The 69th Sydney Film Festival (8 – 19 June) opened tonight at the State Theatre with the World Premiere
of the First Nations anthology feature film We Are Still Here.
After two COVID-interrupted years, Festival Director Nashen Moodley was excited to welcome audiences
back. The packed auditorium included We Are Still Here’s Australian directors Beck Cole, Tracey Rigney,
Dena Curtis, New Zealand directors Tim Worrall, Richard Curtis, Renae Maihi, Miki Magasiva, Chantelle
Burgoyne, and producers Mitchell Stanley, Toni Stowers and Mia Henry-Teirney.
Minister for the Arts The Hon. Ben Franklin MLC commented, “I am so proud to see the Sydney Film
Festival back bigger and better than ever following two years of disruptions. It is exciting to see the
creative efforts of our local talent come to life. With over 200 films, 44 of which are Australian productions
or co-productions, there is absolutely something for everybody to immerse themselves in.”
“The NSW Government is proud to support the event through initiatives like the Travelling Film Festival
as well as the popular Screenability program. The ongoing success of this Festival makes it one of the
world’s best, and I can’t wait to see and experience the productions being showcased over the coming
weeks,” he said.
Sydney Film Festival Board Chair, Deanne Weir said, “After two disrupted years that have had such a
huge impact on the screen industry and our audiences, we couldn’t be more delighted to be back with a
full Festival experience. We have an extensive film program, a fabulous schedule of events and
celebrations, and some thought-provoking and inspiring guests from around the world. We are so grateful
to all of our partners and patrons who have continued to support us through some difficult times to ensure
we can all be back together in the dark to share new and exciting stories on the big screen.
Sydney Film Festival Board Deputy Chair and Chair of Finance Committee, Nicholas Fairfax said, “The
Sydney Film Festival is a vitally important cultural institution and it is so exciting that after the disruption
of the past two years to be back at our traditional dates with a full festival and all it has to offer. The
Festival is back in a position of strength with thanks to our wonderful staff and all our committed and
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore said the Festival’s return was a wonderful sign that Sydney was
ready to re-emerge from the difficulties of the pandemic. “The Sydney Film Festival is a highlight of our
cultural calendar, helping us access new worlds, new ways of thinking and a greater understanding of
“The City of Sydney is proud to continue our support for the Sydney Film Festival. We are also proud to
once again offer the Sydney Film Festival a home for The Hub in Lower Town Hall – where you can gather
to discuss the films you’ve seen, attend a post-screening party, or one of the brilliant talks or panels with
filmmakers,” she said.
“The past two years have been incredibly tough for those in the creative and cultural sectors – from our
actors to our producers and agents, behind-the-scenes technicians and hospitality teams. I encourage
everyone to come out to see a film, support our creative community and local businesses and have a great
time while doing it!”
We Are Still Here is told through the eyes of eight heroic protagonists. Traversing over 1000 years, it
shows the strength of love and hope required to overcome the shared traumas Indigenous people from
Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific continue to face.
The film was conceived as a right of reply to the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s maiden voyage to the
Pacific and as an opportunity for Indigenous filmmakers to tell stories of the colonisation of native peoples
throughout the region.
In attendance was Minister for the Arts The Hon. Ben Franklin MLC and Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover
SFF 2022 jury members, filmmakers and cast also attended, including: 2022 SFF Official Competition Jury
President David Wenham, and jury members Jennifer Peedom, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Semih
Kaplanoğlu and Yuka Sakano; Lonesome director Craig Boreham; Sissy directors Hannah Barlow and Kane
Senes, and Sissy star Aisha Dee; True Colours actor Rarriwuy Hick, and the star of Seriously Red, Krew
Other guests included: Hearts and Bones actor Hugo Weaving; Phone Booth actress Radha Mitchell; film
critic Margaret Pomeranz; Spider-Man: Far From Home actor Remy Hii; Bump actor Claudia Karvan; Rush
actor Nicole de Silva; Love Simon actor Keiynan Lonsdale; and Home & Away actor Tai Hara.
The full Sydney Film Festival 2022 program can be found online at sff.org.au.