Our 10 Sydney Film Festival Picks for 2014!


Last night, with the premiere of Nick Cave’s film 20,000 Days… the Sydney Film Festival kicked off its 2014 season in style. Today, we look ahead to the rest of the film calendar to bring you our 10 film picks – in no particular order.

Wish I Was Here

Struggling actor Aidan (Zach Braff) has to come to terms with his father’s illness, manage his excitable kids and reunite his estranged brother and father. Zach Braff’s long awaited and largely fan-funded via Kickstarter feature, an indirect follow up to Garden State that like its predecessor tackles issues around family, love, career ambitions and spirituality. Braff is known for his quirky but relatable films that often are accompanied by a brilliant soundtrack. – Carina Nilma

Screens: June 14th and 15th. Tickets and Details.

The Rover

Set in a dystopian near future in the outback of Australia, loner Eric (Guy Pearce) after having his car stolen teams up with naive Rey (Robert Pattinson) to track down the thieves and exact justice. One of Australia’s favourite directing talents David Michod constructs a terrifying kill-or-be-killed world that could be something easily conceivable for our future. This will be Mad Max for a whole new generation. – Carina Nilma

Screens: June 7th and 8th. Tickets and Details.


Joe (Nicolas Cage) is a hard drinking tough man, blighted by the dirty deeds of his past and attempting to move on and better himself. Constantly feeling the struggle to revert to his old ways, he meets teenager Gary (Tye Sheridan) who is struggling to cope under an abusive father, whom he then takes under his wing. Adapted from the Larry Brown novel ‘Joe’ and steered by director David Gordon Green it examines the different types of relationships, both destructive and healthy, that we can encounter in our lives. – Carina Nilma

Nicholas Cage is said to give a brilliant, comeback type of performance in Joe. Minimal and atmospheric, this film looks to be one of the most engaging at the festival this year. Check out interviews with the cast and some red carpet photos from SXSW HERE. – Chris Singh

Screens: June 6th, 9th and 13th. Tickets and Details.


From the unique 12-year process of the film’s creation to the wonderfully organic development of the actors, Boyhood is a masterful achievement and one which further demonstrates Richard Linklater as a director who makes unconventional work perfectly. Ellar Coltrane grows from 6 to 18 right before our eyes in a first for narrative film. There is simply nothing else like this; truly essential. You can read my review HERE. – Chris Singh

Screens: June 6th and 7th. Tickets and Details.

Goal of the Dead

The horror line up is a bit strange this year, and the strangest is probably this blend of soccer hooligan-ism and zombie apocalypse gore. From the trailer, one might expect this to be a dud; but from existing reviews, it seems Goal of the Dead is scoring very high. It will be interesting to see how they make this strange concept work. – Chris Singh

Screens: June 9th and 15th. Tickets and Details.

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets

This concert film is set on 8 December 2012 where British band, Pulp are performing their last ever show to their hometown of Sheffield. What ensues in New Zealand filmmaker, Florian Habicht’s (Love Story) documentary is a Northern party and celebration of the gangly genius of Jarvis Cocker et. al. Check out The Iris’ interviews with director Habicht HERE and Jarvis Cocker from the band HERE. – Natalie Salvo

Screens: June 7th and 9th. Tickets and Details.

The Possibilities Are Endless

This documentary by Edward Lovelace and James Hall follows former lead singer of Orange Juice and solo star in his own right, Edwyn Collins, after he suffers a debilitating stroke. The singer-songwriter who is best known for his hit single, “Girl Like You” can only remember two lots of words upon awakening- the film’s title and his wife’s name. What follows is Collins’ tough journey of rehabilitation and an intimate look at his Scottish home; and it is all underpinned with his own original score. – Natalie Salvo

Screens: June 6th and 7th. Tickets and Details.

Jimi: All Is By My Side

This unconventional biopic is written and directed by John Ridley, the 2014 Oscar Winner for 12 Years A Slave and stars OutKast’s André 3000 as Messer Hendrix. This is a striking look at the meteoric rise of the troubled artist and his enduring legacy as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Read The Iris’ review of the film HERE. – Natalie Salvo

Screens: June 5th and 13th. Tickets and Details.

What We Do In The Shadows

The closing night of this year’s Sydney Film Festival is a brilliant one. Reviewed HERE as part of the SXSW film festival back in March, this New Zealand mockumentary sees co-directors Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) tackle the very serious (not so serious) subject of a group of Vampires who live in Wellington. The film follows the group around as they induct new members, have battles with the New Zealand warewolves (lead by fellow Conchordian Rhys Darby) and deal with beast-like ex-girlfriends. At times brilliant and always hilarious, this is one film I can happily recommend. Watch my interview with Jemaine HERE – Larry Heath

Screens: June 15th. Tickets and Details.


Marking the directorial debut of Christopher Houghton, Touch is one of the Australian feature premieres at the festival. Developed through the fantastic FilmLab initiative in South Australia (which, naturally, no longer has funding), that also brought about the brilliant Infinite Man (reviewed HERE), the film looks to be a mastery in independent filmmaking. Small cast, small budget, big concept, the film throws you into the life of a woman on the run with her daughter and takes you on a thrilling ride. I haven’t seen the full film yet, but I for one can’t wait to see the ensemble and this fine director in action. – Larry Heath

Screens: June 6th and 8th. Tickets and Details.

For the full listing of Sydney Film Festival screenings, and more information about everything happening at the festival – including the fantastic Hub at Town Hall – head to http://www.sff.org.au/


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.