Opening Night

Experience the red carpet glamour of Opening Night with hilarious New Zealand comedy The Breaker Upperers, then rub shoulders and sip bubbles with celebs and industry types at the exclusive after party.

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Closing Night

All good things must come to an end. Bid farewell to the 65th Sydney Film Festival with our Closing Night Gala, featuring all the award presentations and the premiere of joyous indie comedy Hearts Beat Loud, starring Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons (Dope, SFF 2015).

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Official Competition

In 2018 the Official Competition celebrates 11 years of awarding the Sydney Film Prize to each year's most 'audacious, cutting-edge and courageous' film. Catch 12 of the year's most boundary-pushing features and documentaries, from the Arctic to Afghanistan, Paraguay and Palestine (plus the new Spike Lee joint).

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Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films

Sydney Film Festival’s short film competition has launched the careers of directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and other film creatives in its 49-year history. The 10 finalists compete for three illustrious prizes: the Dendy Live Action Short Award, the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and the Yoram Gross Animation Award. In addition, each finalist qualifies for the Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award.

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Discover captivating stories from great cinematic storytellers. See prizewinners from the world's most prestigious festivals alongside new works that deserve to be known, with 45 brand new films that span everything from dark comedies to stylish crime thrillers, morally-complex dramas and beyond.

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Sounds on Screen

A celebration of the way films about music and musicians make for some of the most compelling cinema created. Step inside the lives of pioneering punk Joan Jett, obsessive boyband fans, artist, activist and pop star M.I.A., revered Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, the incomparable diva Whitney Houston and Afghanistan's only metal band.

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FLUX: ART+FILM: explores the fertile ground between art and cinema, with radical and innovative films and videos by artists who challenge or transform our experience of what cinema can be.

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Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship Gala Screening

Sydney Film Festival and Lexus Australia are proud to present the 2017 Fellowship winning short films at Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship Gala Screening, Tuesday 12 June. Catch the World Premieres of four brand new films by Australia's most exciting emerging filmmakers.

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Family Films

Why should the so-called adults have all the film festival fun? This year's Family program features everything from Aussie animated adventures perfect for the little ones, such as Maya the Bee: The Honey Games, through to thought-provoking and challenging films for teens such as Skate Kitchen, The Changeover, Iranian drama Dressage and Oscar-nominated animation The Breadwinner.

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International Documentaries

Today's documentary makers tackle the controversial and traditional with verve, respect and expertise. Dive into new worlds and new perspectives, from the life of revered Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama to the murders that inspired Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, from the glaring lack of representation by women in the filmmaking world, to a fearless portrait of a radical Islamic family in northern Syria, and beyond.

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Freak Me Out

You're invited to gambol on the wild and weird side with Freak Me Out, the SFF sidebar devoted to everything from exploitation extravaganzas to "highly unusual" arthouse items. Step inside everything from zingy punk rock slashers to nerve-jangling psychodramas and spine-tingling anthologies. See you in the grindhouse...

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Need an antidote to the all serious and hard-hitting films in the Festival this year? Then check out our selection of top-class comedies from all over the world. We’ve got every flavour of funny to get you chuckling, from WTAF documentaries almost too funny to be true, to hip and quirky rom-coms and the return of a mumblecore legend, this is an unpredictable and substantial collection.

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Documentary Australia Foundation Award

Watch as 10 of the finest new documentaries by Australian filmmakers compete for a $10,000 cash prize, generously supported by the Documentary Australia Foundation. Step inside everything from the Aussie outback's deadliest off-road motor race to the lives of obsessive fangirls, the bizarre billion-dollar Chinese wedding photo industry, and beyond.

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Essential Kaurismäki: Selected by David Stratton

Australia’s master of film criticism, David Stratton, presents a program of 10 classics by the great, offbeat Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki, champion of the underdog and master of laconic, uber-cool understatement.

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Europe! Voices of Women in Film

Over the last year, the status of women in the industry has been thrust into the spotlight in a significant way. Around the globe, women are fighting for change by crafting fantastic features, 10 of which comprise this showcase.

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Retrospective: From Little Things Big Things Grow

A celebration of 25 years of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department 2018 marks 25 years since the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia was established, resulting in some of the nation’s most beloved films, television shows and documentaries.

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Focus on Italy

Sydney Film Festival is proud to present a showcase of the best new Italian cinema, demonstrating the creativity, craft and culture of Italian storytellers. From unlikely buddy comedies to investigations of poverty and austerity in modern Italy and the last days of elusive Velvet Underground frontwoman Nico, the Focus On Italy strand is both tasty and nourishing.

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First Nations: A Celebration

Sydney Film Festival is committed to showcasing work by First Nation filmmakers from around the world. New films from Australian Indigenous filmmakers will screen alongside a retrospective of short films funded by Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

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State Theatre

It’s the ultimate Sydney Film Festival experience! Nothing tops the feeling of sitting down at the magnificent State Theatre and watching one of the many premieres and award-winning films on offer.

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Music Films

Stop rewatching Almost Famous, Spinal Tap and Lemonade for the 1000th time and go find a new favourite music film at SFF 2018. We've got 14 features and documentaries about music and musicians, including the next High Fidelity and revealing documentaries about provocateur and pop star M.I.A., rock legend Joan Jett and film score maestro Ryuichi Sakamoto.

