RGB NSWGov+ScreenNSW Primary 1
News & Media
Past Productions
News07 - Jun - 2024

Lights, Camera, Action for the 71st Sydney Film Festival

71st Sydney Film Festival Opening Night. Supplied by Sydney Film Festival. Credit Tim Levy

71st Sydney Film Festival Opening Night. Supplied by Sydney Film Festival. Credit: Tim Levy.

The 71st Sydney Film Festival is now on! Featuring an exciting line-up of over 200 international and local feature films, documentaries and short films, the festival will light up cinema screens across the city from 5 – 16 June.   

Across the program, there are 15 Screen NSW-supported productions premiering in this year’s program, including 200% Wolf, A Horse Named Winx, Aquarius, The Convert, Exposure, In Vitro, Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line,The Moogai, Mozart's SisterMy Freak Family, Revealed: Otto By Otto, Skategoat, Welcome to Babel, Welcome to Yiddishland, and You Should Have Been Here Yesterday.

Below you can find session times and buy tickets for our Screen NSW projects. You can explore the entire program on the Sydney Film Festival website here.

Screen NSW supported films screening as part of 71st Sydney Film Festival:

200% Wolf

Heroic were-poodle Freddy Lupin feels ready to lead the werewolf pack! If only he were more… wolfish. The latest gem from Sydney animation studio Flying Bark (Maya the Bee, SFF 2018).

Freddy belongs to a werewolf family and needs to prove himself to his elders if he wants to be taken seriously. Stumbling upon some old runes, he accidentally conjures powers from a cheeky moon sprite, Moopoo. Now Freddy must help Moopoo get back to the moon and restore the cosmic order. Enlisting the help of friends Batty and Hamish, Freddy must trick an outcast sorceress, exploiting her magical powers to get Moopoo home. A journey of self-discovery and friendship, this much anticipated sequel to 100% Wolf is a World Premiere – featuring a voice cast of local Aussies Ilai Swindells (Bay of Fires, SFF 2023) and Samara Weaving (Chevalier, SFF 2023), plus comedians Jennifer Saunders and Akmal Saleh.

A Horse Named Winx

The eagerly awaited documentary on arguably the greatest horse in Australian racing history – Winx in all her equine glory!

Winx is the Phar Lap of the modern era and holds the world record for her spectacular 33 race winning streak. Her first foal sold for a record breaking $10 million. It all reads like a racing fairy-tale, but the story behind the phenomenon is more complex. With unprecedented access to Winx and the team who made her a champion, award winning director Janine Hosking (Mademoiselle and the Doctor, SFF 2004; 35 Letters, SFF 2014; I’m Not Dead Yet, SFF 2011) and Winx biographer, Andrew Rule, weave a cinematic journey to reveal the spirit of a champion as she faces her greatest challenge.


The dawning of the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin 1973 – an alternative gathering embraced by activists, hippies, and radicals that changed a town (and a generation) forever.

The small northern NSW dairy town was the perfect location, surrounded by farmland and rainforest. The inhabitants (all 300 of them) hoped the event would bring young people to their struggling town. Thousands arrived, all willing to contribute to the festival, whether by playing instruments or digging drains. It wasn’t quite all saunas, nudity, acrobatics, and chilled-out bliss, however: festivalgoers faced down police interference, internal chaos, drugs and personal dramas. Nonetheless, countless participants found kinship as well as a blueprint for a sustainable life. The story of the festival is lovingly told with newly uncovered footage and interviews with festival co-founders and attendees.

The Convert

Guy Pearce stars as a British preacher caught up in 1830s Māori wars in Lee Tamahori’s (Once Were Warriors, 1993; Mahana, SFF 2016) sweeping historical drama.

When Thomas Munro (Pearce) arrives in the tiny coastal settlement of Epworth in 1830, he finds discontent, suspicion and friction. After saving the life of a chief’s daughter, Rangimai (Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Munro is thrust into political intrigue during the devastating Musket Wars between Māori tribes. Tamahori paints a meticulously detailed portrait of Māori communities and culture in the early days of colonialism, whilst expertly weaving in Munro’s troubled past which intrudes on the increasingly bloody conflict surrounding him. Stunningly filmed in widescreen on location, including Whatipū beach, The Convert delivers gripping drama and extraordinary action.


