The first Cockatoo Island Film Festival will have a splashy opening with the Australian premiere of the acclaimed cult drama The Master next month.
Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to There Will Be Blood, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, has earned strong reviews and sparked discussion about parallels with the life of L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology, since debuting at the Venice and Toronto film festivals in recent weeks.
It will screen on opening night in two of the five cinemas being installed at a cost of more than $800,000 on the harbour's biggest island for a festival that organisers hope will attract more than 40,000 people from October 24 to 28.
While the full program will not be released until next month, festival co-directors Allanah Zitserman and Stavros Kazantzidis will also screen Tim Burton's 3D animated Frankenweenie, the Elijah Wood thriller Maniac, the Australian sci-fi thriller Crawlspace, the James Bond documentary Everything and Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, and 7 Days in Havana, which features seven short films on life in the Cuban capital from such directors as Benecio del Toro and Gaspar Noe.
As well as competitions promising 30 new feature films from around the world, the festival will stage concerts by Arrested Development and Matt Corby at a venue that can fit more than 3000 people, a nightclub that will stay open until 3am, film workshops, parties and midnight, micro-budget and children's film screenings.
To limit noise to homes around the harbour, an outdoor "silent" cinema will allow viewers to watch films with sound delivered wirelessly to their headphones.
Kazantzidis said the island would be transformed for a celebration of films and music where the focus would be experiencing the event rather than just watching individual shows.
Zitserman said: "It's very much about creating an entire experience for people."