Sydney Film Festival has gone virtual allowing viewers nationwide

Order your movie snacks and get ready to settle in on the couch because this June, the Sydney Film Festival is coming to you.

Following the events of the coronavirus, it was announced that the 67th Sydney Film Festival will run virtually this year. So from Wednesday, 10 June to Sunday, 21 June, expect an all-new line-up of films to stream that will not just be available to Sydneysiders, but to cinephiles nationwide.

“Everything and nothing has changed,” says festival director Nashen Moodley. “We aren’t together in a dark cinema sharing new ideas and worlds – but film is still where we look for them. So, Sydney Film Festival is back this year with a virtual program available to all homes across Australia.”

This year’s special 67th Sydney Film Festival: Virtual Edition and Awards program will cover an array of Australian and international stories and perspectives across four strands:

Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Best Australian Documentary

Ten feature-length films will compete for the award presented at the SFF Virtual Awards Ceremony on Thursday 18 June. Among the contenders are some powerful First Nations stories including The Skin of Others, a compelling portrait of Aboriginal WWI soldier Douglas Grant’s life and Our Law, an exclusive snapshot of Western Australia’s first Indigenous-run police station. Other options beyond the border include The Leadership, chronicling the experiences of a group of international female scientists as they set sail for Antarctica under the guidance of Australian leadership expert Fabian Dattner, and A Hundred Years of Happiness, a moving observational look into the life of a young woman in rural Vietnam as she prepares to migrate to South Korea for an arranged marriage.

Europe! Voices of Women in Film

The virtual festival will screen ten new movies by women directors from different countries across Europe ranging from Germany to Finland, and Kosovo to Estonia. Highlights include A Perfectly Normal Family, which explores the complex relationship between a young girl and her transgender parent; Force of Habit, a Finnish anthology that questions gender stereotypes and the way women’s lives are conditioned in a post #MeToo era; and A Year Full of Drama, a social experiment which sees a young theatre first-timer take on a full-time job to review every production in Estonia for a whole year.

Sydney Film Festival 2020
A Perfectly Normal Family. Image: Supplied/Sydney Film Festival

Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films 

The Festival’s short film competition will feature virtual screenings of the top ten finalists competing for The Dendy Live Action Short Award, The Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and the Yoram Gross Animation Award. In the line-up is Ayaan, in which an escaped asylum seeker encounters an Indigenous man (Trevor Jamieson, Storm Boy) and must decide whether to trust him or journey on alone. As well as I Want To Make A Film About Women, a queer love letter to Russian revolutionary women artists of the 1920s; Obscura, an imaginative handmade stop-motion animation that looks inside our cameras to reveal the creatures living behind the lens and plenty more. 


The platform that celebrates screen practitioners with disabilities will also be returning this year with screenings of three cutting-edge short films including Safety Net directed by award-winning theatre director Anthea Williams, about a cheeky 12-year-old boy in emergency care. 

Sydney Film Festival 2020
Safety Net. Image: Supplied/Sydney Film Festival

Tickets and bonus features 

As per usual, you’ll need to purchase tickets for your session which are available per screening or in a package. Prices start at $5 for the Screenability shorts package, while an individual feature-film will cost you $14. Complete packages of either the Documentary Australia Foundation or Europe! Voices of Women (10 films) are priced at $99. For more details about tickets and the program, visit the SSF website.

It’s also worth noting that all films will screen with bonus material exclusively filmed for SFF, including filmmaker introductions and question and answer sessions.

And if you’re still craving more, you can binge-watch the Sydney Film Festival Selects collection on SBS On Demand which features 40 world-class cinematic gems from the Festival’s past, for free. These will be available from Wednesday, June 10 to Friday, July 10.

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