Cinema fanatics rejoice! Christmas may as well have come early, because the Sydney Film Festival has just announced the first 28 films for the 2017 program, plus a brand new venue.
In addition to the same venues as last year, including Dendy Newtown and Opera Quays, Event Cinemas George Street, the State Theatre, Cremorne's Hayden Orpheum, Casula Powerhouse, and Skyline Drive-In in Blacktown, film fans can also flock to iconic, art deco Randwick Ritz. There will also be activities and interactive works at Sydney Town Hall, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Pitt Street Mall during the festival.
Of the 28 films just announced as part of the 2o17 program, some of the highlights include the much-hyped, low-key and very tender drama A Ghost Story, starring Rooney Mara and Oscar-winner Casey Affleck, and the documentary feature I Am Not Your Negro, which brings the never-finished novel by the great James Baldwin Remember This House to life as a radical document of race relations in the United States narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
Other highlights include the exceptional Sally Hawkins as Canadian folk singer Maud Lewis in Maudie, the throwback martial arts action movie Mrs K, a film from Afghanistan's first female director and the youngest filmmaker ever selected for the Cannes Cinèfondation Residency Wolf and Sheep, and a documentary biography of the everlastingly great Whitney Houston.
The focus on documentaries is stronger than ever, with many subjects including the divisive Winnie Mandela, the presence of Native Americans in American blues and rock music, and the aftermath of the Iraq War in Baghdad just a few of the fascinating, heretofore untold stories put to the screen. For those with a mutual love of sound and vision, one event not to be missed is the glorious images of the documentary Mountain, which were shot by one of the world's greatest adventure cinematographers, accompanied live by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Like every year, films from all around the world will make their Australian debuts thanks to the Sydney Film Festival, and many great works of Australian film will find their audience. This is a celebration of film of all varieties - serious, silly, horrifying, heartbreaking, inspiring, or thought-provoking. To take a look at the 28 films in full, head to the Sydney Film Festival website.
The full program for the 2017 Sydney Film Festival will be announced on Wednesday the 10th of May, and the festival itself will take place from the 7th to 18th of June. So start planning now, and grab a Flexipass, because this is going to be huge!