Gold Coast Film Festival scores Simon Baker, Rachael Blake and Vince Colosimo. Program announced today

The 2018 Gold Coast Film Festival (GCFF) program was officially unveiled today, with the city’s flagship film event screening 40 feature films including one world premiere, seven Australian premieres and seven Queensland premieres, plus a host of short films, events, filmmaker Q&A’s, and an incredible Virtual Reality (VR) film experience.

The 16th annual GCFF will run for 13 days from Tuesday 17 April to Sunday 29 April, with the Australian premiere screening of thriller ‘The Second’ confirmed for the Film Festival’s Opening Night at HOTA, Home of The Arts, with director Mairi Cameron and cast including Rachael Blake and Vince Colosimo in attendance.

‘The Second’, a Stan Original Film, is a Queensland production by a Brisbane-based creative team and filmed in Jimbour, north of Brisbane.

The Festival has also secured the Australian premiere of black comedy ‘Brothers’ Nest’ to screen at the Closing Night on Sunday, April 29, with brothers Shane Jacobson and Clayton Jacobson (Kenny), attending the event and Q&A.

Telling the story of two brothers who go to extreme and deadly lengths to protect their inheritance from their dying mother’s new husband, Brothers’ Nest has been touted as the most anticipated of Shane Jacobson’s five feature films to be released this year.

The Gold Coast Film Festival will also screen the Queensland premiere of Simon Baker’s ‘Breath’, at a special red-carpet gala event at Pacific Fair on Thursday 19 April.  Simon Baker (Sando) and fellow actors Samson Coulter (‘Pikelet’) and Ben Spence (‘Loonie’) will be attending the premiere screening, which will be followed by a Q&A.

“The Queensland Government, Screen Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland are proud to be major partners of the Gold Coast Film Festival,” said Queensland Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“The Commonwealth Games will pass the baton to the GCFF in mid-April putting the spotlight again on the Gold Coast, attracting more visitors, boosting the economy and supporting local jobs.

“The Queensland Government’s $11 million contribution towards the construction of the $15.5 million Sound Stage 9 at Village Roadshow Studios, used to host the GC2018 Squash competition, along with our $30 million four-year funding contribution and $20 million injection last December into the screen industry is having a major impact.

“In the last month we have announced ‘Danger Close’, Chris Lilley’s Netflix series, plus another feature film, ‘Escape and Evasion’, produced by Blake Northfield and Jane Corden of Bronte Pictures and directed by Storm Ashwood, is currently shooting on the Gold Coast.”

Minister for Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones said locals and tourists will enjoy the variety of films on offer.

“This event further cements the Gold Coast as Australia’s leading film capital,” Ms Jones said.

“The Gold Coast will be flying high, fresh from hosting the Commonwealth Games and this event offers yet another reason to visit this region.

“The Palaszczuk Government supports the Gold Coast Film Festival via Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar which will inject $780 million into the state’s economy.”

In partnership with the Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF), for the first time GCFF will take festivalgoers to the forefront of cinematic innovation through a program of varied Virtual Reality (VR) experiences on Saturday 28 April and Sunday 29 April.

Audiences will experience some of the best VR content from around the world and Australia, such as animated documentary ‘A Think Black Line’, from Brisbane filmmaker Douglas Watkin, which invites audiences to step into The Bombing of Darwin – a pivotal event in the history of one family, and a nation, through the eyes of a child.

Witness first-hand the imprisonment of asylum seekers as audiences are taken behind the razor-wire to meet the people who are being denied their freedom with ‘Inside Manus’, while Rone takes audiences inside the famous street artist’s world, following him into rarely-explored spaces, such as abandoned houses and crumbling historic buildings.

Those interested in gaining insider knowledge into the film world will not want to miss the Queensland premiere screening of documentary ‘Jill Bilcock: Dancing The Invisible’, which shines a light on one of the world’s most legendary film editors, Jill Bilcock.

Having edited some of the country’s most iconic films including ‘Strictly Ballroom’, ‘Australia’ and ‘The Dressmaker’, the documentary explores Bilcock’s career through a series of entertaining stories that highlight the impact of editing memorable movies and includes interviews with cinema luminaries including Baz Luhrmann and Cate Blanchett. Jill Bilcock will take part in a special Q&A after the film.

The GCFF is one of 36 film festivals and events being funded by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Screen Culture Funding program, contributing almost $1.05 million across the state this financial year.

Gold Coast Film Festival director Lucy Fisher said the quality of the 2018 program is testament to the growing significance of the Festival as a film industry event and its role in promoting the Gold Coast as one of Australia’s leading filmmaking destinations.