Alice Englert stars in all six thrilling episodes of this atmospheric new mystery series, executive produced by Justin Kurzel (SnowtownNitram).

Jacs (Alice Englert), an up-and-coming photographer, is coming to terms with the death of Kel (Mia Artemis), her closest friend. Grief-stricken, she becomes consumed with the details surrounding Kel’s death, convinced she suffered at the hands of a man. Jacs' search for the truth is turbulent and at times confronting as she struggles to process present-day grief whilst reckoning with the past. This is a one-off opportunity to see this exceptional series on the big screen alongside cast and crew including producers Nicole O’Donohue (The Daughter, SFF 2015), Shaun Grant and Justin Kurzel, and actors Englert, Sean Keenan, and Essie Davis.

In Vitro

Ashley Zukerman (Succession) stars in a gripping Australian sci-fi mystery thriller set on a remote cattle farm in the near future.

With cattle production devastated by ecological disasters, Jack (Zukerman) and his wife Layla (Talia Zucker) are conducting biotechnology experiments at their isolated property. While Layla longs for the return of their son from boarding school, Jack carries out research he hopes will save his family from financial ruin. This meticulously written and brilliantly performed feature from Aussie directors Tom McKeith and Will Howarth (Beast, SFF 2016) takes unpredictable turns as gloomy skies gather and the couple’s relationship begins to strain. Strikingly filmed on the eerily dry Monaro Plains of NSW, In Vitro is claustrophobic, suspenseful and scarily believable.

Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line

Legendary music and activism are front and centre in this exciting documentary, created with unfettered access to seminal Australian rock band Midnight Oil, who emerged from politically charged 1970s Sydney to become global icons

Across a 45-year career ‘The Oils’ helped shape modern Australia with anthems like “US Forces”, “Beds Are Burning” and “Redneck Wonderland”. Featuring unseen footage and interviews with every band member, alongside signature moments including the outback tour with Warumpi Band, their Exxon protest gig in New York and those famous “Sorry” suits at the Sydney Olympics, Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line traces the journey of Australia’s quintessential rock band.

The Moogai

A malicious spirit enters the home of a young Indigenous couple with a newborn baby. Based on his SFF-winning short of the same name, writer-director Jon Bell’s striking feature debut arrives direct from SXSW and Sundance.

The haunting history of the Stolen Generations looms large in this boldly conceived and stylishly executed psychological horror movie from Jon Bell (The Chuck In, SFF 2013). When successful city lawyer Sarah (Shari Sebbens) and husband Fergus (Meyne Wyatt) become parents for the second time, their joy is short-lived. Lurking in the shadows is a whispering creature that wants to steal their baby. Artfully weaving the story of Sarah’s difficult family background into the nightmarish terror that begins to consume her, Bell delivers an eerie tale that unfolds at the intersection of primal fear, generational trauma and supernatural horror.

Mozart's Sister

The story of the other Mozart, Maria-Anna, a child prodigy forgotten to time, as seen through the eyes of musicians, musicologists, and researchers.

Like her younger brother, Maria-Anna Mozart was a keyboard genius from an early age and the siblings toured Europe performing as wunderkinder to royalty. As a child it was acceptable for Maria-Anna to play in public. But when she reached 15, societal norms compelled her to retire. Tantalising clues exist of her continued virtuoso playing as well as her interest in composing music. Using recreations and expert interviews, Madeleine Hetherton-Miau (producer, China Love SFF 2018) explores the fascinating theory that Maria-Anna Mozart played a larger role in her brother’s music than is previously known. Like Charmian Clift – Life Burns High (screening at the Festival), Mozart’s Sister turns our gaze towards the unrecognised female creators of our time.

My Freak Family

A magical Australian-Irish animation, based on the popular children’s books The Floods, in which 12-year-old Betty discovers her mystical powers just as a dark force kidnaps her family.

From the opening chase sequence to the musical finale, this animated feature with a stand-out voice cast – including Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter), Richard Roxburgh and Miranda Otto – is full of thrills, spills, and spells. Betty Flood finds her wacky family embarrassing and wishes her magical mum could at least try to act more normal. But Betty is just realising that she has magical gifts of her own. When a dark power kidnaps her family, she must harness her magical abilities to rescue them. Will her newfound powers be strong enough to save the day? Magic, music, and marvellous adventures await.

