Sydney Film Festival announces Australian film Ruben Guthrie for Opening Night

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Confirmed as of today, the opening night gala for the 62nd Sydney Film Festival will be centered around a World Premiere screening of Australian film Ruben Guthrie, the directorial debut of award-winning playwright, screenwriter and actor Brendan Cowell. The film has been adapted from Cowell’s own critically acclaimed Belvoir St Theatre production, which played in 2009 to constant sold out crowds.

Shot on location all over Sydney, Ruben Guthrie the film will continue the strong connection the story has to the city, and it will draw upon the collective talents of an impressive Australian cast to do so. The cast includes: Patrick Brammall (A Moody Christmas), Alex Dimitriades (The Heartbreak Kid, The Slap), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road), Harriet Dyer (Love Child), Jeremy Sims (Chances), Brenton Thwaites (The Giver), Aaron Bertram, Robyn Nevin (Top of the Lake, The Matrix Revolutions), and Jack Thompson (The Man from Snowy River, Australia).

Ruben Guthrie tells the story of an ad man who lives in Sydney, leading a “party boy lifestyle” at the top of his game and his career until alcohol almost leads to his death at the bottom of an infinity pool. Guthrie lucks out and survives only to watch his mum “hit the panic button” and his model fiancée leave him with the promise that she’ll give him another chance only if he can do one year without a drink. Ruben Guthrie is the story of one man not only battling the bottle, but the city that won’t let him put it down.

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“I am beyond excited to have my first film Ruben Guthrie open the Sydney Film Festival 2015,” says Brendan Cowell. “To screen this very Sydney story to a packed house at the State Theatre is a dream come true, and I can’t wait for audiences to enjoy this comic tale of love, loss, and liquor.”

“We are very proud to open this year’s Festival with the World Premiere of this bold new Australian film,” says Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “It is a marvellous directorial debut for Brendan Cowell – hard-hitting, touching and surprisingly funny, an intensely human film that represents the best of Australian screen production.”

“I’m thrilled to see Ruben Guthrie, which was produced in our State and supported by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government, open the Festival,” says NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant.

“The NSW screen industry is full of remarkable talent and creativity and the team behind this film are among the best in the State.”NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres says, “I congratulate the team behind Ruben Guthrie on securing the highly-coveted opening night premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. Filmed exclusively in Sydney with support from the NSW Government, through Destination NSW and Screen NSW, Ruben Guthrie is set to showcase our harbour city to audiences across the globe.”

“Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, provided the backdrop for one of the film’s scenes and I’m sure opening night audiences at the State Theatre will be enthralled by the festival, with Ruben Guthrie premiering during this year’s Vivid Sydney,” Mr Ayres says.

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Film-only tickets will be available from 9am on Thursday 16th April, but everyone who has been to the Sydney Festival Opening Night Gala knows that it’s essential to try grab a “Film and Party” ticket, those of which will be available on the same day, but strictly limited. Film and Party tickets include entry to the Opening Night Film and the exclusive afterparty at Keystone;s Cargo Bar.

The Sydney Film Festival Closing Night Film is yet to be announced but tickets are already on sale.

Late last month Sydney Film Festival announced 27 new films to be featured during this year’s June event, all of which are listed HERE

Ruben Guthrie is distributed through Madman Entertainment and will have a national theatrical release on Thursday 16 July.

The Sydney Film Festival Opening Night film is presented by Lexus Australia.

The full Sydney Film Festival program will be announced on Wednesday 6 May at 11am.

Flexipasses to Sydney Film Festival 2015 are on sale now through calling 1300 733 733 or visiting


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.