“At its core, the Gold Coast Film Festival celebrates film and filmmaking,” said Ms Fisher.

“The Film Festival will be the Gold Coast’s first major event following the Commonwealth Games and will continue to enrich the city through the dozens of special film events being held at 11 venues across the Gold Coast.

“We are proud to announce such a strong line-up today and look forward to once again bringing the magic of film to film enthusiasts, aspiring filmmakers and the screen industry here on the Gold Coast.”

The Festival will also screen the Australian premiere of ‘The Stolen’, a film which takes viewers deep into the New Zealand wilderness following 1860s English settler Charlotte Lockton, played by Alice Eve (‘Entourage’, ‘Iron Fist’, ‘Before We Go’) as she searches for her kidnapped son.

Film directors, writers, cast and crew members will attend numerous scheduled film premieres for intimate Q&A sessions following screenings, including Russian-born Australian writer/director Alena Lodkina on Friday, April 27, following the Australian premiere screening of her film ‘Strange Colours’.

Co-writer/director Tony Prescott will also be at the Gold Coast Film Festival for the world premiere of ‘The Pretend One’, which will be followed by a Q&A.

Director of fantasy-drama film ‘Pulse’, Stevie Cruz-Martin, will be present for a Q&A following the Queensland premiere of the film along with writer and producer Claire Harris and Steve Jaggi following the screening of their film ‘Zelos’.

Continuing its commitment to supporting women in the film industry, the Gold Coast Film Festival will host the fourth annual Women In Film Luncheon at QT Hotel on Friday, April 20 with special guest speaker Jenny Cooney.

Hollywood powerbroker Jenny Cooney has affectionately earned herself the title of the ‘Hollywood Godmother for Australian actors’ and is known as the go-to person for Aussie talent wanting to take on the bright lights of Hollywood.

The Festival has also curated a program of films and events on Friday 20 April, inspired by the popular industry hashtag #femalefilmmakerfriday. One of the highlights of the day will be the official launch of Women in Film and Television (WIFT) Australia, the new national advocacy body.

The 2018 Gold Coast Film Festival will also host a program of short film programs including Queensland Scream Fest, showcasing six Queensland short film horrors; Emerge, screening short films from recently graduated film students; and SIPFest, a collection of 12 short films screened on iconic Surfers Paradise beach.

Family fun will be in full swing at the southern end of the Gold Coast, with Dance Classics at Kirra screening ‘Strictly Ballroom’ on Friday 20 April and ‘Happy Feet’ on Saturday 21 April at Gilltrap Park, Kirra Beach. With energetic dancing demonstrations and plenty of food trucks on offer, it’s sure to be a fun night out under the stars.

Movie trivia returns as the Music and Movie Trivia Night this year, along with the ever-popular Australia-first Gold Coast Movie Locations Tour, which takes guests on a three-hour adventure exploring blockbuster film locations throughout the city.

The Floating Cinema is also back, with guests invited to hop aboard the deluxe Wyndham Cruises boat for a night of 90s prom-night fun and warm apple pie, as classic ‘American Pie’ is screened ahead of its 20th anniversary year.

Film enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on the Brewery Film, ‘Fight Club’, screened on the new outdoor cinema at Burleigh Brewing Co., or Anime in the Mall with five anime films screening in Broadbeach Mall over two nights.

New Zealand documentary ‘No Ordinary Sheila’ and English drama ‘The Bookshop’ will be screened at Birch, Carroll and Coyle Coolangatta for two Senior Morning Teas inclusive of tea, coffee and cake.

The screening of ‘Back to Burgundy’ on Sunday 22 April is set to be another program highlight, taking guests deep into the vineyards of Burgundy with this classic French drama, which follows the changing seasons of a Burgundy local. Following the screening, guests are invited for an exclusive wine tasting and cheese on the HOTA Café deck.

‘I Am Not A Witch’, which received a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut in February will also be screened, telling the story of an African witch camp by a Welsh-Zambian director.

In yet another first, the Gold Coast Film Festival will screen a program of short films from Access All Areas Festival, with seven short films especially curated to reflect the experiences of people living with disabilities, screening in a flashing light free environment and with open captions.

Free childcare will return for the third year in 2018, after the Festival became the first in Australia to offer such a service. Childcare is available for bookings across four films and four panels.

The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by major government partners Screen Queensland, City of Gold Coast, HOTA, Home of The Arts, and Tourism and Events Queensland.

Tickets for all events and films are now on sale at gcfilmfestival.com.

IMAGE: Elizabeth Debicki (Eva), Director Simon Baker (Sando) ‘Breath’ Photograph by David Dare Parker

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