Sarah Watt and Julie Rigg join Sydney Film Festival Jury

Director Sarah Watt

SFF LogoThe Sydney Film Festival has confirmed that the last two pieces of the Official Competition Jury puzzle will be filled in by writer, director, author and animator Sarah Watt and film critic Julie Rigg.

They join the previously announced Jury President Chen Kaige (Farewell My ConcubineThe Emperor and the Assassin,  Together), whose new film Sacrifice will have its Australian Premiere at the festival, along with actress Kerry Fox and producer Mark Herbert.

The jury will award the Sydney Film Prize, Australia’s richest cash award for film – AUD $60,000, to one of the films competing in the 2011 Official Competition. The twelve film line-up was announced last week at the festival’s program launch,alongside the unveiling of new Official Competition Sponsor, iShares.

Sarah Watt is perhaps best known for her debut feature Look Both Ways, which won both the Australian Film Institute Award and the IF Award for Best Director along with the prestigious Discovery Award at Toronto International Film Festival. Her most recent film, My Year Without Sex, has also been largely well received.

Julie Rigg is ABC Radio National’s senior movie critic. At the announcement, she commented: ““I’ve watched with delight as the Sydney Film Festival has blossomed these last few years. The brief for the Sydney Film Prize: to reward “courageous and audacious film making” is a film lover’s dream. I’m delighted to help find this year’s winner”.

The Sydney Film Festival press also made two other announcements for the other competitions running at the Festival.

FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize Jury

The 2011 FOXTEL Jury will comprise FOXTEL’s Jim Buchan alongside Joost den Hartog (Director of the Australian International Documentary Conference) and US film-maker Jennifer Fox, whose current feature documentary, My Reincarnation, will be screened at this year’s festival. Ten finalists have been shortlisted for this prestigious award, now in its third year. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000 sponsored by FOXTEL.

“I’m delighted to be involved again in what is an important initiative in encouraging Australia’s vastly talented documentary-producing community” said Jim Buchan, FOXTEL General Manager of Factual Acquisitions.

Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films Jury

Leading Australian actor David Wenham (Oranges & Sunshine), screenwriter John Collee and producer Nicole O’Donohue will comprise the 2011 Dendy Jury.

The Sydney Film Festival runs from 8 – 19 June 2011 at various venues across the Sydney CBD.

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