to the present day.
The festival’s diverse film programs include the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary, showcasing 10 outstanding Australian documentaries. The schedule also features 15 big-ticket films in Special Presentations at The State.
In addition, 46 feature films include prize-winners of the world’s most prestigious festivals. A total of 35 international documentaries tackle essential contemporary topics from some of the world’s most renowned documentarians.
World premieres at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival include six Australian feature films beginning with Australia Day, Red Dog director Kriv Stenders’ hard look at the frayed edges of Australian society, with an all-star Australian cast (Bryan Brown, Shari Sebbens, Isabella Cornish, Matthew Le Nevez, and Sean Keenan).
Festivalgoers will be the first to see David Wenham’s directorial debut feature Ellipsis, a touching love letter to Sydney; tween feature Rip Tide with leading actress Disney star Debby Ryan; and inventive sci-fi thriller OtherLife from talented Australian director Ben C. Lucas.
Ten documentaries will contest the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary from Blue – an investigation into the state of the earth’s oceans dedicated to creating awareness and change – to The Pink House, the story of Kalgoorlie’s last original gold rush brothel, told through the eyes of Madame Carmel, 70, and its longest-serving lady of the night, BJ.
Other Australian stories competing include Barbecue, Connection to Country, Defiant Lives, Hope Road, In My Own Words, The Last Goldfish, PACmen and Roller Dreams.
VIVID Live, Sydney Film Festival and the Australian Chamber Orchestra will present Mountain LIVE, the World Premiere of Jennifer Peedom’s Mountain with live musical score by the ACO, at the Opera House on June 12 at 3 p.m.
Also playing in the Sounds on Screen program is the world premiere of Kriv Stenders’ documentary looking at 1970s Aussie rock-band The Go-Betweens in The Go-Betweens: Right Here.
The world premiere of French romantic comedy Madame, starring Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel, will also screen at the festival accompanied by the director-screenwriter Amanda Sthers.