SXSW Sydney Unveils Major Film Screening Component

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The SXSW Sydney festival has set a 75-film screening schedule for its first edition. The selection skews heavily towards music, but is also distinctly international.

Headline titles include re-edited Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense,” “Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles,” an exploration of iconic Australian musical act The Wiggles; drill rap documentary “Onefour: Against All Odds,” directed by Gabriel Gasparinatos; and the widely-acclaimed “Ryuichi Sakamoto: Opus,” directed by Neo Sora.

“The first ever SXSW Sydney Screen Festival aims to platform the most exciting new voices, new forms and new ways of creating on screen. We hope to inspire our audiences and industry, by unwrapping the future of screen innovation as it emerges,” said Ghita Loebenstein, the festival’s head of screen. “Like our Austin counterparts, our festival presents global programming from leading creators, and our unique offer is this distinctive Asia Pacific lens. We also thematically lean into our sister pillars across music, games and tech, celebrating where our forms and communities converge.”

The festival will open with the previously-announced Australian premiere of Kitty Green’s “The Royal Hotel,” with Green and Hugo Weaving in attendance. The Australian premiere of aristocratic thriller “Saltburn” from “Promising Young Woman” director Emerald Fennell, is set as another gala event.

The Visions main section, showcasing emerging cinema in narrative, documentary and hybrid, includes: “Agra” (India), directed by Kanu Behl; “All Ears” (China), directed by Liu Jiayin; South Korea’s Oscar contender “Concrete Utopia,” directed by Um Tae-hwa; cutting-edge Chinese animation “Deep Sea,” directed by Tian Xiaopeng; “Like & Share” (Indonesia), directed by Gina S. Noer; “Mars Express” (France), directed by Jéréme Périn; “Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story” (U.K.), directed by Bruce Fletcher, Otto Baxter and Peter Beard; “Sahela” (Australia), directed by Raghuvir Joshi; “The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution” (U.S.), directed by Ondi Timoner; “The Rooster” (Australia), directed by Mark Leonard Winter; “This Is Going to Be Big” (Australis), directed by Thomas Charles Hyland; and “Uproar” (New Zealand), directed by Hamish Bennett and Paul Middleditch.

The ten-film Midnighters section includes: “In Flames” (Pakistan-Canada) by Zarrar Kahn; “Monolith,” by Australia’s Matt Vesely; and Jason Yu’s insomnia drama “Sleep,” which premiered in Cannes and has headed the Korean box office for the past two weeks.

A TV premieres section comprises: episodes from SBS and Screen Australia’s latest Digital Originals series Korean-Australian horror anthology “Night Bloomers”; Korean romantic comedy “Doona!,” starring retired K-pop sensation Bae Suzy; Indian-Pakistani love triangle drama “The Pink Shirt”; SBS’s “Erotic Stories,” an anthology of erotic and intimate stories told from fresh perspectives; and Australian adventure special “The Disposables,” directed by Renny Wijeyamohan and Sonia Whiteman.

The SXSW Sydney festival runs Oct. 15-22 with all film screenings at either Darling Harbour Theatre at ICC Sydney or the Palace Cinemas Central.

Disclosure: Variety-owner P-MRC is a significant investor in South by Southwest, the parent company of the annual SXSW festival.

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