71st Sydney Film Festival Launch

71st Sydney Film Festival Launch

The 71st Sydney Film Festival (5-16 June) opened tonight at the State Theatre with the World Premiere of Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line.

Festival Director Nashen Moodley opened the Festival to a packed auditorium including Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line director Paul Clarke and Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett.

Sydney Film Festival Board Chair, Darren Dale said, “I am delighted to welcome everyone to the 71st edition of the Sydney Film Festival. It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse ourselves in stories and experiences from all over the world and in doing so, perhaps understand each other just a little bit better. 

“This year I am especially thrilled with the addition of the world’s biggest prize for First Nations filmmaking, cementing our global standing as supporters of First Nations storytelling. 

“Beyond that, the selection of films this year is outstanding and there is truly something for everyone. I look forward to seeing you there and revelling in the very best of world cinema.”

Minister for the Arts, John Graham said, “The Sydney Film Festival is the highlight of the year for film lovers. It brings the film community together to experience the most exciting films in Australia and the world.

“Every year the festival pulls together an invigorating program that allows us to discover stories that are reflective of contemporary Australia, and explore new world views, through the cinema screen.

“I’d like to thank and congratulate all of the filmmakers whose stories will captivate Sydney for the next 11 days.”

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore said, “Welcome to the 71st Sydney Film Festival!  Film has an unrivalled ability to take us to other worlds and other lives, and to give us new and unexpected insights.

The City of Sydney has proudly sponsored this Festival for the past three decades, because we know that a thriving arts industry is essential for a global city. I hope you enjoy this rich and diverse program.”

The Hardest Line tells Midnight Oil’s trailblazing story for the first time ever on film. Featuring newly unearthed interviews with every band member, unseen live and studio footage, alongside signature moments like the outback tour with Warumpi Band, their Exxon protest gig in New York and those famous “Sorry” suits at the Sydney Olympics, the film traces the singular journey of Australia’s quintessential rock band across their 45-year career. Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line is written and directed by Paul Clarke, produced by Carolina Sorensen, and executive produced by Mikael Borglund, Paul Clarke and Martin Fabinyi.

Guests for the Opening Night Gala included: Cathy Freeman, April Rose Pengilly, Nash Edgerton, Benedict Wall, Matt Day, Claudia Karvan, Damian Walshe-Howling, Tai Hara, Julian Maroun, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Ed Oxenbould and Danielle Cormack.

The full Sydney Film Festival 2024 program can be found online at sff.org.au.

Photographer: Belinda Rolland

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