At last year's Sydney Film Festival, I helped promote one of the Sydney Film Festival Prize contender 'Lola' (Tagalog for grandmother), a film by award-winning Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza. It was great but so overwhelming that I ended up missing the rest of the festival. Well, folks, that ain’t gonna happen this year!

Even if you only have a sneak peak at this year’s program, there are already some great films on show from around the world. Here are my picks (albeit slightly biased because I am a filmmaker, and filmmaker’s choices for films to watch are always skewed) for Sydney Film Festival 2011: 

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no mori)

Director: Tran Anh Hung

Country: Japan
Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara 


Lots of good reasons to see this one – I love Haruki Murakami’s novels and Norwegian Wood was an especially good one, and then why wouldn’t you want to see a film directed by Tran Anh Hung, who directed The Scent of the Green Papaya? It’s guaranteed to be a visual treat. (See, I told you I’m biased.) 

Three (Drei)

Director: Tom Tykwer
Country: Germany
Starring: Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper, Devid Striesow 



Ok, really excited to see this one! Run, Lola Run is one of my favourite movies, and I just learned this morning that he also directed Perfume, a great movie as well. Reading about Three, it’s a film that takes the love triangle in another direction, where guy and girl meet and fall in love with the same man, so I’m in! 

Happy Happy (Sykt Lykkelig)

Director: Anne Sewitsky
Country: Norway
Starring: Agnes Kittelsen, Joachim Rafaelsen, Maibritt Saerens 

Scandinavian films seem to be the flavour of the month for me lately, with the powerful Hævnen (which if you haven’t seen, go and get it out on dvd, seriously) and then the popularity of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. But I want to watch this film because “sexy comedy” means different things in different countries, and I’m curious to know what it means in Norway. And hey, it just won in the coveted Sundance so it has to be good.

 Cool it
Cool It

Director: Ondi Timoner
Country: USA
Starring: Bjorn Lomberg 

Going along with the Scandinavian theme, here’s the last film I’ll talk about today. Your view on climate change will get a beating with this one, as the director travels around the world with Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Plus I just realised all my other choices were stories with love themes, so I just had to include one that was just a little more hard hitting. 

Go to the official website for all the films so you can make your own choice. See you there!

Natalie is a producer/director with Breathe Films, whose feature film Falls Creek, a thriller, is currently undergoing the Aurora Screenwriting Program with ScreenNSW. You can find out more on


Once the Film Fest finalised its program, Natalie ended up buying tickets to below:

Norwegian Wood
Silent Souls
El Bulli: Cooking in Progress
A Letter to Elia
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
Kung Fu Panda 2 (with red carpet Jack Black, Lucy Liu and Jeffery Katzenberg)

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