Playwave Creative


Here at Playwave we are big fans of Sydney Film Festival. But with a program of  200+ films, events and experiences, it's hard to know what not to miss. So our Playwave Creative Danny Yazdani has taken the time to sift through the ocean of gems to pick out the diamonds in this year's program.

Check out Danny's top picks below!



I’ve never considered myself a ‘film bro’; far from it, I despise the term. But when Sydney Film Festival comes knocking at my door every year, I can’t help but be proud of the fact that I have a Letterboxd account… After celebrating its 70th anniversary last year, the over 200 films of the 2024 Festival bring with them those universal themes we all know and love when watching film: love, loss, laughter, and a sprinkle of that community feeling you can only get by sitting in a movie theatre. After the full program was launched last week, I went through and selected my top picks, the diamonds of the season, that I am most looking forward to. For me, this is one of the most thrilling aspects of the Festival: I hope you find your diamonds too.


House Of The Seasons

Media made by Korean creatives has seriously been on the rise the past few years. With hits like Parasite and Squid Games becoming household names, I was quick to watch Broker a few years back at the Festival and loved it. This year’s lineup includes three award winning selections under the South Korea banner, but House of The Seasons directed and written by Oh Jung-min is one of my standouts for sure. Focusing on Seong-jin Kim who is training as an actor much to his family’s disapproval, the film sees the family order disrupted as Seong-jin refuse to take over his family’s tofu factory in the city of Daegu. I have a soft spot for intergenerational family stories, and with House Of The Seasons being a winner of the Busan International Film Festival, I’m confident Jung-min directorial debut will be sentimental watch.



Making films is no easy feat. Countless hours of work by countless professionals go into creating what is a few hours of an experience at the movie theatre. Add a repressive regime who censors art and media to the mix, and you’ve got Achilles. As every Iranian creative does, director Farhad Delaram defies the odds, depicting a male hospital worker and a female psychiatric patient in a road trip turned fugitive movie. To those who know me, this may be the most biased thing I’ve ever said, but I have never seen an Iranian film at a film festival and walked out disappointed. Subtraction and Joonam from last year’s program were two of the best films I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Pair that with my very Iranian upbringing immersed in cultural film and television, I’m excited to the 2024 Festival’s standalone Iranian feature.


Rabbit-Proof Fence

The first time I ever came across Rabbit-Proof Fence was in a senior primary school classroom where we were learning about Indigenous-Australian history for the first time. I had never learnt about this part of history belonging to a country I had been proud of and called home. Years later, I watched the film with my extended family, imploring them to pay close attention to each and every one of director Phillip Noyce’s scenes. Rabbit-Proof Fence remains one of our favourites to this day. Based on the 1996 book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, the story follows three young girls – Molly, Daisy, and Gracie – as they escape from a reserve and head home to their remote community of Jigalong, all while walking along 2400km of the Australian rabbit-proof fence. The film speaks volumes to the ongoing inhumane and racist treatment of First Nations communities in Australia by zooming into personal grief of the Stolen Generations. It is a story of Indigenous Australia at its rawest. Now restored in 4K, I implore you, as I did my family many years ago, to watch this Australian classic.


The Cars That Ate Paris

Perhaps the most lighthearted of my top picks, the synopsis of The Cars That Ate Paris seems like the kind of fever dream I had when I contracted tonsilitis six years ago. Alas, it is not. It is the first feature film of distinguished Australian director Peter Weir, now restored for its 50th anniversary. In an outback town called ‘Paris’, a suspicious amount of car crashes occurs. After surviving one of these car crashes, Arthur gets thrown into the whirlwind of Paris’ residents who profit from waves of victims flooding into their town. With a washed out colour palette reminiscent of country towns, The Cars That Ate Paris reveals the absurdities of making a buck and evokes the campiness of many early horror comedies.


The Convert

Ankit Jhunjhunwala put it most brilliantly when describing The Convert as “a tremendous feat of reclamation, a Māori story told by a Māori director in the Māori language with a large Maori cast”. Aotearoa (New Zealand) is only a stone’s throw away from our own Australian shores, but I feel like I know so little of its First Nations history. Set in the 1830s, the film follows the journey of preacher Thomas Munro – played by exceptional Guy Pearce – to the newly established British settlement of Epworth. Caught in between the battles of Māori tribes, Munro finds unexpected solace in the lives of these tribes and soon comes to realise that the British society he is a part of his plagued by white supremacy and socialite superficiality. With a runtime of close to two hours, The Convert seems to be a striking historical drama that exposes the wrongs of both the past and present.


Honourable Mentions

Like every year, the 2024 Festival has far too many films to squeeze in between the 5 -16 June. However, a few honourable mentions are worthy of, well, mentioning! 

Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line kickstarts the 2024 program at the Sydney Film Festival Opening Night Gala. The film follows the iconic Australian rock band with over 45 years of history, using unseen footage and interviews with the band members in a tell-all 105 minutes.

Welcome to Yiddishland a “global community of artists” (SFF) using their practice to preserve the endangered Yiddish language. What interests me most in this film is that most of the artists involved did not grow up speaking Yiddish. But, like many diasporas scattered across the world, they find themselves in the language of their ancestors.

Lastly, Pepe – an awfully cute name for a descendent of the “cocaine hippos” (SFF) – documents the miraculous escape of Pepe the hippo from the (in)famous Pablo Escobar’s private zoo. The film introduces viewers to a bestial history left untapped, playfully narrating this tale form the perspective of Pepe himself.


Sydney Film Festival 2024  |  5 - 16 June

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