Festivals Current Film/Theatre



The annual Joy House Film Festival is being held at the Hoyts Mandarin Centre in Chatswood on Sunday 8th September at 4.30pm. This is the sixth year for the Festival which celebrates joy and diversity.

“I decided to create the Festival after hearing a friend lament the lack of diversity and uplifting films in many existing festivals,” said Joy Hopwood, Festival Director and NSW Diversity Representative at the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA).

The Festival will showcase the top ten short films as  selected by the judges. In addition to Best Film, the Festival features awards for Best Diversity Film, Best Youth Film, Hoyts People’s Choice Awards and Best Women’s Film.

“We are proud to be a part of a festival that promotes joy and diversity,” said Melissa- Kate McCabe from Hoyts.

A number of Joy House Film Festival alumni have gone on to achieve international success including Jacob Frey and Markus Kranzler whose critically acclaimed animated short “The Present” led to careers at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studio.

There’s plenty of value for your ticket to the Festival. After the awards ceremony Joy Hopwood will then be showcasing her own feature length romantic comedy ‘The Script Of Life’.

Sunday September 8th @ 4.30pm Hoyts Mandarin Centre

Sydney Arts Guide  has two double passes to give away to the Festival. Email editor,sydneyartsguide@gmail.com  with Joy House Film .Festival Promotion in the subject heading.

For more about 6th Annual Joy House Film Festival, visit
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Featured image is from the short film in competition  ‘Timeless’


The opening night film of the 66th Sydney Film Festival was literally a family affair with Rachel Ward directing her husband Bryan Brown and daughter Matilda Brown. It was even more familial due to the fact that the ensemble cast were very good friends of the Browns and each other. Sam Neill and Bryan Brown in particular have worked on many projects together over the years.

Due to its injection of a $5,000,000 worth of funds to facilitate the Festival’s penetration into regional New South Wales, both the Minister of the Arts Don Harwin and the Premier Gladys Berejiklian were in attendance. IO can’t recall the last time a Premier has attended the opening night of the Sydney Film Festival. Due to the camaraderie of the cast there was a lot of kidding around and tomfoolery on the red carpet making it extremely difficult to get a decent shot of the participants. Many of their industry friends were in attendance with the newly appointed Governor of New South Wales Margaret Beazley brought a bit of decorum to the rambunctious Palm Beach cast.

Featured image – Sam Neill and Greta Scacchi. All images by Ben Apfelbaum


It’s never too early to experience the Sydney Film Festival and the lineup of films that are family friendly is pretty impressive.

Running over the long weekend, a quartet of kids kino is an irresistible temptation to while away three days.

Leading the quad is MINUSCULE: MANDIBLES FROM FAR AWAY, an insect extravaganza from formidable French animators Thomas Szabo and Helene Giraud.

Similar in theme to Finding Nemo, MINUSCULE: MANDIBLES FROM FAR AWAY features a rescue quest of a father for his son that traverses France to Guadeloupe by air, sea, and the belly of a shark.

From France’s hibernating winter land hinterland to the lush tropical Caribbean island, this mini masterpiece packs a powerful ecological punch and rejoices in family, friendship, and community.

Lovable ladybirds, antic ants, cool sea cucumbers, and a menagerie of mandibles, arachnids, flying fauna and flora flytraps, MINUSCULE: MANDIBLES FROM FAR AWAY is a little bit reggae, a little bit Zen, and a whole heap of heart.

Also screening in the suitable for all ages programme is TITO AND THE BIRDS, a magical animation that tells the story of a ten year old and his fine feathered friends, the stunning pachyderm documentary, THE ELEPHANT QUEEN, and the Australian gem, EMU RUNNER.

Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.


The Sydney Film Festival has officially launched and one of the high flying documentaries you wont want to miss is APOLLO 11, from director Todd Douglas Miller.

It’s getting a wider release to mark the golden anniversary of the astronomically significant space mission that saw man first set foot on the moon, but Festival patrons are privileged to get a jump on this landmark film.

Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, APOLLO 11 takes
us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission —the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins into household names.

Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, the audience vividly and vicariously experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.

An intricate time capsule within a space capsule, the awe inspiring significance of this technological feat comes into sharp and breath taking relief in this thrilling documentary.

In a tight ninety three minutes, some of it in “real” time, APOLLO 11 enthrals with the sprawling audacity of the mission, the hopes, fears, hiccups and triumphs of a real star trek, taking mankind to a new frontier, boldly going where no one had gone before.

The skill of it’s assembly, rhythm and pacing brings a spectacular immediacy to this unprecedented endeavour, recreating the event etched into our collective nostalgia and revealing aspects that are new.

APOLLO 11 has the right stuff to astound, amaze, surprise and awe, a top drawer documentary that literally lifts the spirits, clearing the gantry of restraining geo-politics and celebrating human ingenuity and imagination.

APOLLO 11 screens Mon June 10 9.30am State Theatre
Sat June 15 2pm Casula
Sun June 16 1.45pm Hoyts Entertainment Quarter

The full Sydney Film Festival 2019 program can be found online at sff.org.au.

Sydney Film Festival runs 5 – 16 June 2019. Tickets for Sydney Film Festival 2019 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.


Dendy Cinemas are once again hosting the Sydney Czech and Slovak Film Festival.

The festival begins on March 27 with the opening night film Jan Palach at Dendy’s Opera Quays. The evening will commence with a cocktail on arrival and the opening night party after the film. The rest of the festival will then take place at Dendy’s Newtown venue
This year’s festival features an impressive line up of films from Slovak and Czech Republic cinema. Highlights include, Jan Palach, the 2018 Czech Film Critics Winner, a reenactment of the last months in the life of a history student who ultimately became a part of history himself.

David Ondříček’s DUKLA 61, one of the most remarkable Czech TV productions of recent times examines the largest Czech mining disaster of the Communist era through the eyes of a man working at the mine along with his son.

In contrast to these big, epic presentations, there are a number of little gems, including BEAR WITH US and FREEDOM.

A sort of Czech Chekov, BEAR WITH US, is a charmer, a chimera Cherry Orchard, of family reunion and fallout, and a touch of the absurd. Continue reading SYDNEY CZECH & SLOVAK FILM FESTIVAL


CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY is very theatrically presented.  A theatricality that is informed by the bible-thump of proselyting and the leftover shame of “unholy, impure practices”.   You can hurl the boy out of the Mormons but that eager-to-please-ness is still there in the performance and it takes a bit of a leap of faith to enjoy Steven Fales extraordinary story.

Born into a Mormon family and a junior true believer, as witnessed by his own 7 year old voice singing on the audio track as the show begins,  Fales enters with the smile and false laugh that has been styled by his experiences in rote delivery.  His story takes his audience through his upbringing, his youth mission to Portugal, a seriously in-denial hopeful marriage and a coming out that is far from typical.  All with an honesty and truthful text that gives the audience insights into what, how and why.

It’s an energetic performance from Fales, directed by Jack Hofsiss, who uses the whole stage with a dynamism related to the place in the story.  He also changes clothes occasionally and has well timed moments of stillness and direct address.   Though the show has quite a bit of discussion around sex practices, the humour and humanity is available to the female audience equally with the many men who nod with recognition.  Fales doesn’t spare the detail … no more “Mormon modesty”, nor does he skip over his failings and hopes.  And those of the church, family and those around him are expressed with insight and big hits of pathos as we learn what the church, his family and those around him mean in his life.

He can present it all with a flash and a smile and a very nice low baritone, perfect for show tunes, but the swagger of the performance blusters a bit much and it requires effort from the watcher to get to the emotional content, until the final sequences where Fales does lose the persona and the work reaches out successfully.

CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY is a polished show, bordering on slick, which gives a human and genuine story a place to be at home with its gay family.  It continues at Giant Dwarf until March 9.


