Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Personal 2013 Sydney Film Festival Lineup

Well I am back from a much-needed and recuperating break just in time for the announcement of the 2013 Sydney Film Festival (June 5-16) lineup, one of the highlights of the year for an Australian film geek.

After several hours of studying this impressive and diverse selection of films - the entire line-up can be found here - I have come up with a carefully considered game plan. It is an ambitious (nutty) schedule of close to 30 films over the course of the twelve day festival. I had initially planned to only see about 18-20 but that soon became impossible. I also thought I would pass on a lot of the films that had a cinema release scheduled in July/August, but some, like Stoker with Park Chan-wook in presence, were too good an opportunity to pass up. The opportunity of seeing Before Midnight was far too tempting and I have heard so many great things about Upstream Colour I couldn't pass on it, especially considering it is sandwiched by Stories We Tell and Only God Forgives. The mentality was to go hard or not at all. Every year since I have started attending the festival regularly, the number of films I have watched has increased every time.

On this list are films that have received prizes and acclaim from Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, SXSW and Hot Docs, as well as a few fresh from Cannes screenings.

Prior to the festival I will have also seen The Rocket, and taking it out of consideration, I manage to catch ALL of the other eleven films screening in the Official Competition. That is cool.

Here is my line-up, with a few open to change and a few gaps - Thursday 6 June could include Pieta, and Saturday 8 June could include Odd Man Out and A Highjacking - but this is as close to set as it will get, I think.

Wed 5 June

Dirty Wars 6:00pm
Outrage Beyond 8:00pm

Thursday 6 June

The Act of Killing 6:00pm

Friday 7 June

Wadjda 6:00pm
Stoker 8:30pm

Saturday 8 June

Before Midnight 9:30pm

Sunday 9 June 

Computer Chess 1.35pm
Grisgris 2.15pm
Muscle Shoals 4.30pm

Monday 10 June

Broken Circle Breakdown 11.45am
For Those In Peril 2.00pm
Child's Pose 6.15pm

Tuesday 11 June

Grisgris (pending work) 12:00pm
Monsoon Shootout 6:00pm
Blancancieves 8:30pm

Wednesday 12 June

Oh Boy 6:00pm
Mood Indigo 8:30pm

Thursday 13 June

Prince Avalanche 7:00pm
You're Next 9:00pm

Friday 14 June

Borgman 2.15pm
Shopping 5:00pm
Downloaded 7:00pm
Mistaken For Strangers 9:45pm

Saturday 15 June

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks 9:30am
Stories We Tell 12:05pm
Upstream Colour 2:45pm
Only God Forgives 7:00pm

Sunday 16 June

The Past 12:00pm
Thanks for Sharing 5:30pm
Closing Night - Twenty Feet From Stardom 8:00pm

What are your thoughts on this line-up? Obviously there are a lot of potentially great films that I am leaving out. The first cut was about 50 films. Feel free to share and compare your own. 


  1. Booked the same session for Stories We Tell, Only God Forgives and The Past :) Seeing Breathe In on the 15th too, looked decent to me!

    1. Yeah, Breathe in sounded good but didn't win me over enough to throw it in with the others on the Saturday. I have Upstream Colour between Stories We Tell and Only God Forgives and I think that is enough for that epic day. Looking forward to catching up with you again, man.

  2. Judging by this list you are going to have a fantastic festival. I have seen four of the films (Upstream Color, Stoker, Downloaded, and Stories We Tell) and two of them (Upstream and Stories) will probably make my top ten list at the end of the year.

    1. This is exciting to hear. Those two are amongst my most anticipated of the festival. I must say I missed all of your Hot Docs coverage this year, which I usually utilise to make my choices.

      Such an embarrassment of riches this year, the SFF line-up, that it made narrowing down selections very difficult.

  3. You’ve too many films with distribution. Be patient, they will be released. I usually take my time with the culling process, bringing it down to a magic number of 10 from a preliminary list of about 20 films, all without distribution. The only one that I’m resisting a strong urge to see is Mood Indigo. At the moment, my itinerary looks to be:

    Lasting - The trailers of the first three have sold them to me...
    Borgman - purely on the back of his past work
    It’s All So Quiet – Brownian Movement remains one of my greatest omissions
    Longing for the Rain
    Vic + Flo Saw a Bear
    Eat Sleep Die
    Ship of Theseus OR
    Soldate Jeannette

    1. As I am covering this festival for a web site we see it as a great opportunity to catch some of the high-profile films and have a chance to promote them before they have their Australian release. There have been a few that I purposefully left out because of the upcoming release.

      From your list I considered almost all of them.

      Lasting looks quite good, but clashes with some that I feel I can't miss.

      Borgman and Grisgris I have. Never would have missed a Cannes Official Comp. screening at SFF.

      Vic + Flo and Soldate Jeanette both sounded fascinating, but going to pass, but Ship of Theseus I have considered throwing in.

      Thanks for the recommendations. I hope you have a great festival.