Sydney fest reveals competition lineup

Australian premiere, co-production bookend 12-day event

SYDNEY -- The 57th Sydney Film Festival will feature seven world premieres and 90 Australian premieres, including the world premiere of opening night film, Shirley Barrett's "South Solitary," starring father and daughter Barry and Miranda Otto, organizers said Wednesday.

The official competition line-up for the Sydney Film Prize, has three features that come directly from the Cannes Film Festival, including Julie Bertucelli's "The Tree" -- the Australian-French co-production that will be the Cannes Film festival's closing night film -- Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" and Canadian Xavier Dolan's "Heartbeats."

Also in competition is new Western Australian feature "Wasted on the Young" from first-time director Ben C Lucas as well as Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me," Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime," Brillante Mendoza's "Lola" and Iranian Shirin Neshat's "Women Without Men."

Berlin International Film Festival winners "How I Ended this Summer" and Romania's "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle" will also compete for the AUS$60,000 (US$54,252) prize while Chris Morris' comedy "Four Lions" and Raoul Peck's Haitian satire "Moloch Tropical" round out the dozen films in competition.

"The 2010 Official Competition line-up is set to take Sydney by storm – daring, commanding films that have already made a splash on the world's best screens alongside a significant Australian discovery and films that will be unleashed at 63rd Cannes Film Festival next week," festival director Clare Stewart said.

The full program for the13-day fest that runs June 2-14 will have 157 films from 47 countries screened, the Foxtel documentary prize awarded for the second year and the traditional audience awards and Dendy Short Film Awards.

In addition there'll be a raft of industry development days, a new partnership with the Sydney Opera House, and a tie in for the first time with the City of Sydney's new Vivid festival.

The Playhouse at the Sydney Opera House will be home to Sounds on Screen, a celebration of the relationship between film and music, which will include Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed's Day for Night Movie Marathon -- eight hours of film, live music and spoken word curated by filmmaker and artist Bill Morrison.

Headlining the various sidebars, created to answer the question "what film do I feel like seeing tonight?" will be features including Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" starring Ewan McGregor, "The Runaways" starring Kristen Stewart and "Mammuth" with Gerard Depardieu, documentary "Joan Rivers; A Piece Of Work."

Other world premieres of Australian films include "The Waiting City," "Red Hill" and Dam Blaiklock's "Caught Inside."

Tapping into the current thirst for films vampiric, this years retrospective will cover undead classics including 80s neo-vampire flick "Near Dark" by "Hurt Locker" Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow, Roman Polanski's "Dance of the Vampires," his U.K. version of the film that was released elsewhere as "The Fearless Vampire Killers" and "Nosferatu," screened with a live soundtrack.

The festival will close on June 14 with the Australian premiere of Lisa Chodolenko's family comedy, "The Kids Are All Right," starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska.

After several years operating in the red, the festival recently received an injection of funding from the New South Wales government of around $3 million over three years.
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