SXSW Sydney: full screen program 2023

The program for film, TV and XR has landed for the inaugural SXSW Sydney Festival – see all the titles here.

The full program for the inaugural SXSW Sydney 2023 Screen Festival has been released, with more than 75 feature film and TV screenings. The festival runs from 15–22 October 2023.  

Gala events

ONEFOUR: Against All Odds. Image: SXSW Sydney.

Joining the previously announced opening night film, the Australian Premiere of Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel, with Kitty Green and Hugo Weaving in attendance, and the world premiere of Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, the festival has named the following headlining Gala events:

  • Saltburn. The Australian Premiere of the aristocratic thriller, from acclaimed director Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), starring Jacob Elordi.
  • ONEFOUR: Against All Odds. The World Premiere of the music documentary about the Western Sydney drill rap band, with director Gabriel Gasparinatos and producers Sarah Noonan, Erin Moy and Jennifer Peedom attending.
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto|Opus. The Australian Premiere of the final recorded concert from the late, lauded Japanese composer.
  • Stop Making Sense. A Special Presentation of the highly-anticipated 4K re-release of Talking Heads 1984 concert film, directed by Jonathan Demme.

Read: Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker books a headline spot at SXSW Sydney

First Nations

The Getaway. Image: SXSW Sydney.

For the First Nations spotlight, founder and Artistic Director of the Winda Film Festival Pauline Clague has curated a selection of Blak and First Nations storytelling from across the world, including features and shorts:

  • Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On (US), directed by Madison Thomas. 
  • Don’t Bury Me Without Ivan (Russia), directed by Lyubov Borisova. 
  • Fancy Dance (US), directed by Erica Tremblay. 
  • Rosie (Canada), directed by Gail Maurice. 
  • Alanngut Killinganni (The Edge of the Shadows) (Greenland), directed by Malik Kleist.
  • Bangay Lore (AU), directed by Jahvis Loveday. 
  • Black Time, White Time (AU), directed by Edoardo Crismani. 
  • Marlu man (AU), directed by Gary Humanchi.
  • Tambo (AU), directed by Travis Akabar. 
  • The Getaway (AU), directed by Adam Jenkins. 
  • The Tale of Mr. Kimberly (AU), directed by Sam Lovell and Jack Blackburn. 
  • Wanmari (AU), directed by Jake Duczynski. 

Visions – main slate

Andragogy. Image: SXSW Sydney.

  • Agra (India), directed by Kanu Behl. 
  • All Ears (China), directed by Jiayin Liu. 
  • Andragogy (Indonesia), directed by Wregas Bhanuteja. 
  • Asog (Canada/Philippines), directed by Seán Devlin. 
  • Bassendream (AU), directed by Tim Barretto. 
  • Black Barbie (US), directed by Lagueria Davis. 
  • Concrete Utopia (South Korea), directed by Um Tae-hwa. 
  • Deep Rising (US), directed by Matthieu Rytz. 
  • Deep Sea (China), directed by Xiaopeng Tian. 
  • Gagaland (China), directed by Yuhan Teng. 
  • Knit’s Island (France), directed by Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse and Quentin L’Helgouac’h. 
  • Lab Rat (US), directed by Austin Smith, produced by Devo Harris. 
  • La Lucha (AU/Bolivia), directed by Violeta Ayala. 
  • Last Stop Larrimah (US/AU), directed by Thomas Tancred. 
  • Like & Share (Indonesia), directed by Gina S. Noer. 
  • Mars Express (France), directed by Jéréme Périn. 
  • New Strains (US), directed by Prashanth Kamalakanthan and Artemis Shaw. 
  • Nowhere Near (Philippines), directed by Miko Revereza. 
  • Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story (UK), directed by Bruce Fletcher, Otto Baxter and Peter Beard.
  • Paco (AU), directed by Tim Carlier. 
  • Remembering Every Night (Japan), directed by Yui Kiyohara. 
  • Residency (US), directed by Winnie Cheung. 
  • River (Japan), directed Junta Yamaguchi. 
  • Sahela (AU), directed by Raghuvir Joshi. 
  • So Unreal (US), directed by Amanda Kramer. 
  • Space: The Longest Goodbye (Israel), directed by Ido Mazrahy. 
  • Stolen (India), directed by Karan Tejpal. 
  • The Fantastic Golem Affairs (Spain), directed by Juan Gozález and Nando Martínez. 
  • The Feeling That the Time For Doing Something Has Passed (US), directed by Joanna Arnow. 
  • The Human Surge 3 (Argentina), directed by Eduardo Williams. 
  • The Last Year of Darkness (US/China), directed by Ben Mullinkosson. 
  • The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution (US), directed by Ondi Timoner. 
  • The Rooster (AU), directed by Mark Leonard Winter. 
  • This Is Going to be Big (AU), directed by Thomas Charles Hyland. 
  • Time Bomb Y2K (US), directed by Brian Becker and Marley McDonald. 
  • Tokyo Uber Blues (Japan), directed by Taku Aoyagi. 
  • Uproar (NZ), directed by Hamish Bennett and Paul Middleditch. 
  • Voices in Deep (AU), directed by Jason Raftopoulos. 

