We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land, and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose Country SFF are based.
We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

Opening Night Gala: We Are Still Here

Directed by Beck Cole, Danielle MacLean, Dena Curtis, Tim Worrall, Richard Curtis, Miki Magasiva, Mario Gaoa, Chantelle Burgoyne, Tracey Rigney, Renae Maihi
Australia, New Zealand
150 minutes
All Ages
Book Tickets
Save more with a Flexipass
Hurtling through space and time, We Are Still Here is an unparalleled First Nations celebration, interweaving eight stories by 10 directors from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Conceived as a cinematic response to the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s arrival in this region, We Are Still Here is a poetic and powerful statement of resistance and survival. Through eight heroic protagonists, the film traverses 1000 years exploring stories of kinship, loss, grief and resilience. It begins with a stunning animation set in ancient times, when a mother and daughter out fishing have a disturbing vision of the future. Then we are taken to 1862 where, in both Australia and New Zealand, Indigenous people confront the prospect of a terrifying future. In 1915, a Samoan soldier finds himself in a perilous situation, but also encounters an unexpected act of kindness. Alongside stories set in the past, there are also contemporary stories of activism, of confronting racism, of romance and of ancestral love. And finally, a vision of a dystopian future. Bringing together a range of genres – animation, sci-fi, romantic comedy, period drama – We Are Still Here is cumulatively a strident story of endurance in the face of colonialism, racism and attempted erasure. It is also evidence of thrilling new First Nations cinematic talent from our region.

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 wine from Chateau Tanunda, sip on the finest spirits from Brix Distillery, or kick back with a beer from Mountain Goat.

Special Guests

Beck Cole
Beck Cole is an Australian filmmaker of the Warumungu and Luritja nations. Her work spans drama, documentary, comedy, animation and children’s television. Her debut feature film, Here I Am, premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2011. She has also directed Australian TV series including Black Comedy and Wentworth. Her work has screened at Sydney Film Festival (Flat, SFF 2018) and around the world, including Sundance, Montreal, Telluride, New York and beyond.
Danielle MacLean
Danielle MacLean is a Warumungu and Luritja woman and an experienced writer, producer and director. She wrote and directed Bonita Mabo - For Who I Am. Her short film My Colour Your Kind was nominated for AFI and Film Critics awards. Her work has screened at SFF (2018), Melbourne International Film Festival and Brisbane International Film Festival and internationally at Telluride, Valladolid and Oberhausen.
Dena Curtis
Dena Curtis is a Warrumungu, Warlpiri and Arrernte writer, director and producer. Dena has worked at NITV and the ABC. Her directing credits include the award-winning short films Hush, Jacob and Nan and A Whole Lot of Trouble. Her work has screened at ImagineNative, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Cretiel Film Des Femmes Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, CinefestOZ and SFF.
Tim Worrall
Tim Worrall is a Ngāi Tūhoe writer and director and an alum of The Elam Art School, Auckland. A script advisor on Niki Caro’s Whale Rider, his other writing and directing credits include Tits on a Bull, Only in Aotearoa and This is Piki.
Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis is a Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa filmmaker with over 30 years of experience in the screen industry, primarily as a camera operator and cinematographer. His short film Ahi Kaa won the Best Short Film award at the Hawaii International Film Festival 2015. He is the creator and director of the TV series Hunting Aotearoa, now in its 15th season. He is currently DOP on Kai Safari and Hunting Aotearoa.
Miki Magasiva
Miki Magasiva is a Samoan writer, director and an alum of Film and Television school in Wellington. He has a host of commercial credits to his name as well as short films and television including The Panthers, Brother and Rites of Courage.
Mario Gaoa
Mario Gaoa is a member of the comedy group The Naked Samoans and an actor with credits in What We Do in the Shadows, The Almighty Johnsons, Bro’Town (on which he was also a writer), Samoan Wedding and Diplomatic Immunity. In addition to directing his share of We Are Still Here he also wrote the script. Other directing credits include Teine Sa, Game of Bros and radiradirah.
Chantelle Burgoyne
Chantelle Burgoyne is a Samoan director, writer, editor, and producer. Internationally, she has produced Jason Derulo & Jawsh 685’s music video Savage Love. Other credits include Tatau and Sanctuary, which she produced, directed, wrote and edited.
Tracey Rigney
Tracey Rigney is a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri storyteller, playwright and filmmaker. Her directing credits include Steven Oliver’s web series A Chance Affair, the short films Man Real and Abalone (Best Short Drama, ImagiNATIVE 2013). More recently her short film Elders (directed by Tony Briggs) premiered at Berlinale 2020.
Renae Maihi
Renae Maihi is a film director and screenwriter of Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa descent. Her short films include Mannahatta and Ka Puta Ko Au and her first feature film, Waru, was released in 2017. Her work has been shown at Berlin International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and ImagiNATIVE Film Festival in Toronto, among others.


Wed 8 Jun
State Theatre
Past Event Cancel
Program Strand
First Nations, Opening Night
All Ages
Australia, New Zealand
In Arrernte, Maori, English, Samoan, Turkish with English subtitles
Beck Cole, Danielle MacLean, Dena Curtis, Tim Worrall, Richard Curtis, Miki Magasiva, Mario Gaoa, Chantelle Burgoyne, Tracey Rigney, Renae Maihi
Mitchell Stanley, Toni Stowers, Mia Henry-Teirney
Clarence Ryan, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Leonie Whyman
Danielle MacLean, Dena Curtis, Tim Worrall, Richard Curtis, Miki Magasiva, Mario Gaoa, Tiraroa Reweti, Chantelle Burgoyne, Tracey Rigney, Renae Maihi, Samuel Nuggin-Paynter
Eric Murray Lui, Ray Edwards
Roland Gallois
World Premiere
First Nations, Women Directors, Comedies, Australian Films, World Premieres, Animation, Crime
Company Credits
Australian Distributor: Dark Matter
Clear Cart

Your in cinema cart is empty.

View over 500 sessions to find the right films and events for you!

Browse In Cinema Program

Check out our list of films showing in your area

Browse Films

Donate Today
Help us bring you the best in cinema worldwide.
Booking Fee

Your planner helps you schedule your entire SFF experience. It shows sessions you've saved, purchased or added to your cart in a helpful timeline.

Sign in or register to save your planner!

Your planner is empty.

Use your planner to create your own unique SFF Experience

Browse Films & Events