Sydney Film Festival Guest Announce

11 May 2016

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival announces the first list of stars and filmmaker guests to attend the Festival 8-19 June.

These distinguished industry guests will attend the Australian and world premieres of their films, walk the Festival’s red carpets, introduce their films and participate in talks, panels and Q&A sessions. Please note: there will be further announcements of Festival guests late May. For the most up-to-date information, visit

Avast array of FREE talks, panel discussions and events, traversing a huge range of topics will once again take place at the Festival Hub. 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. Sydney Film Festival’s Meet the Filmmaker series at the Apple Store, Sydney will also return.

Highlights include:

Award-winning Indigenous Australian auteur Ivan Sen of acclaimed feature films Beneath Clouds (Silver Bear; 2002 Berlinale), Cannes selected Toomelah (Sydney Film Festival Official Competition; 2011), and Mystery Road, which opened the Sydney Film festival in 2013; will attend the Festival for the world premiere of his fourth feature film Goldstone. Sen also wrote, shot, edited and scored the film, which has been selected to compete in the Festival’s prestigious Sydney Film Prize: for courageous and cutting-edge filmmaking.

The director will introduce his film on opening night alongside the film’s producers David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin. Sen and Jowsey will appear at a free Meet the Filmmakers Talk at the Apple Store, Sydney on Saturday 11 June, 5:00pm. They will also appear at the Vivid Ideas in partnership with Sydney Film Festival, AFTRS Black Talk, A Double Bill: Indigeneity And Australian Screen Storytelling on Sunday 12 June, 4:00pm at the Festival Hub Town Hall. The event will showcase leading creative voices and leading Indigenous auteurs and filmmakers.

Academy Award-winning director-actor Mel Gibson (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto) will attend the Festival to present his Cannes selected film Blood Father from French director Jean-François Richet, which screens in Special Presentations at The State Theatre.

Gibson, will discuss his role in Blood Father and his latest directorial offering Hacksaw Ridge ("In Conversation With Mel Gibson") at the free Vivid Ideas in partnership with Sydney Film Festival Hub talks, Wednesday 15 June, 5:00pm.

Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will attend the Festival to present her two films, A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, following 160 predominantly Muslim Bangladeshi policewomen on a difficult mission overseas, and A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness, her short film about honour killings in Pakistan. She will also share her experiences as a woman making films in Pakistan at a Vivid Ideas in partnership with Sydney Film Festival Hub free talk on Monday 13 June, 12:00pm.

Young Australian director-actor Abe Forsythe will attend the Festival’s world premiere of his provocative black comedy Down Under, with an all-star Australian cast (Lincoln Younes, Rahel Romahn, Damon Herriman, David Field and Marshall Napier), the film is set during the aftermath of the Cronulla Riots.

Australian theatre veteran Stephen Sewell will attend the Festival for his directorial debut with the erotic political thriller Embedded. Sewell’s two interactive experimental films: Deluge, dealing with devastating Cyclone Yasi (Queensland 2011), and Nebula, a dream work exploring relationships between the human and natural worlds, have their world premieres in the Festival’s Beyond Cinema program at the University of New South Wales’ 360-degree 3D world leading iCinema (8 – 18 June).

The Festival will host five of European Cinema’s hottest female filmmakers: acclaimed Serbian actress Mirjana Karanović, Swedish visual artist and documentary filmmaker Sara Jordenö, Danish filmmaker Frederikke Aspöck whose films have screened at Cannes, one of Poland’s most talented filmmakers Agnieszka Smoczynska, and actress and director Nicolette Krebitz from Berlin. The filmmakers will attend the Festival to present their films to audiences as part of the Festival’s new initiative European Cinema: 10 Women Filmmakers to Watch, in partnership with European Film Promotion and Variety. The program showcases 10 new films by 10 of Europe’s most promising female storytellers, providing a platform for women’s voices.

Academy Award-winning American filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, SFF 2013) will attend the Festival to present his music documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble about the legendary cellist and a diverse group of dedicated musicians. He will also attend a free public Meet the Filmmaker talk at the Apple Store, Sydney Saturday 18 June, 11:45am.

Acclaimed Once Were Warriors director Lee Tamahori reunites with Temuera Morrison in Mahana, his first New Zealand film in two decades. Together with Akuhata Keefe all three will attend the Festival as well as a free Meet the Filmmaker Apple Store Sydney talk Sunday 12 June at 4:30pm.

The Festival will host directors from seven of the films selected for Sydney Film Festival’s Official Competition, The Sydney Film Prize: Australian Ivan Sen (Goldstone), Singaporean Boo Junfeng (Apprentice), Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho (Aquarius), South African director Oliver Hermanus (The Endless River), British filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney (Notes on Blindness), prolific contemporary Indian director Anurag Kashyap (Psycho Raman), and Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach (Viva), will attend the Festival and present their films to audiences.