SWIFF Picks – What’s on Kate Howat’s Film Pass

My Film Pass Picks - Kate Howat

“I’m actually overwhelmed by the choice of films on offer for the 2020 program. I’m pressed to select just 12, but here goes…

“There are some films in the festival that walk to their own beat – films that are unique, unconventional and challenging – but all command to be seen on the big screen. Here’s my pick for my first 12 pass (because one 12 Pass just won’t do!)”

In Fabric

A definite one-of-a-kind, stylish and hilariously subversive film about a killer red dress and the sinister forces that compel us to shop. Fiendishly funny!

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

One of my tops picks of SWIFF. Seductive, subtle, and sensual – an unconventional love story with a final breathtaking scene that will be talked about for years to come.

The Art of Self Defense

Karate Kid meets Fight Club meets Napoleon Dynamite. A blunt-force black comedy that packs a satirical punch and is hands down Jesse Eisenberg’s best role to date.


Rave against the machine! An exhilarating, joyous ride that encapsulates the spirit of rebellious youth and celebrates tolerance, freedom, and friendship. Includes amazing visuals from the music video director behind clips for Aphex Twin and Radiohead.


Australia’s entry into the 2020 Oscar race. Buoyancy is a gripping psychological drama of quiet rebellion that’s of the highest order – with a remarkable turn from first-timer, teenager, Sarm Heng. Director Rodd Rathjen will be here for both screenings!

The Nightingale

Sweeping the majority of film awards at this year’s AACTAS Awards, Jennifer Kent’s historical revenge Western is exquisitely directed, and fearless and uncompromising in its storytelling. A powerful and urgent film that will illicit much post-film discussion.


Essential viewing for all Australians. Slam covers important issues of race, gender, religion, xenophobia and the roles played by police and media on the ‘war on terror’. Join director Partho Sen-Gupta and leading Australian actor Rachel Blake for an in-depth discussion after the screenings.


The sting and the sweetness – Honeyland takes the story of one of Europe’s last wild-beekeepers and creates a gorgeous, sumptuous and closely observed film that is both a reflection on our relationship to nature and a vanishing way of life. Achingly beautiful cinema.


A hypnotic, extraordinary cinematic experience where a ragtag team of teenage commandos are thrown into the Columbian jungle where no rules apply. Monos creates an anarchic and unpredictable experience that is savage, surreal and sublime. A must-see for the big screen.

Dark Whispers Vol. 1

Australia’s first all-female horror anthology unleashes the wicked works from eleven female directors and delves into the subtle and dark psychology that lurks within us all. Featuring 10 new shorts (there are too many favourites to list here!), I can’t wait for Vol. 2! Join creator, Megan Riakos for a spooky late night chat post-screening.

For Sama

This film had me gasping and crying and cheering…sometimes all at once. One of the most important and essential depictions about the Syrian conflict ever put to screen and a moving testament to love, life and defiance. I highly recommend seeing it with a friend – you will definitely need to talk about it directly after the credits roll.

Midsommar: Directors Cut

The visionary director of Hereditary dishes up a totally unique and fiendishly funny audio-visual tapestry of folk-horror that will leave an indelible stain on your subconscious. A superb, one-of-a-kind psychedelic thriller that pushes its characters and its audience to extremes. A definite terror-round-the-maypole experience for the big screen.

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