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This year's instalment delivers a dozen days and nights of movie magic

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, people went to the movies to be challenged, thrilled and see things they’d never seen before. Not anymore: glance down the multiplex movie times and it’s all same-same, sequel-sequel, high-concept romcoms, rogue agents and alien invasions.

So thank heavens for Sydney Film Festival. Their 2015 program is here and it’s got more to be excited about across 12 days than you'll find in a year’s worth of regular cinema viewing. To help you narrow down your selection and do your Flexipass right, Time Out has surveyed the field and chosen this year's must-sees. (Forget sleep, film lover!) Here are the titles that...

...you absolutely cannot miss

The Wolfpack is a portrait of a unique family, a story of imprisonment and escape, and a tale of love for the silver screen. It's the Sydney Film Festival entry that has it all, and Time Out’s pick of the festival.

...will change your life

These festival highlights showcase the environment and Oz drinking culture.

...will break your heart

Bring tissues along with your passion for cinema to these film screenings, with standouts including a documentary about Amy Winehouse and one that profiles Middle East refugees serving years in mandatory detention.

...feature big-name stars

Your favourite actors are in new films. Keep your eyes peeled for Ian McKellen playing the 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes and Lily Tomlin playing an acerbic lesbian poet in what’s being hailed as her greatest screen performance yet.

...will make you mad as hell

These are the features and documentaries tackling hot-button issues – you know, the ones that are bound to get you all riled up, crankypants! 

...will blow your mind

From South African secret agents to French superheroes to BMX bandits, you're in for quite a ride.

...you won’t get anywhere else

Innovative, controversial, classic or just screened in a fun way – going to the movies can be so much more at SFF.

...will keep the kids entertained

They're doin’ it for the kidz! This year the SFF unveiled its first-ever family program, featuring four feature-length films and a Kids Animation Showcase, comprising 16 short films aimed at ages three to eight.

...ensure you have a gay old time

Among the offerings: a long-awaited movie adaptation of Timothy Conigrave's seminal Australian classic Holding the Man, a documentary about a legendary Hollywood costume designer and 54: The Director’s Cut, which includes 40 minutes of unseen material that helps restore the “queer” aspects initially removed from the 1998 flop. 

...will make theatre buffs happy

If you've been in a theatre over the last couple of years, odds are you have seen the work of these talented directors, writers and actors – bred on stage, primed for the screen.

Fill up before catching this year’s festival films with our suggested eats around all the venues

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Sydney Film Festival video

Sydney Film Festival details

Sydney, Sydney 2000

Date 03 Jun 2015-14 Jun 2015

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