Family Program Announce

11 May 2016

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival announces a program of seven family-friendly programs, to screen at the Festival, with weekend daytime sessions to suit families and children of all ages. The Festival is also delighted to welcome teenagers to screenings for the first time.

93 Festival feature films are rated 15+ making them accessible to audiences under the age of 18 years old; a result of changes to the Australian classification rules allowing the Festival to assess films using the criteria set out in the National Classification Code, instead of applying the 18+ mandatory default classification required in previous years.

Family Films Programmer Clare Sawyer said, “This year’s selection will take audiences on a journey from 19th Century Russia with the 2015 Annecy Animated Film Festival Audience Award-winner Long Way North, to contemporary France and Canada with Miss Impossible and Coconut Hero. Some eagerly awaited studio films have also been included in the mix, and for the first time teens between 15 and 18, hungry for diverse and edgy cinema, will have a plethora of choice.”

Festival audiences can be the first to see two of the most anticipated family films of the year: adventure comedy Ice Age: Collision Course and the Cannes-selected The BFG directed by Steven Spielberg. Adults too will love this program, which is brimming with festival-quality feature-length films suitable for all ages including Coconut Hero, the new Australian feature Girl Asleep, Long Way North and Miss Impossible.

A special selection of animated short films from around the world, for children aged three and above, have been curated by the Festival’s animation specialist Malcolm Turner and can be seen in the Kids Animation Showcase (Saturday 11 June, 12:00pm).

The SFF 2016 family program includes:


USA | 2016 | 110 Minutes | In English

Director: Steven Spielberg | Producers: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer

Screenwriter: Melissa Mathison | Cast: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton,

Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader

Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s The BFG tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country.


Germany, Canada | 2015 | 101 mins | In English | Australian Premiere

Director: Florian Cossen | Screenwriter: Elena von Saucken| Producers: Jochen Laube, Fabian Maubach | Cast: Alex Ozerov, Bea Santos, Krista Bridges | World Sales: Beta Cinema

This warm-hearted Canadian feature revolves around the baby-faced Mikey, a loner who seems to blunder everything – even a suicide attempt. When the obituary he listed runs in the local paper anyway, Mikey is humiliated, but a network of vibrant supporting characters help restore his faith in life’s pleasures. Sensitive to the difficult issues it deals with, this sweet indie depicts hope, despair and small-town life in an idiosyncratic and intimate way.


Australia | 2015 | 77 mins | In English

Director: Rosemary Myers | Screenwriter: Matthew Whittet | Producer: Jo Dyer | Cast: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Matthew Whittet | Distributor: Umbrella Entertainment

A festival hit that turns being a confused 14-year-old into a unique world of wonder. Rosemary Myers’ feature debut is a journey into the absurdities of the teenage mind. Navigating puberty in 1970s suburbia, Greta doesn’t want to grow up. Her surprise birthday party is on track to be the worst night of her life – until she’s flung into an odd fairy-tale universe with a warrior princess. Filled with wild musical flourishes and moments of colourful theatrics, Girl Asleep resists the adult world as much as its lead character.


USA | 2016 | 100 mins | In English | VIP Premiere

Directors: Mike Thurmeier, Galen T Chu | Screenwriter: Michael Berg | Producer: Lori Forte | Cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Simon Pegg, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jessie J | Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Distribution

Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.


France, Denmark | 2015 | 81 mins | In French with English subtitles

Director: Rémi Chayé | Screenwriters: Claire Paoletti, Patricia Valeix, Fabrice de Costil | Producers: Ron Dyens, Claus Toksvig, Henri Magalon | Cast: Christa Théret, Féodor Aktine, Antony Hickling | Distributor: Rialto Distribution

Gorgeously animated and joyously told, this enchanting tale of a girl’s journey to the North

Pole will charm audiences young and old. Both the 19th century Russian Court and Sasha’s family have given up on ever seeing her adventurer grandfather, but courageous 15-year-old Sasha sets out to prove them all wrong. Fans of female-led adventure stories like Brave and Frozen will be equally captivated by this award winning animation.


A special selection of animated short films chosen for a discerning your audience. Expect lots of clever animals, plenty of laughs and the odd scary moment for good measure! Suitable for children aged 3-8 years


France | 2016 | 90 mins | In French with English subtitles | Australian Premiere

Director: Emilie Deleuze | Screenwriters: Emilie Deleuze, Marie Desplechin, Laurent Guyot | Producers: Tatiana Bouchain, Patric Sobelman | Cast: Léna Magnien, Raphaëlle Doyle, Patricia Mazuy | World Sales: Doc and Film International

Aurore is never happy; not with her family, school, teachers or friends. And unlike her sisters, she’s a real handful! It’s going to take a gutsy new teacher, not scared off by her insolence, and some young guys in a cool band who want Aurore to join them, for her to break through and find her true and better self. With gentle humour, the film demonstrates that when you’re 13 years old, everything is easier said than done.