Gold Coast Film Festival launches 2019 program, and it’s a cracker

Three world, 10 Australian and four Queensland premieres, 107 films, 13 locations, 12 days and one incredible celebration of all things cinematic – the 2019 Gold Coast Film Festival program was officially launched today with something for everyone across its 178 events.

The Gold Coast Film Festival team had already dropped a few teasers, with new event Horror in the Hinterland generating plenty of buzz, alongside the ever-popular Music & Movie Trivia and Women in Film lunch. But what else can be expected on the events front?

Firstly, the film industry will come together for the inaugural Screen Industry Gala Awards, which will include the awarding of the Chauvel Award for an individual’s significant contribution to the Australian screen industry to film icon Sigrid Thornton.

The icon of the Australia screen and stage will attend the inaugural Screen Industry Gala Dinner and treat guests to an ‘in-conversation’ with Hollywood journalist Jenny Cooney.

In a festival first, the event, now running over Queensland school holidays, will host children’s events every day including acting, filmmaking and photography workshops, a dedicated schools program and free outdoor movies across the city.

Families are also expected to flock to Blind Cinema, the ground-breaking live event where children use hushed voices to describe a film that only they can see to blindfolded adults.

Another sensation is sure to be Virtual Reality, a partnership with Byron Bay Film Festival that allows audiences to strap on a headset and be taken into the world of VR.

Audiences can travel from deep inside the mind of a coma patient in ‘Lucid’, outer space in ‘Space Dream’ and the London of 1916 in ‘The Unknown Patient’ to journeying with the first woman shaman of an Amazonian tribe in ‘Awavena’, who, along with her fellow tribespeople, is using VR to share their story and shift our consciousness.

Other new highlights include pop-up outdoor cinemas in some of the Gold Coast’s most picturesque locations and the Laneway Cinema in Chinatown screening Jackie Chan classics ‘Karate Kid’ and ‘Drunken Master’.

The festival will also provide filmmakers, actors and film students with a wide range of professional development opportunities, including 25 industry panels and in-depth workshops on pitching, screenwriting and editing.

The event has earned a reputation for offering something for everyone and the 2019 instalment is no different with a plethora of events aimed at fostering a love for film in people of all ages. And of course we can’t forget the array of fascinating films on offer.

Award-winning filmmaker Damon Gameau (‘That Sugar Film’) will walk the red carpet at HOTA, Home of the Arts for the Australian premiere of ‘2040′, his inspiring exploration of solutions for the planet’s modern-day problems.

The screening, which will be followed by a Q&A, will be the first of more than a dozen premieres across the 12 days, including the Closing Night world premiere of Australian war film ‘Escape and Evasion’ to be held at HOTA on Sunday, 14 April.

Directed by Storm Ashwood and filmed in the Gold Coast’s luscious Currumbin Valley, it explores the troubling effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on a lone surviving soldier.

Among many highlights, the festival will hold a gala screening of the much-anticipated ‘Top End Wedding’ from director Wayne Blair (‘The Sapphires’) and writer-producer-star Miranda Tapsell on Friday 12 April.

Another world premiere will be the eagerly awaited screening of stylish noir film ‘Locusts’, a thriller from Gold Coast writer/producer and radiologist Dr Angus Watts and director Heath Davis, featuring an ensemble of Australian character actors including Ben Geurens and Jessica McNamee.

Gold Coast Film Festival Director Lucy Fisher said the quality of the films to screen during the event was only surpassed by the wide variety of experiences on offer.

“I’m a firm believer that the best film festivals offer the public so much more than just the chance to watch movies and we have once again raised the bar on that front,” she said.

“From unique pop-up cinemas on the water, in the bush and on urban streets to daily workshops for children and wine and cheese events, our massive program of events and screenings allows people to immerse themselves in film and have a little fun along the way.

“Given the festival will be held in the Queensland school holidays, we’ve even expanded our free creche to open on three days instead of the previous two to ensure parents can enjoy the event with and without their kids.

“With record numbers of films from both Gold Coast and Australian filmmakers and films from more than a dozen countries to be screened, we are proud of the platform we are providing local, national and international filmmakers to be seen and rewarded with deserving accolades.”

Gold Coast Film Festival runs from 3 to 14 April, 2019. For full programming, tickets and more information, visit www.gcfilmfestival.com

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