Cannes titles Grigris and Borgman are among the 12 titles selected for the 60th Sydney Film Festival’s competition line-up.

At the Berlinale, Child’s Pose won the Golden Bear, The Broken Circle Breakdown was the audience award winner, and Australian film The Rocket, set in Laos, won best first feature — and also best narrative feature at Tribeca.

Grigris and Borgman, the first Dutch film in competition for 38 years, are both in Cannes this month. Stories We Tell and the very surreal The Act Of Killing are the two documentaries that have been included.

Moodley also announced this morning in Sydney at the program launch of the SFF  that he would be opening the festival with the world premiere of Ivan Sen’s much anticipated Mystery Road and closing it with Morgan Neville’s feel-good US music documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom.

Actor Hugo Weaving, who appears in Mystery Road, is president of the jury and directors Pia Marais (Layla Fourie) and Anand Ghandi (Ship Of Theseus) and roving programmer and critic Paolo Bertolin are his fellow jurors. Another is expected to be announced shortly. 

SFF organisers introduced the official competition in 2008 and the winner gets $61,000 (A$60,000) in cash. It is for films that have “emotional power and resonance; are audacious, cutting-edge, courageous; and go beyond the usual treatment of the subject matter”.

Sydney also runs a documentary competition restricted to Australian films but there is nothing parochial about the subjects. Indeed, only three of the ten films are predominantly set in Australia.

Audrey of the Alps is set in the French Alps; Love City Jalalabad is about an artists’ collective in the western Afghan city of Jalalabad; The Crossing is set in the Arctic and Nothing On Earth in Greenland; Miss Nikki And The Tiger Girls is about Burma’s first all-girl band; Red Obsession is all about wine and filmed in several countries including France and China; and The Unlikely Pilgrims is filmed on Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail.

Miss Nikki is the new film by Juliet Lamont who won this competition in 2010 with The Snowman. It screened at IDFA but at least seven of the competitors are world premieres. Sydney also has a short film competition.

The full program includes 190 films from 55 countries. There are focuses on British noir films and films that promise to freak out the audience.


The Act Of Killing, dir Joshua Oppenheimer, co-directors Christine Cynn, anonymous, Denmark/Norway/UK

Borgman, dir Alex Van Warmerdam, Netherlands

The Broken Circle Breakdown, dir Felix Van Groeningen, Belgium/Netherlands

Child’s Pose, dir Calin Peter Netzer, Romania

For Those In Peril, dir Paul Wright, UK

Grigris, dir Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France

Monsoon Shootout, dir Amit Kumar, India/UK

Oh Boy, dir Jan Ole Gerster, Germany

Only God Forgives, dir Nicolas Winding Refn, France/Denmark

The Rocket, dir Kim Mordaunt, Australia

Stories We Tell, dir Sarah Polley, Canada

Wadja, dir Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia/Germany

 Directors Oppenheimer, Netzer, Kumar, Polley and Mansour, a graduate of Sydney University, are among the guests of the festival.


Audrey Of The Alps, dir Grace McKenzie

Big Name No Blanket, dir Steven McGregor +

Buckskin, dir Dylan McDonald +

The Crossing, dir Julian Harvey

Love City Jalalabad, dir George Gittoes

Miss Nikki And The Tiger Girls, dir Juliet Lamont

Nothing On Earth, dir Michael Angus

Red Obsession, dirs David Roach and Warwick Ross

The Sunnyboy, dir Kaye Harrison

The Unlikely Pilgrims, dir Kirsten Mallyon and Jon Cherry.