April 24, 2024


The 71st Sydney Film Festival announces it will present the World Premiere of Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line for its Opening Night Gala on Wednesday June 5, at the State Theatre followed by a post-screening celebration in the Sydney Town Hall. 

The Hardest Line tells Midnight Oil’s trailblazing story for the first time ever on film. Contrary. Passionate. Outspoken. Across their 45-year career, ‘The Oils’ helped shape modern Australia with anthems like US Forces, Beds Are Burning, Blue Sky Mine and Redneck Wonderland. Featuring unheard interviews with every band member, unseen live and studio footage, alongside signature moments like the outback tour with Warumpi Band, their Exxon protest gig in New York and those famous “Sorry” suits at the Sydney Olympics, this film traces the singular journey of Australia’s quintessential rock band.  

“We are thrilled to present Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line as the opening film for this year’s Sydney Film Festival,” said Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “This documentary not only chronicles the formidable journey of one of Australia’s most influential bands but also captures the spirit of an era that reshaped our cultural and political landscapes. It’s a fitting tribute to their legacy and a profound reflection on their impact that continues to inspire audiences around the world.”

Writer, director, and executive producer Paul Clarke said “There is no other rock band in the world like Midnight Oil. For half a century they were fearless, contrary, and totally original. When Australia was creaking under the weight of its own myths, they told us the truth. Their songs pinpoint the fault-lines in our culture, they rage against the strange and dangerous times we’ve lived through, and they offer hope.  After following them for seven years, we thank ‘The Oils’ and we feel we have an important film to share. We are all excited to unleash Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line as the Opening Night of the Sydney Film Festival.”

Beyond’s Mikael Borglund, Executive Producer, said, “Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line is a film for our time.  Observant of Australian politics and culture, and fearless in calling out environmental and racial issues, ‘The Oils’ maintained their relevance for over 40 years by writing and performing music with global resonance. Featuring timeless anthems, we cannot wait for audiences to witness the power and the passion behind the legend that is Midnight Oil.”

Midnight Oil’s drummer Rob Hirst said, “With strong management, a tough crew and a sabre-tooth lawyer, bands can often dwell in a kind of mobile Faraday cage – the lightning striking all around, while the musicians remain high and dry in a studio, on a stage or wedged inside a Tarago. Thus it was for Midnight Oil: rarely were we able to focus on the horizon and see the ‘Big Picture’, if there was such a thing. So a film such as The Hardest Line is as much a revelation as a chronicle. Perhaps at last we can frame the last 50 years, make some collective sense of it, wrap it in a box marked ‘the Luckiest Band Ever.’”

Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line is a Blink TV and Beyond Entertainment feature documentary. Principal production funding from Screen Australia and Australian Broadcasting Corporation in association with Screen NSW.  Financed with support from Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing.  Australian theatrical distribution by Roadshow Films.  Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line is written and directed by Paul Clarke, produced by Carolina Sorensen, and executive produced by Mikael Borglund, Paul Clarke and Martin Fabinyi.

The full 71st Sydney Film Festival program will be announced on Wednesday 8 May 2024.

Flexipasses and subscriptions to Sydney Film Festival 2024 are on sale now.
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Sydney Film Festival Opening Night

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5 June 2024, 7pm

Venue: State Theatre | Post-screening gala in the Sydney Town Hall 


Adult (Film Only) – $55

Concession (Film Only) – $50

Film + Party – $160

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