Sydney Film Festival names industry guests for 2022

The team from We Are Still Here will present the Opening Night World Premiere at this year's festival.

The Sydney Film Festival has announced the first slate of industry guests who will attend the Australian and World Premieres of their films, walk the Festival’s red carpets, introduce their films, and participate in talks, panels and Q&A sessions.

The filmmaking team from We Are Still Here will present the Opening Night World Premiere of the multi-genre anthology on First Nations peoples. The team includes Australian directors: Beck Cole, Danielle Maclean, Dena Curtis, Tracey Rigney; New Zealand Aotearoa directors: Tim Worrall, Chantelle Burgoyne, Mario Gaoa, Miki Magasiva, Richard Curtis; and producers Mia Henry-Tierney, Mitchell Stanley, Toni Stowers and Renae Maihi.The team will then speak at the Festival Hub in First Nation Next Wave, where they will discuss how they created a film with 10 directors in two countries during a pandemic.

Guests introducing their films in Special Presentations at the State Theatre include: New Zealand director Armağan Ballantyne and writer/cast member Jackie van Beek (The Breaker Upperers), who will introduce the uproariously funny Nude Tuesday, about a couple who end up at a new-age retreat, with cast members Damon Herriman and Jemaine Clement joining as guests; and Australian director Gracie Otto (Under the Volcano) and writer Krew Boylan will present Seriously Red, Otto’s feature debut depicting a misguided redhead who becomes a Dolly Parton impersonator.

Read: Stan’s new comedy Nude Tuesday will be a lot to bare

Australian filmmakers attending as guests to introduce the Word Premieres of their feature films include: director and co-writer Macario de Souza for 6 Festivals, a moving love-letter to young friendship and the life-altering power of live music; writer-director Rowan Devereux for his irreverent comedy Evicted! A Modern Romance, about four spuriously employed housemates on the verge of eviction; and director-producer Molly Haddon’s The Longest Weekend, an indie film about a sibling reunion in Sydney’s inner west.

Guests presenting the World Premieres of the two Australian series in the Festival include: director Dylan River (Buckskin) and actors Mark Coles-Smith, Toby Leonard Moore, Tuuli Narkle and Steve Bisley from Mystery Road: Origin; and director Erica Glynn, writer-director Steven McGregor and actor Warren H. Williams from True Colours.

Australian filmmakers Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes will present their millennial comedy-horror Sissy with lead actor Aisha Dee (The Bold Type). Australian filmmaker-barrister David Easteal will present his film The Plains, an intimate portrait of a middle-aged Australian driving home from work over the course of a year which was in Competition, Rotterdam.

Read: Sissy and more Australian horror films in 2022

Australian writer-director Craig Boreham and members of the filmmaking team will be guests of the Festival to introduce their film Lonesome, a queer exploration of desire, sexuality and isolation set in Sydney.

New Zealand Aotearoa filmmaker Michelle Savill will present her Berlin and SXSW favourite Millie Lies Low, a thoughtful exploration of impostor syndrome and the ways anxiety can distort decision making.

Turkish filmmaker and SFF Official Competition Jury Member Semih Kaplanoğlu will present his Un Certain Regard-nominated morality fable Commitment Hasan, the story of a farmer who sets about clearing his slate before his pilgrimage to Mecca.

Indian director Karan Gour and cast members Mukul Chadda and Annukampa Harsh will present the magical realist drama Fairy Folk, telling the story of a genderless woodland creature that crashes into the lives of a jaded couple.

Read: Nashen Moodley, Sydney Film Festival: ‘the in-person event is the ideal’

Korean director Shin Su-Won will attend to present her tantalising mystery Hommage starring Lee Jeongeun (Parasite).

Japanese folklore-glam-rock-musical-anime epic Inu-Oh will be presented by its director, Masaaki Yuasa.

Bangladeshi filmmaker and Official Competition Jury member Mostafa Sarwar Farooki (Television, Saturday Afternoon) and actor Megan Mitchell will attend to present their film No Land’s Man, the story of a South Asian man fleeing persecution who meets an Australian woman in New York.

Canadian director Ashley McKenzie will present her film in the Flux: Art+Film strand, Queens of Qing Dynasty, a story of magnetic attraction and unlikely kinship between a neurodivergent teen and a queer student from Shanghai.

International documentaries

International film guests introducing their documentaries include UK director, producer, writer and cinematographer Joe Hunting, who will present his Sundance and CPH:DOX selected film We Met in Virtual Reality.

Germany-based documentarian Lena Karbe will attend to present her astute study of South Africa’s first all-female anti-poaching unit, Black Mambas, which won the F:ACT Award at CPH:DOX.

Prizewinning Bangladeshi director Kamar Ahmad Simon will present his documentary Day After…, a seductive journey on a century-old river steamer overflowing with passengers from all walks of life. Vietnamese documentarian and Winner of Best Director at IDFA, Diễm Hà Lệ will present Children of the Mist, her portrait of a Hmong girl living in the mountains of North Vietnam, where bride-kidnapping remains a tradition.

Burmese director Snow Hnin El Hlaing will present her Sundance award-winning documentary Midwives, filmed over five turbulent years and following a Buddhist midwife and her Rohingya trainee in Western Myanmar.

South Sudanese documentarian Akuol de Mabior will present her personal and perceptive documentary No Simple Way Home, about a family who return home to South Sudan to help forge the young nation’s future.

Film guests for all nine Documentary Australia films will attend the Festival to introduce their films, including: Luke Cornish (Keep Stepping), Jason van Genderen (Everybody’s Oma), Penelope McDonald (Audrey Napanangka) along with the film’s subject Audrey Martin; Maya Newell (The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone) and the film’s subject Georgie Stone; Brodie Poole (General Hercules); Adrian Di Salle (Polenta); Jessica Barclay Lawton (The Sweetness); and Simon Target (Warrawong…the windy place on the hill).

Sustainable Future Awards

Guests presenting their films competing in the Sustainable Future Awards include: Australian director Karl Malakunas (Delikado – also screening in the Documentary Australia competition), Bolivian director Alejandro Loayza Grisi (Utama) and All That Breathes’ film subject Nadeem Shehzad.

Filmmakers from Europe! Voices of Women in Film presenting their films to Festival audiences are: Irish director and screenwriter Antonia Campbell-Hughes (It Is In Us All); Romanian director and screenwriter Alina Grigore (Blue Moon); Danish director and screenwriter Tea Lindeburg (As In Heaven), and Swiss director-screenwriter Eva Vitija (Loving Highsmith). These guests will also take part in the public talk Europe! Voices of Women in Film at The Hub, discussing why a focus on women is still needed in 2022, with Screen International’s Sandy George.

Filmmaker guests from the Screenability program will include the filmmakers selected for the Screenability Filmmakers Fund for Screen NSW: Madeleine Stewart (Inspire Me); Steve Anthopoulos (Voice Activated), and Natalia Stawyskyj (All Silent Dogs).

Read: SXSW film award for Australia’s Back to Back Theatre

After the screening of Shadow, in partnership with Accessible Arts, members of the film team from Geelong’s Back to Back Theatre Company, will discuss their lived experiences, with writer-director Johanna Garvin.


Sydney Film Festival runs in cinemas 8-19 June 2022. See the SFF website for more information.