• Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel star in 'It's Only The End Of The World'. (Cannes)Source: Cannes
Find out more about the 12 films competing for the Sydney Film Festival's prestigious Sydney Film Prize.
11 May 2016 - 11:03 AM  UPDATED 11 May 2016 - 11:24 AM


(Ivan Sen, Australia)

Ivan Sen's follow-up to Mystery Road will launch the 2016 Sydney Film Festival Competition on June 8. Aaron Pedersen reprises the role of outback cop Jay Swan, who heads to the mining town of Goldstone to investigate a woman's disappearance but his unwelcome enquiries rise the ire of corrupt local officials.

Watch the trailer:


Land of Mine

(Martin Zandvliet, Denmark/Germany)

A Danish Army Sergeant, reeling from five years of German occupation, takes liberties with the lives of Nazi soldiers assigned to his command in the immediate aftermath of WWII. He regards the POWs as an expendable asset, and implements his own form of post-war payback - using them as real-life landmine detectors.  

Watch the trailer (no subtitles):


(Bun Junfeng, Singapore)

"Yes, I'm good at killing people. So what?!

A Malay correctional officer gets a high profile transfer and ends up working for the person who executed his father: the facility's chief hangman.   Their uneasy partnership sets off tense discussions about crime, punishment and concept of rehabilitation, in this second feature by Singaporean writer/director Boo JunFeng. The film screens in Sydney direct from its premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in the Un certain regard sidebar.  

Watch the trailer:

Raman Raghav 2.0

(Aburag Kashyap, India) 

The Gangs of Wasseypur director returns to SFF with this psychological thriller about India's most notorious serial killer, Raman Raghav - dubbed 'Psycho Raman'.  The movie stars Indian favourites Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal, and tells the grisly story of the man responsible for over thirty people (at least)  in Mumbai in the late 1960s. Follows its world premiere at Director's Fortnight in Cannes.



(Kleber Mendoonça Filho, Brazil)

Coming to Sydney direct from the Cannes Film Festival is the new film by Neighbouring Sounds director, which again deals with people living at close quarters in Brazil. Sonia Braga stars as the strong-willed solo resident of the Aquarius apartment building, who refuses to bow to pressure to sell to developers. 

It's Only The End of the World 

(Xavier Dolan, France/Canada)

Expect high drama and A-list angst in this story of a writer who returns home after a 12-year absence, to confront his self-involved family with the news of his impending death. A Palme d'Or contender at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival,  It's Only The End of the World is the latest domestic melodrama from Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan (Mommy, Heartbeats). It stars Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel.  

Watch the scene clip below:

Certain Women

(Kelly Reichardt, USA)

American Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff, River of Grass) applies her spare storytelling technique to the experiences of three Montana women (a lawyer ignored by her client, a mother on a family camping trip, a horse rancher enrolled in an adult eduction class) as they negotiate moments of confrontation. Starring Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern, it screens in Sydney after its world premiere at Sundance.  

Letters From War  

(Ivo Ferreira, Portugal)

A doctor is drafted into Portugal's Colonial War and is stationed in Angola. His letters home to his pregnant wife are read aloud, with visual overlay of his daily horrors, in this recreation of the actual experiences of Portuguese author and poet, Antonio Lono Atunes. The film screened in Berlin and director Ivo M. Ferreira will attend screenings as a guest of this year's SFF. 

Watch the trailer:


Notes on Blindness

(Pete Middleton, James Spinney, UK) 

“The world into which I am being dragged with my loved ones will engulf us. There will be no return. Blindness is permanent and irreversible... My life is in crisis"

Writer and theologian John Hull applied his skills for meticulous documentation to the experience of losing his sight; he recorded a 16-hour diary on crackling C90 audio cassettes. The result is this immersive documentary, which blends Hull's recordings with recreations and dramatised elements. The film is part of a wider interactive project by the NY Times

Watch the trailer:


The Childhood of a Leader

(Brady Corbet, UK/Hungary/France)

Actor Brady Corbet tackles the ambitious re-imagining of a Jean-Paul Sartre short story, about the questionable parenting practices that enable a bratty child to evolve into an anti-Semitic despot.  Robert Pattinson stars with Berenice Bejo and Liam Cunningham. The film garnered mixed reviews at its world premiere in Venice last year. 

Watch a clip:


The Endless River

(Oliver Hermanus, South Africa, France)

South African filmmaker Oliver Hermanus returns to the Sydney Film Festival, after Beauty screened out of competition in 2012. His latest is another story of a cycle of violence within his country, told from the perspective of a man returning home after a prison stint. A violent murder in the neighbourhood disrupts his reunion with his wife, when she finds a new connection with the victim's husband.  The Endless River screened in both Venice and Toronto in 2015. 

Watch the trailer:



(Paddy Breathnach, Ireland)

A rags-to-sequins story of a Havana hairdresser who aspires to be one of the drag queens whose 'dos he coiffs. Paddy Breathneath's Viva got a great write-up in the NY Times, for taking a formulaic plotline and turning it into something special.   

Watch the trailer:


Read more of the latest SBS Movies news 

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Find out more about the films screening at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival.
Ivan Sen's 'Goldstone' to open Sydney Film Festival
Unofficial sequel to 2013 opener 'Mystery Road' also get the top slot.