SXSW Sydney Midnighters

Monolith: SXSW Sydney.

  • Divinity (US), directed by Eddie Alcazar. 
  • In Flames (Pakistan/Canada), directed by Zarrar Kahn. 
  • Loop Track (NZ), directed by Tom Sainsbury. 
  • Monolith (AU), directed by Matt Vesely. 
  • Riddle of Fire (US), directed by Weston Razooli. 
  • Satranic Panic (AU), directed by Alice Maio Mackay. 
  • Sleep (South Korea), directed by Jason Yu. 
  • The Invisible Fight (Estonia), directed by Rainer Sarnet. 
  • The People’s Joker (US), directed by Vera Drew. 
  • You’ll Never Find Me (AU), directed by Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell. 

Read: The People’s Joker: the wildest superhero movie you probably won’t watch


Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg. Image: SXSW Sydney.

  • Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg (US), directed by Alexis Bloom and Svetlana Zill. 
  • Cypher (US), directed by Chris Moukarbel. 
  • Jamojaya (US/Indonesia), directed by Justin Chon. 
  • Let the Canary Sing (US), directed by Alison Ellwood. 
  • Milli Vanilli (US), directed by Luke Korem. 
  • Peter Doherty: Stranger In My Own Skin (US), directed by Katia deVidas. 
  • Plastic (Japan), directed by Daisuke Miyazaki. 
  • Scream of My Blood: A Gogol Bordello Story (US), directed by Nate Pommer and Eric Weinrib. 
  • TLC Forever (US), directed by Matt Kay. 

Special Presentations

Lake Mungo. Image: SXSW Sydney.

  • Lake Mungo (AU). Joel Anderson’s feature debut from 2008 about strange events that occur after a girl is found drowned, is heralded by genre-enthusiasts as one of Australia’s best and scariest ghost films. This 4K remastered retrospective screening, presented in collaboration with Umbrella Entertainment, brings a true home-grown classic back from the dead. 
  • Stop Making Sense (US). This 4K restoration of the 1984 Talking Heads concert film, directed by Jonathan Demme, coincides with the film’s 40th anniversary. Considered by critics and fans to be the greatest concert film of all time, SXSW Sydney will screen the NSW Premiere in 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound. 

TV Premieres

Erotic Stories. Image: SXSW Sydney.

  • Doona! (South Korea), directed by Jung Hyo Lee. 
  • Erotic Stories (AU), directed by Leticia Cáceres and Madeleine Gottlieb. 
  • Night Bloomers (AU), directed by Andrew Undi Lee. 
  • The Disposables (AU), directed by Renny Wijeyamohan and Sonia Whiteman. 
  • The Pink Shirt (India/Pakistan), directed by Kashif Nisar. 

