The Honourable Wally Norman, a film that continues Australia's long comedy tradition of the underdog succeeding against all odds, is the opening night film of the 50th Sydney Film Festival.

Kevin Harrington (The Dish) is in the lead role of Wally, who is accidentally nominated to run for Federal Parliament.

The film was directed by Ted Emery from a script by Rick Kalowski and Andrew Jones, and was produced by Ocean Pictures principals Jonathan Shteinman and Emile Sherman. Arclight Films holds international sales rights and it is being released locally by Becker Entertainment and Ocean in October.

The festival starts on June 6 and closes on June 20 with the Australian premiere of François Ozon's Swimming Pool, which is being released later in the year by Dendy Films.

Festival director Gayle Lake (pictured) has also scheduled a new directors program, a wide-ranging program of contemporary world cinema, and a spotlight on new Indian cinema, which will include director Buddhadeb Dasgupta presenting A Tale Of A Naughty Girl.