Tired feet and rainbows everywhere that’s Mardi Gras FAIR DAY. With over 200 stalls, Fair Day is a free event spread out through Victoria Park and it is a joyous start to Mardi Gras Season.  This year’s theme is ‘Fearless’ and there is so much to love about the day.

Sports of all shapes and kinds:




“Being an artist you have to abandon any notion of things making sense.” Maria Irene Fornes makes this comment late in the film despite living with Alzheimer’s disease. It is fascinating to observe Fornes’ openness, thoughtful insights and observations and this is despite of her severely diminished memory. Her sister observes that she may have diminished memory capacity but her feelings are intact and her personality exists in these feelings.

Maria Irene Fornes is either described as “the greatest writer you’ve never heard of” or dismissed as “Susan Sontag’s ex-lover”. A founder of Off-Off-Broadway experimental theatre, Fornes is known as ‘Mother Avant garde’ in the Off-Off-Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre world.

When writer and director Michelle Memran realised dementia was causing the once-prolific playwright’s faltering productivity, she began filming their time together. She asks Fornes about no longer writing and she replies that talking to camera is like writing. This film is recorded over several years and is really a collaboration between Memran and Fornes, one mostly holding a camera and asking questions and the other creating stories and making wonderful playful observations. One of Memran’s frequent lines is “tell me a story.” On one occasion Memran uses this line as two small boats pass by and Fornes launches into a simple and charming tale. On another occasion Fornes confuses her original meeting with Memran to the time she first met Susan Sontag. Continue reading THE REST I MAKE UP : A CHARMING AND INTERESTING FILM


This image: Brielle Flynn
Featured image: Brielle and Enya Daly in rehearsal for THE MOORS. Photo credit – Clare Hawley

The Sydney premiere of THE MOORS by Jen Silverman and directed by Kate Gaul, looms darkly through the fog before its opening to previews on February 7.

After being lured by mysterious letters, Emilie takes the position of governess in a household on the forbidding moors. Upon arriving, she finds two sisters – the stern and domineering Agatha, and the needy and flighty Hudley – a dog, and a glowering maid who isn’t always who or what she seems. Emilie’s arrival sets this odd assembly on a strange and increasingly bizarre path.

Inspired by the lives of the Brontë sisters, THE MOORS is a black comedy about love, desperation, and the way women are seen.

We had the opportunity to annoy cast member Brielle Flynn, who plays the hapless Emilie, while she was fog-deep in production week.

SAG:              Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.  So, there are 4 women and a dog in the cast?  I’m assuming The Moors passes the Bechdel test?

BRIELLE:      Make that 4 women, a dog and a moor-hen! I think the great thing about this play is that it highlights a universal need for connection, happiness, independence and visibility – a need that goes beyond human relationships, but also one’s connection to their sense of place. Continue reading BRIELLE FLYNN INTERVIEWED ABOUT THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED PRODUCTION ‘THE MOORS’


Drumroll…… crash! Kim Carpenter has brought us a marvellous show about the life and times of controversial, larger than life famous Australian artist Brett Whiteley .I was fortunate enough to catch the last performance of the Riverside season . Brett was the bad boy genius of Australian art, Wendy his muse and wife. Together they dominated Sydney’s art world for over two decades.

They were charismatic,  convivial yet fractured and damaged. A Whiteley painting can fetch millions at auction but his life ended sadly in a cheap motel on the south coast.The pair’s legacy lives on in Brett’s work, his studio, and Wendy’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay. Whiteley would have celebrated his 80th birthday this year .This theatre piece is part of the retrospective, in conjunction with Brett Whiteley: Drawing is Everything, a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The show depicts their tumultuous relationship. Whiteley was just 17 when he first met Wendy Julius, then 15, the woman who would become his inspiration, wife, and the mother of their only child. Arkie Later in life she also became for a time his enemy when divorce , drugs and infidelity shattered their relationship. After Brett’s death, Wendy again emerged as his stalwart champion, honouring his creative genius and keeping his memory alive. Continue reading BRETT AND WENDY : A LOVE STORY BOUND BY ART