What We're Reading / Sydney Film Festival

With the Sydney Film Festival fast approaching, we compiled a list of the best book adaptations and Australian writers that you cannot miss!

Each year the Sydney Film Festival delivers a program that showcases outstanding story, screen and scriptwriting, as well as adaptations. This year is no different, so here at Writing NSW we’ve compiled the best book adaptations and Australian writing that we’re itching to see:

Palm Beach by Rachel Ward (image supplied by Sydney Film Festival)

Rachel Ward is rightly featuring not one but two films in this year’s festival, as well as presenting the Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture. Ward is many things – actor, director, national treasure – but her screenwriting represents the best of Australian drama and comedy, covering family and friendship in all its complexity and hilarity. See her works Palm Beach (2019) and Beautiful Kate (2008).

For fans of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s classic, Depraved is a fresh take on the Frankenstein cautionary tale – think punk rock, gore and a splash of dark humour. We’re keen to see where indie horror screenwriter Larry Fessenden goes with his second feature.

Sydney-based Partho Sen-Gupta wrote and directed Slam, an urgent and sharp examination of Australian culture and the rise of Islamophobia, set and filmed in Bankstown. And to top this off, the Festival will be holding a poetry slam at the Hub straight after the screening. We won’t be missing this.

In this captivating documentary by Marjoleine Boonstra, literary classic The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery is used as a frame for how ancient cultures keep their language and culture alive. The Miracle of the Little Prince is significant and timely during the UN’s Year of Indigenous Languages.

We’re always here for a homegrown story – especially when there is the chance to quiz the writer as well! Standing Up for Sunny – an Australian rom-com that weaves in commentary on disability and discrimination – is written and directed by local Steve Vidler. You can catch Vidler and ask him all your burning screenwriting questions at the Q&A screening.

Standing Up For Sunny by Steve Vidlar (image supplied by Sydney Film Festival)

Sandgirl looks like a beautiful and enchanting documentary that fuses animation, poetry and art. Another fantastic film in this year’s program that brings differently-abled story-tellers to the forefront.

The ultimate wordsmith Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen are the focus of Nick Broomfield’s documentary Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love. Perhaps a darkly inspirational antidote for those of you struggling with writers’ block…

Another adaptation of a classic, Ladyworld takes on William Golding’s Lord of the Flies with a female lens; the ‘conch’ is a healing crystal, the island is a teen birthday party and war paint is an Instagram-worthy makeover. This is one not to miss!

There is a bounty of documentaries in the 2019 program, and The Leunig Fragments will likely appeal to the locals – who hasn’t teared up or been tickled by a particularly poignant Leunig? His combination of art and poetry have not only endeared him to many, but also brought criticism, so here at Writing NSW we’re keen to learn more about the man behind the pen.

Lambs of God by Sarah Lambert. Based on the book by Marele Day (image supplied by Sydney Film Festival)

Oh boy, are we keen to see this one. Based on the book by Writing NSW friend and tutor Marele Day and adapted to screen by Sarah Lambert, Lambs of God looks disturbing, bleakly funny and incredibly watchable. The first four episodes will be screening at the Festival on the 12th June.

Blinded By the Light is a joyful coming of age based on Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir Greetings from Bury Park, packed full of music and poetry and made with the blessings of The Boss himself, this looks like a feel-good for the ages.


See the full program and more at https://www.sff.org.au/



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