Get us in your inbox


Sydney Film Festival's opening night film is a reunion of local acting greats

Nick Dent

Sydney Film Festival returns on June 5 and the opening night movie has just been announced.

It's Palm Beach, the new film from director Rachel Ward, starring her husband Bryan Brown as well as Sam Neill, Oscar nominee Richard E Grant, Greta Scacchi, Jacqueline McKenzie and Heather Mitchell. Unfolding on the titular ritzy Sydney beach suburb, the movie is a comedy concerning a gathering of old friends to celebrate a significant birthday during which a buried secret comes to light. Ward and Brown's daughter Matilda Brown also plays a significant role in the film.   

Scripted by top Aussie playwright Joanna Murray-Smith (Switzerland), Palm Beach is the second movie to be directed by Ward, a former actor who, like Brown, was huge in the 1980s. Her debut film Beautiful Kate played at Sydney Film Festival in 2009 and was released to respectable notices.

The new movie should go down gangbusters with SFF's core subscriber audience, offering as it does a showcase of eye-pleasing Sydney locations as well as veteran Antipodean acting talent alongside Grant, who is fresh from his Oscar nomination for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Palm Beach is also noteworthy for being made by an over-50 per cent female crew. 

Tickets to the opening night gala are on sale now.

What else is screening at Sydney Film Festival 2019?

Latest news