Opening Night Gala 2019
Palm Beach

Directed by Rachel Ward
98 minutes
All Ages
In Rachel Ward’s funny, uplifting drama/comedy, a group of lifelong friends reunite for a party at Sydney’s Palm Beach; but tension mounts when deep secrets emerge.

With a fantastic cast including Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Richard E. Grant, Greta Scacchi, Jacqueline McKenzie and Heather Mitchell, Palm Beach raises universal issues through the prism of friendship. To mark his birthday, Frank (Brown) and Charlotte (Scacchi) decide to throw a three-day party at their luxurious house in Palm Beach, welcoming their closest friends. Frank, Leo (Neill) and Billy (E. Grant) were once involved in a band together; The Pacific Sideburns had one hit but little beyond that. Rounding out the guest list: Billy's partner, beautiful actress Eva (Mitchell); Leo’s wife Bridget (McKenzie) and his step daughter Caitlin (Frances Berry); the hosts' children Dan and Ella (Charlie Vickers and Matilda Brown); and Holly (Claire van der Boom), the daughter of the band's late lead singer, who’s brought along her new sheep farmer beau (Aaron Jeffery). The party starts well, with mouth-watering food and flowing champagne, but it doesn’t take long for new and old resentments to emerge and, more seriously, the

Join us for the Opening Night Gala Film + Party
A strictly limited number of tickets for the Opening Night Gala and after party at the stunning Centennial Hall are available. Here’s your chance to rub shoulders with SFF’s international and Australian guests and film industry personalities, drink cocktails and sample canapés in the heart of the city at Sydney’s premier film event. Ticketholders will gather under the imposing 25-metre wide grand organ of this amazing venue that’s over 115 years old and can indulge in a glass of Handpicked Wines, sip on the finest spirits from Archie Rose Distilling Co., or kick back with a beer from Young Henrys.  threat of an old secret coming to light. With witty dialogue, a breathtaking location and great actors at the top of their game, Palm Beach is an exuberant and life-affirming celebration of friendship.

See Rachel Ward's debut feature Beautiful Kate as well as additional screenings of Palm Beach
Rachel Ward discusses her long and diverse career in this year's Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture

Special Guest

Rachel Ward
and members of the film team
In her former life as an actor, Rachel Ward was the recipient of several international drama awards and nominations, including two Golden Globe nods. She has directed several short films including Blindman’s Bluff, The Big House and Martha’s New Coat. Her feature film debut Beautiful Kate (also playing at SFF this year) played at SFF and Toronto in 2009.


Wed 5 June
State Theatre
Past Event Cancel
Presented by
Program Strand
Opening Night, Selling Fast, Festival Guests
All Ages
In English
Premiere Status
World Premiere
Rachel Ward
Bryan Brown, Deborah Balderstone
Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Greta Scacchi, Jacqueline McKenzie, Richard E Grant
Joanna Murray-Smith, Rachel Ward
Bonnie Elliott
Nick Meyers
Seniors, Women Directors, World Premiere, Arts, Australian Films, Comedy, Focus on Women, Food & Drink
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