Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sydney Film Festival jury update

I love that I'm giving you my first Sydney Film Festival update before I've even written my launch preview (I did already write one for 3D World so it's not like I've been entirely lazy). The festival announced today that joining Australian director and Jury President Rolf de Heer in selecting the Official Competition winner will be Australian actress Miranda Otto and Danish director Lone Scherfig whose feature An Education is also the Closing Night film.

Last year's 55th Sydney Film Festival was the first time it had held a competition as part of the event, which this year runs from 3-14 June. Last year it was Steve McQueen's much-vaunted Hunger that took home the $60,000 prize off the back of winning the Un Certain Regard in Cannes. It's extremely hard to pick an early front runner this year but my money is increasingly on Rachel Ward's Australian film Beautiful Kate, a completely blind prediction mind you.

Full press release after the bump, and keep your eyes on Dark Habits for more Sydney Film Festival news, previews and reviews and some other exciting developments. I gotta dash, got a date with a Terminator...



Australian actress Miranda Otto and Danish director Lone Scherfig will join Jury
President Rolf de Heer as judges of the Official Competition at this year’s Sydney
Film Festival.

The 12 films in the competition will screen across the festival and then the winning
film will be awarded the Sydney Film Prize at the festival’s Closing Night Gala
Screening of An Education, directed by juror Lone Scherfig (14 June 2009).

“I am really proud to announce that two outstanding women will join Jury President
Rolf de Heer on the Official Competition Jury. Miranda Otto and Lone Scherfig bring
great intelligence and integrity to determining the winner of the Sydney Film Prize
from the twelve ‘courageous, audacious and cutting-edge’ films in the line-up” said
Clare Stewart, Festival Director today.

Miranda Otto is one of Australia’s leading international actresses, well known for her
role in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Return of the King and The Two Towers. She
appeared in the US series Cashmere Mafia and most recently she worked on the
upcoming Australian feature film Blessed.

“I’m excited to be able to immerse myself in this selection of bold and audacious
films, cinema often gives us a reflection of what is happening around the world at any
given point in time. To work with Rolf de Heer along with other members of the jury –
is a real honour,” said Miranda Otto today.

Lone Scherfig is the Danish director of An Education, starring Peter Sarsgaard,
Carey Mulligan and Emma Thompson. SFF’s Closing Night film, An Education is a
coming of age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life
changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

Born in Copenhagen, Lone has collected 22 awards for her work including a
FIPRESCI award and a Silver Bear Jury Prize at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival for
Italian for Beginners (2000). An Education is Scherfig’s second English language
film after Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.

SFF’s Official Competition is now in its second year and offers the largest cash prize
for film in Australia. The FIAPF-accredited competition for ‘new directions in film’
rewards courageous and audacious filmmaking and is supported by Events NSW
with the $60,000 cash prize provided by Hunter Hall Investment Management.

The 12 Official Competition films are:

World premieres: Rachel Ward’s Beautiful Kate and Khoa Do’s Missing Water.

International premiere: Tsai Ming-liang’s Face (Visages)

Australian premieres: Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric, Sebasti√°n Silvia’s The Maid
(La Nana), Steve Jacobs’ Disgrace, Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope’s Antiplano,
Nicholas Winding Refn’s Bronson, Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Del√©pine’s
Louise-Michel, Alexey German Jr’s Paper Soldier (Bumazhnyy Soldat), Henry
Selick’s Coraline, and Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience.

The final two jury members will be announced prior to the Opening Night Gala on 3
June. "