What to Watch at Sydney Film Festival 2018
This will be my fourth year attending the Sydney Film Festival my favourite film event of the Sydney calendar!
Bigger news still, this will be the first year ROLL CREDITS is officially invited to cover the festival as accredited media - I have attended before under the banner of other media outlets, but this year I am working for myself! Finally! It's been a long road to score this press badge #girlboss
The most commonly uttered sentence from me:
"There are always so many great movies worth watching and not enough hours in the day."
Sound like something you can relate to? Well keep reading for my guide to the movies I'm excited for from the Sydney Film Festival program (so far)!
As of the date of this blog post (April 10, 2018) we have only seen a "program preview" drop from SFF which means this list will not be a full comprehensive program guide.
Once the complete program is live, you can see it here
Film festivals are the absolute epicentre of what's new in film. Not for those big studio blockbusters with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of marketing campaigns. I'm talking about the smaller, more niche films. The films that don’t get giant billboards and posters plastered over city buses. (NOTE: However it’s becoming common practice for the middle tier of 10-30million dollar movies to sit in festival slots now too - that's a seperate discussion).
Festivals are where the benchmark is set for the performance of smaller movies and their distribution runs over the next 12 months. Movies that receive high praise at festivals generally secure themselves a date for general theatre release later down the track (as oppose to a direct VOD or Netflix release).
A carefully devised festival campaign is just as essential to the life and death of a movie than the very production itself!
According to the annual festival calendar, the Sydney Film Festival sits a few months back in the schedule. This means that film buzz and reviews have already landed for films selected and screened earlier in the year at festivals like Cannes, Sundance and South by Southwest.
As the program for this years Sydney Film Festival #SFF2018 continues to shape up, I am already doing my research to see what is generating the most interest from critics and what I should add to my ‘Sydney film festival must see’ list. Keep reading for my top picks so far...
Oscar-winner (A Fantastic Woman, SFF 2017) Sebastián Lelio’s new film is about the love affair between two women (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams) in an Orthodox Jewish community.
Ronit (Weisz) is a New York-based photographer, long estranged from her rabbi father and her life in London. When the respected rabbi dies, Ronit returns to pay her respects and claim her inheritance.
The welcome she receives is not exactly warm, and there’s poor news on the inheritance front too. Ronit is taken in by her childhood friend Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) and his wife Esti (McAdams). Ronit and Esti had a passionate affair when they were younger and the old attraction simmers, but soon desire comes up against duty and faith. Gloria (SFF 2013) and A Fantastic Woman showed that Lelio is a sensitive and perceptive chronicler of desire and sexuality. With Disobedience, he has made a delicate, emotional and rewarding film.
Three terrifying tales unfold in this anthology by Jeremy Dyson (The League of Gentlemen) and Andy Nyman (Dead Set). Martin Freeman features in this classy British chiller.
Three screaming cheers for the return of the British horror anthology! And what a grand return this is. Professor Philip Goodman is a professional debunker of psychics and all things paranormal. After exposing yet another fraud on the cheesy TV show he hosts, Goodman receives a package from an academic he once idolised. The contents propel Goodman into a series of investigations that force him to confront everything he doesn’t believe in. And it gets worse, much worse. Superbly evoking a drab gothic England of rising damp, peeling wallpaper, musty pubs and stale tobacco, Ghost Stories is a scary and wickedly clever fright fest that’ll give you a mountain of goosebumps. We dare you to enter this Vault of Horror!
Nicolas Pesce follows his monochrome nightmare The Eyes of My Mother (SFF 2016) with a colour-saturated tale of deviant desire and unspeakable urges starring Mia Wasikowska.
Reed is a seemingly ordinary husband and father. Except that he has an uncontrollable urge to kill. On a “business trip,” Reed checks into a hotel and calls an escort service. His plan to murder sex worker Jackie turns out to be anything but straightforward. Pesce’s lusciously filmed adaptation of Ryū Murakami’s 1994 novel delves into the darkest domains of human nature. Christopher Abbott and
Mia Wasikowska deliver outstanding performances as a perpetrator and victim whose notional roles reverse and reset multiple times during an extremely feverish night. Killer production design and a fabulous soundtrack of classic giallo tracks by Bruno Nicolai and legendary outfit Goblin complete the utterly compelling picture.
I USED TO BE NORMAL: A BOYBAND FANGIRL STORY
The coming of age stories of four Melbourne women whose lives were changed forever by their love of boybands Backstreet Boys, One Direction, Take That and The Beatles.
Melbourne filmmakers Jessica Leski and Rita Walsh interviewed three generations of fangirls. The women are not, as you might expect, hysterical and hormonal teenagers. They are obsessive, sure, but also insightful and vulnerable. Their ages reflect the bands they adore: the oldest of the quartet being a fan of the Fab Four. The youngest, Elif, lives at home with parents, who fail to appreciate her One Direction devotion. Sydneysider and Take That fangirl Dara can’t understand her own obsession with heartthrob Gary Barlow. Loving a boyband has helped the women through difficult times, and shaped their relationships, faith, and sexuality. Ultimately though, they’ve all found joy in the fandom world.