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Sydney Film Festival Is Moving Out of Its Regular Time Slot for 2021 and Taking Place in August

Last year, the festival went virtual. This year, it's taking place a couple of months later than usual.
By Sarah Ward
February 17, 2021
By Sarah Ward
February 17, 2021

Most years, the arrival of winter heralds more than just colder weather for Sydney's cinephiles. When June hits, so too does the Sydney Film Festival, unleashing hundreds of movies upon the city's cinemas.

By now, we all well and truly know that little has been normal about the past 12 months, so SFF has been adjusting with the times. In 2020, it cancelled its physical event completely, opting for a virtual-only festival instead. This year, it's planning to come back as an in-person fest; however, it'll be doing so a bit later than normal.

Movie buffs, you'd best block out the last couple of weeks of August in your diary, because that's when SFF will be starting up the projectors. The 2021 event will now take place from Wednesday, August 18–Sunday, August 29, so you'll be ending winter by running between cinemas and watching as many films as you can, rather than beginning it that way.

While Sydney's COVID-19 case numbers have remained under control for the past month or so — on Sunday, February 14, New South Wales marked 28 consecutive days without any locally acquired cases, in fact — that hasn't been the situation overseas. Accordingly, it's hardly business as usual at big international festivals such as Berlinale and Cannes. After completely cancelling last year, the latter has postponed its 2021 dates from May to July. SFF typically programs a number of brand new titles straight from Cannes, so moving to the end of August allows it to keep accessing the kind of big-name flicks that'll premiere at the French event.

If you're the type of cinephile who pays attention to Australia's nationwide festival scene — and travels interstate to keep getting your movie fix — you might've noticed that SFF's new dates overlap with the Melbourne International Film Festival's regular August timing. MIFF also hopped online in 2020, and has announced August 5–22 as its 2021 dates. Whether that'll change, or if diehard film fans will find themselves picking which fest to attend (or zipping from one to the other), is obviously yet to be seen.

The 2021 Sydney Film  Festival is now scheduled to take place from Wednesday, August 18–Sunday, August 29. For further details, head to the festival's website.

Published on February 17, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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