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Human Rights

Today's documentary makers tackle the controversial and traditional with verve, respect and expertise. Dive into new worlds and new perspectives, from an exploration of ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror’, to the real-life action film of a voluntary bomb disposal expert in Iraq, and from the glaring lack of representation of women in the filmmaking world, to the boundary-pushing of a revolutionary female Islamic poet.

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Classics Restored

See superb restorations of cinema classics by the German auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Australian legend Gillian Armstrong, Taiwan's New Wave pioneer Edward Yang, Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, 2017's Sydney Film Prize winner Ildikó Enyedi and César-winner Gaston Kaboré.

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Special Presentations at the State

The ultimate Sydney Film Festival experience is to lose yourself in a movie at the magnificent State Theatre. This selection of premieres and award-winning films, featuring everything from the new Gus Van Sant to controversial Israeli film Foxtrot, 3 Faces and Manto direct from Cannes, and much more.

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Women Filmmakers

With the demonstration at Cannes fresh on everyone’s minds, it’s about time the talented women working in the film industry got more of the spotlight. Browse the full collection of films by women directors around the world here. From documentaries and features that tackle the problem head on, to authentic portrayals of female experience, you can’t afford to miss the work of these fantastic directors.

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Woke Cinema

From Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman to pioneering classic films by First Nations Australian filmmakers, a Kenyan lesbian love story, and films set in the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Iran, this year SFF has a stack of socially conscious and eye-opening films to help you stay woke.

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The Box Set

Catch the Australian Premiere of the first episodes of FOX and SBS’s brand-new series: a gritty, intense espionage thriller with a stellar ensemble cast including award-winning actor Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones), Karima McAdams (Vikings) and Alistair Petrie (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

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Short Films

Delve into the amazing array of short films that screen before features and documentaries. You'll find everything from a surreal and lyrical Israeli operetta to Dev Patel's (Slumdog Millionaire, Lion) directorial debut and an animated short about The Velvet Underground's first gig – at a suburban New Jersey high school.

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Short animated gems from all over the world, selected for SFF by Guest Programmer Malcolm Turner. Catch them in two sessions at Dendy Newtown, featuring eye-popping new visual work by animation masters, that ranges from the heart-warming to the dangerously un-PC and NSFW.

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Festival Hub

Stop by Lower Town Hall and visit the heart of Sydney Film Festival. Grab a drink at the bar (especially during our brand new happy hour), explore the mind-expanding VR programs, extend your experience with a filmmaker talk or cut some shapes at a film-themed party.

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VR at the Hub

Don a Virtual Reality headset and slip into another world. From a two-person experience where you and a mate make music with robots and friendly animals, to 30-to-40 minute packages of VR films that showcase the best new VR work from Asia, Australia and even outside of this world, there's more than enough to get lost in.

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Vivid Ideas and Sydney Film Festival Talks

In partnership with Vivid Ideas, SFF presents five special talks with filmmakers and industry experts, from political satirists Soda_Jerk to horror maverick Leigh Whannell, a look at 25 years of Indigenous filmmaking with funders and alumni of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, and more.

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Sydney Film Festival welcomes back the Screenability program, produced in partnership with Create NSW and FACS (Department of Family and Community Services). See two feature films and four short films made by filmmakers with disability, telling their stories and leading the narrative.

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Meet the filmmakers behind our Opening Night film The Breaker Upperers, our Screenability program strand, organ-donation documentary Dying to Live, and more. Plus a special talk looking at 65 years of cinema love at Sydney Film Festival, featuring Thai auteur Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Samui Song, SFF 2018).

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Award Winners

326 films is a lot to sort through – so if you’re keen on securing tickets to the cream of the crop at this year’s Festival, why not take a tip from the experts?

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Screen Day Out Education Program

Screen Day Out is Sydney Film Festival’s secondary education program, presenting special screenings of Australian premiere features and documentaries for high school groups, plus special Q&A sessions after the screenings with filmmakers and special guests.

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Hipper than Thou

Dust off your Jim Jarmusch DVDs and slide into your skin tight denim, because we’ve got a selection of films right here that will steal your lighter, stare right through you and still leave you wanting to go home with them.

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2018 is officially the best year ever for lesbian cinema at SFF. No kidding, we’ve got 11 films starring about women who love women, from our Opening Night film to the uber-hip, banned in Kenya film Rafiki and riveting psycho-thriller What Keeps You Alive. Plus there’s plenty of other gay and queer stories you’ll find picked out below.

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In the past year, the simmering issues of sexual harassment and gender disparity in filmmaking have been thrust into the spotlight. Happily, in 2018 SFF has a stack of films that directly address that conversation, whether they’re films lead by female creatives like The Breaker Upperers, docos about boosting female voices in filmmaking such as Half The Picture, or thrillers about abused women fighting back (A Vigilante).

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Direct from Cannes

Can’t afford to fly to Cannes every year? Don’t fret – we’ve got a selection of the French festival’s best films coming direct to Sydney screens (often a solid six months or more before they get a general Australian release). From the new Spike Lee joint BlacKkKlansman to Wim Wenders' powerful new doco Pope Francis – A Man of His Word, we’ve got a stack of the world’s best and biggest new films.

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Date Night

Taking your new cutie to a Festival film is a great idea – it’s a cultural event, you’ll get to see something no one else has seen, and it’ll make for a great story down the line if you end becoming a thing. But, there are risks. You don’t want to end up seeing a film that leave you both feeling harrowed, so here’s a selection of films that will impress, not depress, your latest crush.

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