Revealed: Otto By Otto

Gracie Otto (Under the Volcano, SFF 2021; The Last Impresario, SFF 2014) attempts to capture the memories of her father, iconic Australian actor and artist Barry Otto (Strictly Ballroom, SFF 1992), before they are lost forever.

Barry Otto’s career has spanned more than 50 years and close to a hundred theatre credits, encompassing the golden days of 1970s and ’80s Australian theatre and film and cinema classics as Bliss (1985), Strictly Ballroom (1992) and Cosi (1996). Creative, eccentric, and endearing, Barry is a true original. Gracie’s absorbing film is not a traditional biopic, but rather a deeply personal reflection on her relationship with her father shot over five years, in the twilight of his career and as his health deteriorates. Revealed: Otto by Otto both honours this outstanding artist and actor and preserves his memory.


A young boy’s dream to become a pro skateboarder is captured in all its kinetic glory by renegade graffiti artist and acclaimed music video director Van Alpert.

Leandre Sanders, aka Skategoat, was born into a world of gangs and crime in Hawthorne, California. While his older brothers followed his parents into LA’s violent street life, Leandre spent his days at Venice Beach Skatepark, where he caught the eye of filmmaker Van Alpert. Van documented the talented youngster’s life for over a decade, as his family unravelled and his skills – including his unique ‘no stance’ skate style – took off. At 16, Leandre followed a girl to Melbourne, where he lived for over two years, and where his dream of becoming a professional skater started to become a reality. Van Alpert’s documentary debut pulses with a tactile sense of street style and an incredible soundtrack from Tyler, the Creator, Tame Impala, and more. From the producers of acclaimed documentaries Bra Boys and Fighting Fear.

Welcome to Babel

An absorbing documentary about Chinese-Australian artist Jiawei Shen’s plans to create an epic work depicting his homeland’s tumultuous recent history.

Jiawei Shen is an obsessive, determined man. But his latest project – ‘Tower of Babel’ – is crazy even for him (at least according to his wife, fellow artist Lan Wang). His goal is to create a monumental painting of the turbulent history of the international Communist movement. It will take him years to complete, and the work is three storeys high, so he decides to build a new house and studio near his old Bundeena home. We learn about his fame in China through the story of his life: growing up in Mao’s China, surviving the Cultural Revolution, emigrating to Australia, and winning the 2006 Sir John Sulman Prize. Director James Bradley has previously edited several SFF-selected titles (including Finke: There and Back, SFF 2018). In his feature-length debut, he has crafted a miniature epic as ambitious as his subject.

Welcome to Yiddishland

An upbeat, witty, and timely exploration of a global community of artists creating innovative work in their quest to rediscover and revitalise the endangered Yiddish language.

From behind-the-scenes with an acclaimed Yiddish-language version of Yentl in Melbourne, to enjoyably transgressive punk-Klezmer musicians, and Barrie Kosky’s latest trailblazing production in Berlin – the endangered Yiddish language is alive and well in this rousing documentary. The language originated amongst the Jewish community in Eastern Europe, but almost disappeared when more than half of the world’s Yiddish speakers were murdered during the Holocaust. Most of the artists and performers (aka Yiddishists) in the film didn’t grow up speaking Yiddish, but all have found solace, identity, and inspiration in its rich traditions and culture. Ros Horin (The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, SFF 2016; Rosemary’s Way, SFF 2020) has mapped a fascinating cultural history.

You Should Have Been Here Yesterday

A cinematic ode to Australia’s early surfing culture featuring evocative restored footage, a chilled-out soundtrack, and narration from surfing aficionados and heroes such as Tim Winton and Wayne Lynch.

In 1960s Australia, a generation travelled Australia’s coastline seeking waves – and a different kind of life. Their odyssey was captured on 16mm film, now lovingly restored by The Surf Film Archive. Director Jolyon Hoff (Watandar, My Countryman) combines this never-before-seen footage with stories from the original filmmakers, surfing gurus and more. One enthusiast likens surfing to being “kissed by God” – a sentiment in keeping with the blissed-out vibes that permeate this sun-filled, salt-infused movie. The original soundscape is from Australian music collective Headland (led by Murray Paterson, a Tex Perkins collaborator). 

Image credit: 71st Sydney Film Festival Opening Night. Supplied by Sydney Film Festival. Credit: Tim Levy.