Music videos

BVT – Lalaki. Image: SXSW Sydney.

  • 1300 – Rocksta (AU), directed by Raghav Rampal. 
  • ASHWARYA – Up In My Head (AU), directed by Charles Buxton-Leslie. 
  • BABYMETAL – METALI!! メタり!! feat. Tom Morello (Japan). 
  • Black Cab – Superfans! (AU), directed by Darcy Conlan. 
  • Bumpy – Return Home (AU), directed by Lewis Robert. 
  • BVT – Lalaki (AU), directed by Steph Jowett. 
  • Chela – Hard 4 You (AU), directed by Genevieve Gorman Deane. 
  • Confidence Man – Feels Like a Different Thing (AU), directed by William Bleakley. 
  • Ema I’u – Flower of Life (AU), directed by Francis Baker. 
  • Genesis Owusu – Leaving the Light (AU), directed by Lisa Reihana. 
  • Golden Features – Vigil (AU), directed by William Bleakley. 
  • Isyana Sarasvati – My Mystery (Indonesia), directed by Habille Elgieano. 
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Black Hot Soup (DJ Shadow My Own Reality Re- Write) (AU), directed by John Angus Stewart. 
  • Lastlings – Noise (AU), directed by Harrison Friend and Sam Stevenson. 
  • Maie – Kosmo (AU/China), directed by Reggie Ba-Pe III and William Mok. 
  • Phum Viphurit – Welcome Change (Thailand), directed by Kuttiya Kanchanasopawong. 
  • Rodney Chrome – To the Money (US), directed by Zachary Dov Wiesel. 
  • Sahara Beck – Nothing Wrong With That (AU), directed by Jack Rintoul. 
  • Ta-ku – SMILE feat. Xavier Omär, DAISY WORLD & ROMderful (AU), directed by Regan Mathews (aka Ta-ku). 
  • The Dinosaur’s Skin 恐龍的皮 – In My Dreams (You’re Not Extinct) (Taiwan), directed by 郭佩萱 Pei-Hsuan Guo. 

XR Showcase

Julaymba. Image: SXSW Sydney.

  • 444.2 (AU/SA), created by Nirma Madhoo. Australian Premiere. Experience a superposition of ancient African cultures of technology with the virtual geography of the Southern African Large Telescope [SALT], as a landmark of modern astrophysics. 
  • Antipsychotic (US), created by Matt McCorkle. Australian Premiere. This non-linear, interactive docu-music album aims to help destigmatise mental illness by allowing the user to journey through the mind of an individual with bipolar disorder. 
  • From the Main Square (Germany), created by Pedro Harres. Australian Premiere. A civilization blossoms, with all its contradictions, only to become a danger to itself in this interactive VR experience depicting the disturbingly resonant rise and fall of a divided society. 
  • Julaymba (AU), created by Joseph Purdam. World Premiere. A groundbreaking Mixed Reality experience that offers an immersive journey through the Daintree Rainforest, and learn about the Traditional Owners’ relationship with nature. 
  • Libertas Vanitas (AU), created by Shaun Gladwell. World Premiere. A meditation on the concept of ‘Liberty’ within and beyond the charter of liberal democracies, featuring soundtrack ‘Madwoman’s Vision’ (1988) by American composer Meredith Monk. 
  • Pedal Rebel VR (AU), created by Jonathan Kovarch. NSW Premiere. Pedal Rebel VR is an adrenaline-pumping cyberpunk motorcycle street racing game that transforms an exercise bike and VR headset into an immersive racing experience! 
  • Prison X (AU/Bolivia), created by Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw. Australian Premiere. Step into the surreal world of Prison X, an infamous Bolivian jail inside a Neo-Andean underworld filled with devils, saints, and corruption. Bolivian-Australian director Violeta Ayala’s 2023 documentary La Lucha is also screening at SXSW Sydney. 
  • Reimagined Vol II: Mahal (US) created by Michaela Ternasky-Holland. Australian Premiere. Inspired by Philippine mythology (lead creator, Michaela is of Filipino descent), the experience focuses four mythic deities whose grief ripples through their universe. 
  • Square Circles (AU), Created by William Barton and Stephen King. NSW Premiere. An immersive journey through composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Kalkadunga man William Barton’s ancestral song-line. Barton is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading didgeridoo players and composers. Features the Australian String Quartet. 
  • Stay Alive My Son (Parts 1 & 2) (Greece, UK) created by Victoria Bousis. Australian Premiere. Based on the internationally celebrated memoirs of Pin Yathay, Tu vivras, mon fils, this gamified documentary puts the player into the shoes of a Cambodian genocide survivor and father, transforming joy, grief, guilt, and empowerment in the virtual world to inspire change in the real. 
  • Through the Eyes of Our Ancestors (AU), created by Mod. World Premiere. A holographic experience featuring First Nations Traditional Owner, Nicholas Thompson- Wymarra, sharing stories from Gudang Yadhaykenu Country in Australia’s remote far north, the northern Cape York Peninsula. 
  • TOMO VR (NZ), created by Gabrielle Thomas and Ed Davis. Australian Premiere. Adapted from a stage show about the whakapapa of light and darkness, birth, life and death and the dream space. Gabrielle Thomas is a choreographer and dancer of Kāi Tahu and Te Atiawa ki te Tau Ihu descent. 

