Action ... rival festival finalists Tony Krawitz and Cate Shortland are married. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Garry Maddox, The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
One household in Marrickville will have an especially close interest in the Sydney Film Festival's competition next month.
A married couple, directors Cate Shortland and Tony Krawitz, are rivals for the $60,000 cash prize.
Shortland, whose previous film was the acclaimed drama Somersault, has been selected with Lore, a coming-of-age tale about a teenage girl who leads her four younger siblings on a perilous journey across Germany at the end of World War II.
The only other Australian film in competition is Krawitz's Dead Europe, a psychological drama about a photographer who discovers his family's dark history when he travels to Greece.
But the couple, who have been together 20 years and have two children, downplay any rivalry along the lines of former couple James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow at the Oscars two years ago.
''It feels great to have both made films that are screening together at a home audience,'' said Krawitz after the festival line-up was announced at Circular Quay yesterday. ''It doesn't feel like competition.''
Added Shortland: ''The program is so strong and exciting that we feel incredibly lucky to be in it.''
The couple, who have had stints living in South Africa and Germany working on projects in recent years, usually collaborate closely but were unable to on Lore or Dead Europe because of the timing of their shoots.
''We're always reading each other's scripts, looking at casting, looking at crew,'' Shortland said. ''Tony's my biggest collaborator.''
Both films are literary adaptations with a European flavour.
Shortland said Lore, which is based on a novel by British writer Rachel Seiffert, was about ''the children of perpetrators'' and dealt with issues relevant to Australia, despite being set in Germany.
Like the acclaimed TV series The Slap, Dead Europe is based on a Christos Tsiolkas novel.
''So much of Aussie culture since white settlement has ties to Europe,'' Krawitz said. ''That really connected me with the book - seeing Europe through an Australian's eyes.''
The competition for ''courageous, audacious and cutting edge'' cinema also features such internationally acclaimed films as Caesar Must Die from Italy, Monsieur Lazhar from Canada and Tabu from Portugal.
The festival will open on June 6 with another new Australian film - Peter Templeman's comedy Not Suitable For Children, which has Ryan Kwanten as a Sydney party boy who becomes obsessed with having a child after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.