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Florian Habicht for Sydney via Sheffield & SXSW

Florian Habicht’s Pulp is among the early announcements for this year’s Sydney Film Festival. 32 titles have been announced so far, with the full programme to be confirmed in early May.

Organisers have been quick off the mark to close deals for Berlinale winner Black Coal, Thin Ice and some other recent festival debutantes including Sundance charmer Love is Strange.

Habicht’s most recent film was shot in the UK, home of the eponymous band, on the say of their final concert, in their hometown of Sheffield. No pressure then, on either the band or filmmaker.

Both delivered, according to the reviews of the December 2012 concert and the film at SXSW.

“A witty, warmhearted, imaginative documentary,” said The Hollywood Reporter

“An artfully witty documentary”, echoed Variety

“A crafty, revealing documentary,” commented The Austin Chronicle, avoiding the temptation to complete a witty hat-trick.

Jarvis Cocker strikes classic rock pose #17 for possibly the final time

Jarvis Cocker strikes classic rock pose #17 for possibly the final time

Also in the early announcement from Sydney was Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, a double winner just up the road in Brisbane at last November’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards and, more recently, a triple winner at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and winner last month at the Asian Film Awards in Macau.

Boasting one award win (from the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival) but an unwillingness to quit during its 40-year life is a title which has spawned sequels, remakes and now a resotration of the original. Sydney also offers a late night screening of Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which opens with narration that could be edited into an awful lot of horror titles, and a lot of awful horror titles: “The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths.”

This year’s festival will open with Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s portrait of musician and cultural icon Nick Cave, 20,000 Days on Earth. The Sydney screening will be th film’s Australian debut. It premiered at Sundance in January, winning the Directing and Editing Awards for World Cinema Documentary.

The Sydney Film Festival runs 4 – 15 June.

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