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Preview: The best of SXSW Sydney's Screen Festival 2023.

Preview: The best of SXSW Sydney's Screen Festival 2023.

The SXSW Sydney 2023 Screen Festival not only features a programme that includes Emerald Fennell's highly anticipated new film 'Saltburn', Kitty Green's 'The Royal Hotel', and a special presentation of the iconic Talking Heads concert-film 'Stop Making Sense', but also a keynote address with 'Black Mirror' creator Charlie Brooker, and a Blossom Films industry showcase with Nicole Kidman and Per Saari.
 
The SXSW Sydney 2023 Screen Festival takes place from October 15 to 21.

Here's a look at what we're looking forward to seeing at SXSW Sydney:

CHARLIE BROOKER
"Having to quickly provide a personal quote for a press release about how excited I am to join the inaugural Sydney-flavoured SXSW event is exactly the sort of thing ChatGPT is for, but I’ve written this one myself because I still care about our species, dammit. Although I initially misspelt “inaugural” just then until I got corrected by a machine, so actually maybe we’re just rubbish. This tense love-hate relationship with technology is what Black Mirror is all about. That and stories about Prime Ministers and pigs. Anyway, I can’t wait to attend and get so cowed by all the creativity and innovation on display that I go home feeling depressed and inadequate. I’m genuinely looking forward to it,” says Brooker.

'SALTBURN'
Academy Award winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) brings us a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire. Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten.

'STOP MAKING SENSE'
Newly restored in 4K to coincide with its 40th anniversary, the 1984 film was directed by renowned filmmaker Jonathan Demme and is considered by critics as the greatest concert film of all time. Stop Making Sense stars core band members David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison along with Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steve Scales, Lynn Mabry and Edna Holt. The live performance was shot over the course of three nights in Hollywood's Pantages Theatre in December 1983 and features Talking Heads' most memorable songs.

BLOSSOM FILMS
This session takes us inside the award-winning production company Blossom Films (Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, The Undoing, Love and Death, and the upcoming Expats) with Australian screen icon and longtime supporter of AiF Nicole Kidman and her producing partner Per Saari.

'THE ROYAL HOTEL'
The Royal Hotel takes the familiar down under backpacker hair-raiser and flips it on its head, examining drinking culture, toxic masculinity and gender politics through a distinctively female lens. Searching for adventure and strapped for cash, US backpackers Hanna (Julia Garner) and Liv (Jessica Henwick) take jobs and accommodation at a remote outback pub, The Royal Hotel. Relentless heat, unglamorous booze in a box, and lack of wi-fi don’t paint the idyllic picture of an Aussie holiday the friends had envisioned, but the real threat grows increasingly intense and volatile as they become acquainted with the town’s primarily male residents. Director Kitty Green will be in attendance for our Opening Night screening of The Royal Hotel.

'CYPHER'
Praised by the likes of Erykah Badu and Billie Eilish, Tierra Whack’s indisputable talent is on full display in Chris Moukarbel’s mind-bending doc, which will leave audiences questioning everything they see. Rapper Tierra Whack first caught the world’s attention at age 15 when a video of her slick poetry went viral on YouTube. Cypher charts the astronomical rise that followed, going behind the scenes of Tierra’s live shows as she navigates the peaks and pitfalls of fame. One night, after a particularly tiring set, a seemingly innocuous fan interaction begins a series of increasingly unsettling events that swirl around Tierra and her team — even following them to Dubai. They soon start questioning who is filming whom and whether being seen (or watched) is a desirable and unavoidable part of fame.

'TLC FOREVER'
Following its world premiere at Sheffield DocFest 2023, this intimate documentary captures the highs and lows of America’s best-selling girl group. In 1991 Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas formed legendary R&B group TLC. From bankruptcy and fallouts to illness and death, heartbreak and controversy have defined TLC’s career as much as their momentous successes. Matt Kay’s film showcases the pioneering trio that flourished into a sisterhood that broke the mould for women in more ways than one.

'SPACE: THE LONGEST GOODBYE'
This conflict transcends space travel: how do we balance our quest for progress with the deep connection to our history and each other? In the next decade, NASA intends to send astronauts to Mars for the first time. Throughout their three-year absence, crew members won’t be able to communicate with Earth in real time due to the immense distance. The psychological impact of this level of disconnectedness and isolation—both from mission control and loved ones—is impossible to predict and endangers the mission itself.

For more information about purchasing SXSW Sydney badges/wristbands, click here.

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