In competition

Tokyo Uber Blues. Image: SXSW Sydney.

The following feature films are in competition at the inaugural SXSW Sydney Screen Festival:

  • All Ears (China), directed by Jiayin Liu. 
  • Andragogy (Indonesia), directed by Wregas Bhanuteja. 
  • Voices in Deep (AU), directed by Jason Raftopoulos. 
  • Remembering Every Night (Japan), directed by Yui Kiyohara. 
  • Gagaland (China), directed by Yuhan Teng. 
  • Plastic (Japan), directed by Daisuke Miyazaki. 
  • You’ll Never Find Me (AU), directed by Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell. 
  • Nowhere Near (Philippines), directed by Miko Revereza. 
  • The Last Year of Darkness (US/China), directed by Ben Mullinkosson. 
  • Tokyo Uber Blues (Japan), directed by Taku Aoyagi. 

The following short films are also in competition:

  • Architect A (South Korea), directed by Jonghoon Lee. 
  • Hyperconnect (AU), directed by Jim Muntisov. 
  • Basri & Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy (Indonesia), directed by Khozy Rizal. 
  • On Film (AU), directed by Emma Hough Hobbs. 
  • Eid Mubarak (Pakistan), directed by Mahnoor Euceph. 
  • Rival Dealer (AU), directed by John Angus Stewart. 
  • False as a Beach (AU), directed by Stephanie Jane Day. 
  • Sugar Rag (US/AU), directed by Jai Love LaPan. 
  • Sweet Juices (AU), directed by Sejon Im, Will Suen. 
  • The Tale of Mr. Kimberley (AU), directed by Jake Blackburn and Sam Lovell. 

The following XR projects are in competition at the festival:

  • 444.2 (AU/SA), created by Nirma Madhoo – World Premiere. 
  • Julaymba (AU), created by Joseph Purdam – World Premiere. 
  • Libertas Vanitas (AU), created by Shaun Gladwell – World Premiere. 
  • Pedal Rebel VR (AU), created by Jonathan Kovarch – NSW Premiere. 
  • Prison X (AU/Bolivia), created by Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw – Australian Premiere. 
  • Square Circles (AU), Created by William Barton and Stephen King – NSW Premiere. 
  • Through the Eyes of Our Ancestors (AU), created by Mod – World Premiere. 
  • TOMO VR (NZ), created by Gabrielle Thomas and Ed Davis – Australian Premiere. 

Visit SXSW Sydney for more information.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites