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Sydney Film Festival 2018 Will Open with New Zealand Comedy 'The Breaker Upperers'

After premiering at SXSW, this Taika Waititi-produced comedy takes pole position at this year's SFF.
By Sarah Ward
April 23, 2018
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By Sarah Ward
April 23, 2018
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It has been four years since the Sydney Film Festival closed out its 2014 fest with What We Do in the Shadows, giving the event one of its most memorable nights yet. To open this year's 65th anniversary celebration of cinema, SFF is once again showcasing a top New Zealand comedy — this time it's The Breaker Upperers, which Taika Waititi executive produced.

The flick tells the tale of two cynical best friends who turn their romantic woes into a thriving business. Yes, as the movie's moniker suggests, they break up unhappy couples for cash. It's written and directed by its stars, Kiwi comedians Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, both of whom actually appeared What We Do in the Shadows and Waititi's Eagle vs Shark. The former also popped up in New Zealand TV series Funny Girls and 800 Words, and the latter featured in Sione's Wedding and its sequel, plus the first season of Top of the Lake.

On-screen, van Beek and Sami are joined by Boy's James Rolleston and Rosehaven's Celia Pacquola, while off-screen, their debut collaborative effort is produced by the same team behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The film premiered at this year's SXSW Film Festival to positive reviews, and will open in Australian cinemas on July 26 — but those heading to SFF's opening night on June 6 will get to see the movie early, obviously, with the cast and crew in attendance.

Tickets for opening night will go on sale here at 9am today, Monday, April 23 — and if you're purchasing online, you'll notice the fest's website has a had a revamp. It's set to include a new discover function that'll offer up recommendations, plus a visual planner so that festival-goers can better map out their schedules.

The Breaker Upperers joins SFF's growing 2018 slate, with 26 other new titles announced earlier this month, plus a David Stratton-curated retrospective focused on Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki. If you're hankering for the full lineup for the event, which runs from June 6 to 17, all will be revealed at 11am on May 9.

The 2018 Sydney Film Festival will run from June 6 to 17. Buy a ticket to opening night here or check out the currently announced titles by heading to the festival website. The full program will be released on May 9.

Published on April 23, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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