A look at the music films screening at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival

The 61st Sydney Film Festival is coming up next month (June 4th to 15th), and the full program announced last week boasts an incredible array of exciting films. Included in the program is a great selection of music films, both documentaries and features. Below is a rundown of the music films screening at the Festival. Have a look and don’t pass up this awesome opportunity to see some brilliant films!


Concerning Violence (Australian Premiere)

The most daring moments in the African liberation struggles from colonial rule of the 1960s and 1970s as well as broader issues of colonization and liberation on individual and national identity

SFF Screenings: Mon 9 Jun 4:00 PM DOQ3 // Sat 14 Jun 11:30 AM DOQ3


Finding Fela! (Australian Premiere)

Focuses on the life and musical career of Nigerian Afrobeat performer Fela Kuti with original Fela footage included. Examining Kuti’s revolutionary politics and his use of music as a weapon to fuel social justice and protest, the film features cameos by Paul McCartney and The Roots’ Questlove as they talk about Kuti’s legacy.

SFF Screenings: Wed 4 Jun 8:00 PM DOQ2 // Sun 8 Jun 6:00 PM EV8


Johnny Winter: Down and Dirty (International Premiere)

A down & dirty feature length documentary on the life and career of blues legend Johnny Winter. The documentary shows concert clips, going back to his breakthrough in the ’60s — which led him to the Woodstock festival — and continuing to present day.

SFF Screenings: Sat 7 Jun 2:30 PM EV9 // Sun 15 Jun 7:45 PM EV9

Keep On, Keepin’ On

Follows three up-and-coming musicians, linked by their association with living jazz-legend Clark Terry

SFF Screenings: Sun 8 Jun 8:45 PM EV9 // Tue 10 Jun 2:15 PM EV4

Pulp (Australian Premiere)

It’s the day of Pulp’s last UK concert in their hometown of Sheffield, and all across the city fans are ready for a big night. New Zealander Florian Habicht’s loving portrait of this iconic Britpop band is full of wit and warmth.

SFF Screenings: Sat 7 Jun 9:00 PM EV9 // Mon 9 Jun 7:45 PM DOQ2

Supermensch:  The Legend of Shep Gordon

The directorial debut of Mike Myers (Austin Powers) documents the astounding career of Hollywood insider, the loveable Shep Gordon.

SFF Screenings: Sun 8 Jun 11:15 AM EV8 // Sun 15 Jun 2:00 PM EV8

The Possibilities Are Endless

Tells the incredible story of Edwyn Collins, the Scottish songwriter who suffered a stroke, an explosion in the brain so severe that it effectively deleted the contents of his mind.

SFF Screenings: Fri 6 Jun 8:00 PM DOQ2 // Sat 7 Jun 1:15 PM EV8


20,000 Days on Earth (Australian Premiere)

The film explores a fictitious day in the life of Australian performer Nick Cave, known for his 30-year involvement with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (as well as early project The Birthday Party and side project Grinderman).

SFF Screenings: Wed 4 Jun 7:30 PM STATE – OPENING NIGHT // Sun 8 Jun 4:00

Begin Again

A soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Starring Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) and Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) as an unlikely singer-songwriter and music producer duo.

SFF Screenings: Sun 8 Jun 8:30 PM STATE // Sun 15 Jun 8:35 PM

Dancing in the Room (International Premiere)

Set in Beijing, China, the film explores the living transition of a young woman to an overpopulated city. An alter-ego emerges from her character taking on the guise of a cat, fuelled by an aggressive demeanour, this builds up to a series of violent attacks.

SFF Screenings: Sat 7 Jun 3:20 PM EV8 // Sun 8 Jun 3:30 pm DOQ3

Frank (Australian Premiere)

A hip, hilarious and sometimes dark comedy from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, SFF 2013; Garage). The film stars Michael Fassbender (Shame), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) and Domhnall Gleeson (About Time).

SFF Screenings: Sat 7 Jun 9:30 PM STATE // Tue 10 Jun 7:00 PM EV4

Gabrielle (Australian Premiere)

A musically gifted young woman with intellectual disability falls in love, only to discover her family has concerns. Can she handle an adult sexual relationship?

SFF Screenings: Fri 13 Jun 8:35 PM STATE // Sat 14 Jun 7:00 PM EV8 // Sun 15 Jun 6:15 PM CREMORNE

God Help the Girl (Australian Premiere)

A coming-of-age story turned indie-pop musical starring Australian actress Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty, Sucker Punch). Written and directed by Stuart Murdoch, principle songwriter and lead singer of Scottish band Belle & Sebastian, who also provides music for the film.

SFF Screenings: Thu 5 Jun 8:45 PM EV4 // Sat 14 Jun 8:45 PM EV9

Jimi: All Is By My Side (Australian Premiere)

A drama based on Jimi Hendrix’s pre-fame years. Explores the beginning of Jimi Hendrix’s legendary career as well as the racism that affected his career in the 1960s. Stars Andre Benjamin (also known as Andre 3000 from hip hop group Outkast) as Jimi Hendrix.

SFF Screenings: Thu 5 Jun 8:45 PM CREMORNE // Fri 13 Jun 8:05 PM EV8

Stage Fright

A snobby musical theatre camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theatre. The film balances horror, musical and comedic elements, and also features original songs. Starring Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting), Meat Loaf (Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Allie MacDonald (Stories We Tell – Premiered SFF 2013).

SFF Screenings: Wed 4 Jun 8:45 PM EV8 // Tue 10 Jun 8:30 PM EV8

Tamako in Moratorium (Australian Premiere)

After finishing her education in Tokyo, Tamako returns home and searches for life’s purpose in lieu of finding a job.

SFF Screenings: Mon 9 JuN 3:15 PM EV8 // Sat 14 Jun 12:45 PM EV9

We Are the Best!(Australian Premiere)

Lukas Moodysson (Together; Lilya 4-Ever; Show Me Love, SFF 2009) returns with a boisterous, feel-good film about three 13-year old girls in early ’80s Stockholm who are determined to start up a punk band despite their considerable absence of musical ability.

SFF Screenings: Sun 8 Jun 6:00 PM EV4 // Sun 15 Jun 3:10 PM DO


The 61st Sydney Film Festival runs from June 4th to 15th. The full program, along with ticketing information, can be found at www.sff.org