Five World Premieres to Catch at the Sydney Film Festival

May 17, 2017
It's easy to get overwhelmed by everything at the Sydney Film Festival, but here's a fitful of debuts you're going to want to see.

We Don’t Need a Map

Director: Warwick Thornton

Hails From: Australia

What’s it About? The festival opener and in competition for the Sydney Film Prize, this documentary investigates Australia’s relationship with the Southern Cross through astronomical, colonial and Indigenous history. Cannes-awarded Indigenous director Warwick Thornton will also be in attendance to present his film, as well as joining the conversation with film writer Sandy George following the Sunday matinee screening.

Dates to Remember: Opening Night – Wed 7th June 7:30pm; In Conversation With Warwick Thornton – Sun June 11th 3:45pm, after the 1:35pm screening; Screening – Tues 13th June 4:35pm.


Director: David Wenham

Hails From: Australia

What’s it About? Wenham’s directorial debut is reads reminiscent of Before Sunset, a love letter to Sydney that follows two strangers (played by Benedict Samuel and Emily Barclay) that bump into each other on the street and the journey they take as they wander the city together. Wenham will be attending the festival, and you can also catch him with David Stratton at the Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture on Monday June 12th at 4pm, at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Dates To Remember: Screening – Thurs June 8th 6:20pm, Wed June 14th 8:15pm; Talk – Mon June 12th 4pm.

 My Year With Helen

Director: Gaylene Preston

Hails From: New Zealand

What’s it About? Acclaimed documentarian Gaylene Preston’s inspiring latest film tells the story of New Zealand’s first elected-female Prime Minister Helen Clark, and her campaign to be the United Nations’ first elected-female Secretary-General. This fittingly powerful documentary chronicles the campaign of a woman who has spent her entire life breaking glass ceilings, with Preston celebrating her achievements and recording her step forward towards equality. The June 10th screening will be accompanied by an extended Q&A with Preston herself.

Dates to Remember: Screening – Sat June 10th 4:20pm, followed by the Q&A at 6:30pm; Sun 11th June 5:30pm.


Director: Amanda Sthers

Hails From: France

What’s It About? The first of two Toni Collette features at this year’s SFF, Sthers’ film sees Collette’s Anne and her husband Bob (Harvey Keitel) have their maid pose as a Spanish noblewoman to even out numbers at their dinner party, but when she runs off with a British artbroker (Michael Smiley), Anne finds herself scheming to break them apart and get her maid back. A celebrated playwright, and despite over 15 years in the film industry, Madame is only the French Amanda Sthers’ second directorial feature. She will be a guest of the fest for this world premiere. The film has been snapped up by StudioCanal who will release the film later in the year.

Dates to Remember: Screenings – Mon June 12th 4:15pm and Tues June 13th 6:45pm. Amanda Sthers will participate in post-film Q&As at both screenings.

The Go-Betweens: Right Here

Director: Kriv Stenders

Hails From: Australia

What’s It About? From the director of beloved Aussie classic Red Dog comes this nuanced documentary uncovering the story behind classic rock band The Go-Betweens. From their beginnings in Brisbane as two singer-songwriters and their guitars to later adding new members, disbanding, and then reforming once again, Stenders’ unparalleled access and distinctive style gives his documentary an authenticity as it chronicles the successes, tragedies and everything in between of The Go-Betweens.

Dates to Remember: Screenings – Thurs. June 15th 6:30pm, Fri June 16th 8:15pm.

 For tickets, times, and the full Sydney Film Festival Program go to the official site.

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