Festival Hub Announce

11 May 2016

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival announces the Festival Hub will return to Sydney Town Hall, bringing an expanded program of virtual reality films, talks, parties, and screen based art, to enrich the Festival experience.  

“An expanded and evolved Festival Hub returns to Sydney’s Town Hall for a fifth year,” said Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “The Festival’s extraordinary virtual reality film collection further augments the multisensory experience we want audiences to experience. It adds another layer of depth to the Hub; which is at once a contemporary screen-based gallery, a bar, a designer lounge, and a Festival meeting place for filmmakers, industry and festivalgoers alike,” he said.


Open to the public all nights, and select days from 9-19 June; the multi-disciplinary pop up is home to the Festival’s Beyond Cinema program headline act: Down the Rabbit Hole – Virtual Reality at the Hub.

Nine virtual reality films, from four Australian and five international filmmakers, programmed by Mathieu Ravier and presented in association with Jumpgate VR will screen for FREE. Designed to enchant, inspire, thrill and ultimately change viewpoints, audiences will put a variety of virtual reality headsets to the test including Samsung Gear VR and Facebook’s new Oculus Rift.

VR experiences include a stroll along the streets of Havana (A History of Cuban Dance), jumping onstage with Sydney Dance Company dancers (Stuck in the Middle with You), entering the world of a cattle farmer and one of Australia's top saddle bronco riders (Warwick Gold - Australian Rodeo), falling down the rabbit hole and into a Lewis Carroll-inspired music video (Fabulous Wonder.Land), finding out what it’s like to lose your sight (Notes On Blindness: Into Darkness), haunting an asylum (Madeleine), walking in the footsteps of a filmmaker’s army officer father in Chile’s Caravan of Death (Assent), experiencing the first-ever fully hand-drawn VR experience (Drawing Room), and stepping into an animated encounter with a lonely rose (The Rose and I).

A VR panel dealing with immersive storytelling hosted by writer Mike Jones, and a selection of VR filmmakers who have works screening at The Hub, will push the boundaries of film vs. visual art in Panel Discussion: Driving Down The VR Rabbit Hole.


Open to all, the Hub is also a Festival party space with free entry. Curated by Mathieu Ravier, parties include: Strike a Pose Silent Disco, following the screening of Strike a Pose, a film about Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour dancers who became ’90s poster boys for gay rights; the Cuban-themed Viva Cuba Party, featuring a live performance by Armandito & Trovason Quartet, following the premiere of Viva, a film about a troubled Cuban drag queen; and Sing Street 1985 School Disco, following the premiere of the Irish musical comedy set in ’80s Dublin, complete with stone-washed denim, and a soundtrack to match.


The chic Herman Miller Lounge returns brighter and more sophisticated than ever.  Premiering some fantastic new Herman Miller furniture, including the first presentation in the southern hemisphere of the Carafe Table by Australian designer Charles Wilson, as well as re-released classics including Nelson Bubble Lamps and Daybeds – designed by George Nelson in the ’50s; the Chadwick Modular seating showstopper by Don Chadwick, of Aeron office chair fame; Public Office landscape by Yves Behar’s Fuse Project; Eames Rockers; and much more.


Sydney Contemporary returns to the Hub for the second year with an exciting new exhibition, SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY: AUSTRALIA IN FOCUS. 13 Australian artists feature in this free video art exhibition exploring the different ways in which moving image techniques, such as super-slow motion, can be adopted and adapted by visual artists.


As always, the Hub offers a vast array of FREE talks, panel discussions and events, traversing a huge range of topics. Together with Vivid Ideas, part of the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, Sydney Film Festival presents seven talks and panels. Oscar-winning filmmaker-actor Mel Gibson will discuss his role in the Cannes selected film Blood Father and his latest directorial offering Hacksaw Ridge (In Conversation With Mel Gibson). Academy Award-winning Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy shares her experiences as a woman making films in Pakistan, following the screening of her feature A Journey of A Thousand Miles (Meet The Filmmaker: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy) hosted by Macquarie University’s Kathryn Millard.

Following a screening of her film A Flickering Truth, Pietra Brettkelly joins the National Film and Sound Archive’s Gayle Lake and Golden Age’s Kate Jinx to examine the cultural and heritage value of film in the discussion: Are Films Really Worth Keeping? And after a screening of the newly restored chilling thriller The Boys, the creative team reunites to discuss the film and its impact on their careers (The Boys Reunion).

Sydney Film Festival’s animation programmer Malcolm Turner gives an overview of the indie and alternative animation scene in Not So Black And White. And renowned film critic and guest programmer Tony Rayns interprets the Korean indie cinema scene in Korea on the Verge: Social Faultlines in Korean Cinema.

AFTRS Black Talk comes to the Hub with A Double Bill: Indigeneity And Australian Screen Storytelling. The first showcases leading creative voices: producers David Jowsey, Kylie Du Fresne and Ned Lander; the second features leading Indigenous auteurs and filmmakers Ivan Sen, Sterlin Harjo and Dylan River.

Foxtel Movies Film Screen interactive Photobooth will be in action for Festival snaps using clever technology, and the Program Gurus will be on hand to consult on Festival films and activities.