Post WWII-Set Italian Melodrama 'There's Still Tomorrow' Has Won the 2024 Sydney Film Festival Prize

In Italy, actor-turned-director Paola Cortellesi's debut behind the lens did better at the 2023 box office than 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer'.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 16, 2024

Which film can boast besting a Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone collaboration, a Silver Bear-winner at Berlinale, and the 2023-defining duo of Barbie and Oppenheimer? Only one: Italy's There's Still Tomorrow. First, the melodrama defied the Barbenheimer phenomenon to top the box office in its homeland last year. Now, the hit flick has beaten Kinds of Kindness — aka Lanthimos and Stone getting weird again after The Favourite and Poor Things — and ten other movies for 2024's coveted Sydney Film Festival Prize.

Actor Paola Cortellesi (Petra, Don't Stop Me Now) both stars and makes her directorial debut with SFF's cream of the crop for 2024, earning the event's $60,000 cash prize for her efforts. Set in post-Second World War Rome, There's Still Tomorrow follows a wife and mother who dreams of a different future, with the feature no stranger to accolades. At the David di Donatello Awards, Italy's equivalent of the Oscars, it took home six gongs in May.

(And if you missed it during's SFF official dates, it's among the fest's encore screenings between Monday, June 17–Thursday, June 20.)

Tasked with rewarding "audacious, cutting-edge and courageous" filmmaking, the 2024 jury comprised of Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanović  (The Hollow), Indonesian director Kamila Andini (Before, Now and Then), US producer Jay Van Hoy (The Lighthouse), Australian producer Sheila Jayadev (Here Out West) and Aussie director Tony Krawitz (Significant Others) picked There's Still Tomorrow for welcoming "audiences into one of the historic cradles of cinema".

"Set in post-war Italy, Paola Cortellesi's debut feature C'è ancora domani (There's Still Tomorrow) feels intensely relevant today. We relive every woman's struggle for equality through Cortellesi's Delia, we face the brutal cycles of domestic violence with an immense empathy that ultimately proclaims and affirms the virtues of democracy," they continued in a statement.

"C'è ancora domani deftly weaves humour, style and pop music into a dazzling black-and-white cinematic event, then it delivers an ending that will take your breath away."

There's Still Tomorrow joins an impressive list of past SFF Prize-winners, including Moroccan documentary The Mother of All Lies in 2023, Lukas Dhont's Close in 2022, Mohammad Rasoulof's There Is No Evil in 2021 and Bong Joon-ho's Parasite in 2019. Before that, The Heiresses (2018), On Body and Soul (2017), Aquarius (2016), Arabian Nights (2015), Two Days, One Night (2014), Only God Forgives (2013), Alps (2012), A Separation (2011), Heartbeats (2010), Bronson (2009) and Hunger (2008) have all taken out the accolade since its inception.

2024's recipient was announced at this year's closing event, where body-horror The Substance made its Australian premiere and the rest of the film festival's annual prizes were handed out. Another big winner: 11-minute short film First Horse. Hailing from New Zealand filmmaker Awanui Simich-Pene, it received SFF's first-ever $35,0000 First Nations Award.

"Members of the jury were thrilled with the quality and variety of the works programmed for the inaugural First Nations Competition, noting the power and beauty in the collection of these storytellers' films which represent all types of cinematic art. The jurors also celebrate the launch of this meaningful prize and congratulate the Festival for making it a reality," said producer and programmer Jason Ryle (Amplify), Australian First Nations producer Erica Glynn (True Colours) and Aussie producer Kath Shelper (The New Boy).

"In awarding the winning work, the jury recognises its originality, elegance, and cinematic achievement in story and form. In a few short minutes, the talented creative team has crafted a deeply impactful film with a resonant emotional punch."

The fest's annual shower of love also covers films focused on sustainability, Australian documentaries and shorts. SFF's fourth-ever Sustainable Future Award, which now hands out $40,000, went to documentary Black Snow about the Siberian eco-activist who has earned the nickname the "Erin Brockovich of Russia". The Feast and Wilding received high commendations.

Welcome to Babel, which puts Chinese Australian artist Jiawei Shen at its centre, took out the $20,000 Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary.

In the Dendy Short Film Awards, Die Bully Die won Best Australian Live Action, while the Yoram Gross Animation Award for Best Australian Animation went to Darwin Story. Say picked up two prizes, the AFTRS Craft Award for Best Practitioner for screenwriter Chloe Kemp and the Event Cinemas Rising Talent Award for lead actor Bridget Morrison. And the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director went to Pernell Marsden for The Meaningless Daydreams of Augie & Celeste.

The 2024 Sydney Film Festival ran from Wednesday, June 5–Sunday, June 16, with the festival screening four days of encores until Thursday, June 20.

Published on June 16, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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