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Sydney Film Festival

  • Written by Amber Forrest-Bisley

This World Environment Day, June 5, the 69th Sydney Film Festival is offering all nine films shortlisted for the Sustainable Future Award at a discounted rate of $10 per ticket. All films will screen at the 69th Sydney Film Festival from June 8 – 19.

Established last year, the Sustainable Future Award, is a $10,000 cash prize to a narrative or documentary film of any length that deepens our knowledge and awareness of the impact of the global climate emergency. Five documentaries, three features and one short, created by filmmakers from around the world have been shortlisted for this year’s awards.

“The Festival is proud to present the Sustainable Future Award in 2022, and with a special World Environment Day offer we encourage our audience to buy tickets to as many of these vital films as they can. Each film has been selected for its focus on the impact of climate change, including the 2022 Sundance and Cannes Golden Eye award winning All That Breathes, and Utama, which is also screening in the Festival’s Official Competition,” said Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley.

“Climate change is a global problem and we must address it as such, forgetting borders and political differences,” says Alejandro Loayza Grisi, director of Utama. “Climate migration is a reality and it will get worse year after year. We have to face this as a global problem to avoid huge injustices and tragedies.”

For Amy Powney, the subject of the documentary Fashion Reimagined, environmental impact is front and centre of her thinking.

“Everything you create has a footprint, and in fashion it’s huge,” Powney explains. “We don’t live in a time now where you can just design something because you want to design it. Who is it for? Who’s the customer? Who’s going to wear this? And if I still want to make it because it’s really valid and it’s going to make someone feel great, is there a better way to do it? How do we somehow find the balance of keeping the enjoyment of fashion but thinking about the impact of clothing on the planet?”

Sustainability is not a purchase, Powney adds. “It’s not about buying an expensive piece of clothing. It’s simply a mindset. Which means everybody can participate.” 

Sophie Harris, director of the short film Big Water Summer: A Creation Story, says she did not set out to make a film about sustainability. “But, as the documentary unfolded, the insidious, universal and unavoidable importance of climate change became central to our story and a testament to what's happening in the world today.”

Australian Filmmaker Eva Orner’s Burning was announced as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2021. The Award is philanthropically funded by a syndicate of climate activists, led by Award Sponsor Amanda Maple-Brown; and is motivated by their belief in the power of film to heighten community awareness of the urgent need for action on climate change.

All films will screen in-cinema at the 69th Sydney Film Festival, with the winner of the Sustainable Future Award to be revealed at the Festival’s Closing Night Gala, on Sunday, June 19.

Documentaries

  • All That Breathes | 2022 | Director: Shaunak Sen
    An intimate portrait of two brothers who devote their lives to rescuing New Delhi’s black kites. Winner of Sundance 2022 Grand Jury Prize and 2022 Cannes Golden Eye winner.
  • Delikado | 2022 | Director: Karl Malakunas
    An examination of the tensions between illegal loggers and land defenders on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. Also competing in the Documentary Australia Award for Best Documentary.
  • Fashion Reimagined | 2022 | Director: Becky Hutner
    A film following fashion designer Amy Powney (of cult label Mother of Pearl) on her global journey to craft a sustainable collection. Selected for Tribeca 2022.
  • Into The Ice | 2022 | Director, Narrator: Lars Henrik Ostenfeld
    A visually stunning exploration taking audiences on to and below the Greenland ice sheet with three intrepid scientists searching for clues to our climate future.
  • The Territory | 2022 | Director: Alex Pritz
    A doco focusing on the fight of the First Peoples of Brazil as they defend their Amazon rainforest against land grabs and illegal logging. Winner of the Sundance 2022 World Cinema Documentary Audience Award.

Features

  • The Burning Sea | 2021 | Director: John Andreas Andersen
    Norwegian eco-disaster thriller imagines what might happen if 50 years of off-shore oil drilling triggered an environmental collapse.
  • Costa Brava, Lebanon | 2021 | Director: Mounia Akl
    Mounia Akl’s award-winning debut focusses on a couple who abandon a polluted Beirut for an idyllic existence in the mountains - only to have big city corruption follow them. Winner of the London Film Festival Audience Award.
  • Utama | 2021 | Director: Alejandro Loayza Grisi
    The story of an elderly Indigenous couple in the Bolivian highlands and their fight to preserve their way of life, also screening in Sydney Film Festival’s Official Competition. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, Sundance 2022.

Short

  • Big Water Summer: A Creation Story | 2022 | Director: Sophie Harris
    A Navajo woman returns to her ancestral land to grow produce for her community.

The full Sydney Film Festival 2022 program can be found online at sff.org.au.

Sydney Film Festival runs in cinemas 8-19 June 2022Tickets and flexipasses to Sydney Film Festival 2022 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information or to book.

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