Art in Film at SWIFF’23

Art takes many forms at SWIFF’23, from paintings on canvas, to performance, to the lush artistry in the very creation of film, to the use of art to guide humanity through some of the darkest times – here are some of the films that explore art in all mediums at SWIFF this year. 

Starting with the newest film on the SWIFF roster – the Australian Premiere of Ukrainistan Artist War, from acclaimed Australian artist and filmmaker George Gittoes, following artists behind the frontline, waging a war on war in the face of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine and Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces.

An anti-war film in the tradition of Picasso’s Guernica, Gittoes and partner, producer/musician Hellen Rose, go beyond the headlines and behind battle lines of Ukraine and Afghanistan to candidly capture the tragedy of those now displaced and separated by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

There will be a Q&A after the screening with George and Hellen Rose, livestreamed directly from Kyiv, Ukraine. Don’t miss this very special SWIFF’23 screening. 

The theme of art and activism is continued in Larissa Behrendt’s illuminating documentary You Can Go Now, following the life and work of artist, activist and provocateur Richard Bell, from his rough upbringing on the streets of Redfern, to his work hanging on the walls of the prestigious Tate Modern. 

Ukrainistan Artist War 


Ennio Morricone, acclaimed film composer is celebrated in Giuseppe Toronatore’s Ennio: The Maestro as he turns the lens back on the immense talent and impact of his collaborator and friend. 

The works, attitudes, and incredible talent of genius musical duo Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are explored in Andrew Dominik’s This Much I Know to be True, as Cave commands the screen as only a true rock star can. 

Art and activism go hand in hand in Laura Poitras’ raw portrait of photographer Nan Goldin in All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, chronicling Goldin’s work in shedding light on the Opioid epidemic in America, and working to bring pharmaceutical family the Sacklers to justice. 

Dedicating your body to art has a price, as explored in Laura Kaehr’s Becoming Giulia, following prima ballerina Giulia Tonelli as she navigates returning to the stage of the Zurich Opera Haus just four months after giving birth. 

The life, art, and immense impact of legend David Bowie is brought to ethereal life in cinematic odyssey Moonage Daydream, comprised and narrated entirely by Bowie himself, through archive footage, files, and interviews.

No one speaks to art in filmmaking quite like David Lynch, and even more peculiar than the auteur’s own films, are the films that inspire him, particularly The Wizard of Oz. Explore the mind and influences of David Lynch in Lynch/Oz.

This is only a taste of the SWIFF’23 program, you can browse the entire program below. 

Scroll to Top