#IrishAbroad: Sydney Film Festival announces schedule with Focus On Ireland

Today the Sydney Film Festival announced the line-up and schedule for their 63rd film festival with programmes covering Korean independent cinema, film critic David Stratton’s retrospective on the works of Martin Scorsese, European Cinema: 10 Women Filmmakers to Watch, and most importantly (for us) a special Focus on Ireland.

This Focus on Ireland, which is curated by Dublin International Film Festival chief Gráinne Humphreys, aims to celebrate the high point of Irish cinema by screening 6 films: Risteard O Domhnaill’s brilliant documentary Atlantic; a 20th anniversary screening of Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins; Ken Wardrop’s IFTA award-winning documentary Mom and Me; Conor Horgan’s uplifting documentary The Queen of Ireland, John Carney’s toe-tapping musical-drama Sing Street; and Paddy Breathnach sublime Spanish-language drama Viva.

Speaking on her selection Humphreys said:

At the launch of the Dublin International Film Festival last February, I commented that 2016 would prove to a hugely significant year for Irish cinema. This hyperbole was based both on the Oscar nominations for Brooklyn and Room (as well as the winning short film Stutterer), but also the exceptionally rich group of new work which would soon be seen, significant films which I knew would appeal to broad audiences both in Ireland and internationally. This short season curated especially for Sydney Film Festival celebrates this high point with the Australian premieres of Sing Street, Viva, Love & Friendship, vibrant documentaries such as The Queen of Ireland, Mom and Me, Atlantic and Neil Jordan’s classic Michael Collins.

Viva will compete as one of 12 competition titles. The Mark O’Halloran-scripted, Cuban-set, drama will face off against some big titles, including 4 that are currently playing at the Cannes Film Festival, namely Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius, Boo Jen Fung’s Apprentice, Anurag Kashyup’s Psycho Raman, and Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of The World.

Speaking on the quality of the films in competition, festival director Nashen Moodley said:

Sydney Film Festival’s official competition is where audiences can experience some of the most exciting films and filmmakers in the world right now. The competition is a compelling program of 12 of films that demonstrate the cutting edge of filmmaking, and this year’s selection offers some true surprises.

In addition to the six specially selected films, Ireland will also be represented at the festival by Whit Stillman’s Irish co-produced period-comedy Love & Friendship, which will serve as the festival’s Closing Gala. The Northern Irish filmed High-Rise, from director Ben Wheatley, and the Martin McDonagh directed War on Everyone will also play out of competition.

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival will run June 8th to 19th.