Diverse NSW screen industry strength is on show at Sydney Film Festival

Create NSW’s commitment to screen gender parity (50:50 by 2020) is reflected in the NSW-funded films premiering at this year’s 65th Sydney Film Festival, along with support for filmmakers with disability through the second year of the Screenability series. 

Echoing the gender parity in the Festival’s official competition this year, the ten NSW projects supported by Create NSW are headed by five female directors across five feature documentaries, four shorts and one family film. 

China Love from first-time director Olivia Martin-McGuire is the second film funded under the Create NSW and ABC TV Arts Documentary Film Fund. The documentary will receive its world-premiere at the festival, and screen on ABC TV at a later date. 

Backtrack Boys from director and producer Catherine Scott is the inspiring story of troubled Armidale teens taught how to find their place through the curious challenge of dog jumping trials. 

Finke: There & Back from director Dylan River (the son of Warwick Thornton, who opened last year’s SFF) documents the blood, sweat and tears surrounding the Finke Desert Race, the largest off-road motor race in the Southern Hemisphere and Australia's fastest and deadliest off-road motor sport event. 

Oyster from director Kim Beamish details the three years it takes NSW South Coast oyster farmers to bring Sydney Rock Oysters to market, and the autobiographical fishing trip Teach A Man To Fish stars Indigenous filmmaker Grant Leigh Saunders coming to terms with his identity in his mid-40s. 

After a sell-out inaugural first year, the Festival also welcomes the return of Screenability, the exciting platform for screen practitioners with disability, in partnership with Create NSW and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Three of the six programmed titles, Broken, Intimate Encounters 20 Years On and Tip of My Tongue are led by the recipients of this year’s Create NSW Screenability Filmmakers Fund, emerging filmmakers Samia Halabi, Dieter Knierem and Daniel Monks. 

Short film Asian Girls from Hyun Lee is in competition for the Dendy Award for Australian Short Films, and Maya the plucky bee returns in the charming animated adventure Maya The Bee: The Honey Games, showing for family audiences.


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