The New Boy

Source: Roadshow Films

‘The New Boy’

Sydney Film Festival (June 7-18) has revealed the 12 titles that will play in competition at its 70th edition, including five that are set to premiere at Cannes this month.

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster from Japan and Fallen Leaves from Finnish master Ari Kaurismaki are two that will play in Competition at Cannes before heading to Sydney, alongside Cobweb from Korean director Kim Jee-woon, which will play out of competition in Cannes.

Asmae El Moudir’s The Mother of All Lies will be the first film from Morocco to ever compete in Sydney while The New Boy from Australia’s Warwick Thornton is also vying for the A$60,000 ($40,500) Sydney Film Prize. Both are due to premiere in Un Certain Regard at Cannes. The New Boy, produced by and starring Cate Blanchett, has also been set as Sydney’s opening film.

Scroll down for full list of competition titles

Across all sections, the festival will include 13 films fresh from Cannes. Already a record figure for Sydney, festival director Nashen Moodley told Screen he expects to programme more.

Also in competition is Germany’s Afire, which earned Christian Petzold the Silver Bear grand jury prize at Berlin; Liu Jian’s Chinese animated slacker comedy/drama Art College 1994, which was also in competition at Berlin; and Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper, winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at Sundance in January.

The second Australian film in competition is Allan Clarke’s The Dark Emu Story, based on Bruce Pascoe’s 2014 book Dark Emu, which challenged notions of how indigenous people lived traditionally. It ignited much debate and prompted a book by academics Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe. All three authors are among those interviewed for the documentary.

The competition screening will be the world premiere for the film, which has not yet secured an international sales agent. Director Clarke previously won the top prize in Sydney’s documentary competition with his 2021 film The Bowraville Murders.

The Dark Emu Story is produced by Sydney-based Blackfella Films and producer Darren Dale told Screen: “Nashen [Moodley] and the Sydney Film Festival’s commitment to First Nations stories is unparalleled.”

Overall, the programme comprises 239 films from 67 countries, including Yemen, Burkina Faso and the Republic of the Congo. Of these, 90 are narrative features and 37 are world premieres.

Moodley said he has never been happier with a programme and is particularly thrilled to have secured The New Boy.

“In more than 20 years of programming for festivals, I have never wanted a film as much as I wanted this one,” Moodley said after revealing the full competition line-up on Tuesday (May 9) at Sydney Town Hall.

The programme also includes special presentations, a section for international documentaries and a Jane Campion retrospective. A closing night film has not yet been selected.

A sneak peek of a “living archive” that honours the festival’s 70-year history was shown on the night. 

Sydney Film Festival 2023 competition titles

Afire (Ger)
Dir. Christian Petzold

Art College 1994 (China)
Dir. Liu Jian

Bad Behaviour (NZ)
Dir. Alice Englert

Cobweb (S Kor)
Dir. Kim Jee-Woon

The Dark Emu Story (Australia)
Dir. Allan Clarke

Fallen Leaves (Fin-Swe)
Dir. Aki Kaurismäki

Joram (India)
Dir. Devashish Makhija

Monster (Japan)
Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda 

The Mother Of All Lies (Mor-Egypt-Saudia-Qatar)
Dir. Asmae El Moudir

The New Boy (Australia)
Dir. Warwick Thornton

Past Lives (US)
Dir. Celine Song

Scrapper (UK)
Dir. Charlotte Regan