Gold Coast Film Festival reveals stunner of a program for 2020

Gold Coast’s flagship film celebration Gold Coast Film Festival (GCFF) is once again taking things up a notch with a program packed full of big names and big events when it hits the Gold Coast this 15 to 26 April.

We’ve already had a teaser of some of the fabulous pop-up cinemas and classic returning events at this year’s Gold Coast Film Festival, but now, the 18th annual GCFF has officially launched its full program, with a huge array of events for movie lovers of all ages from outdoor pop-up cinemas and filmmaker Q&As to industry galas and workshops.

Screen industry luminaries including actors Jack Thompson and Hugo Weaving, producers Sue Maslin, Greer Simpkin, John Pilger and Chris Brown and directors Wayne Blair, Kriv Stenders and Warwick Thornton will be among the guests to light up the 12-day event, which will feature four world, nine Australian and 11 Queensland premieres amid an epic schedule of cinematic action from Coomera to Coolangatta.

The hugely popular festival will open with ‘I Am Woman’, the debut feature film from Unjoo Moon and one of the country’s most anticipated films of 2020. Screenwriter Emma Jensen will walk the red carpet at HOTA ahead of the screening of the biographical drama that captures the life of Australian singer Helen Reddy, whose iconic song ‘I Am Woman’ became an anthem for the women’s movement in the 1970s.

The screening will be one of 24 premieres held during the festival, including the closing night Australian Premiere of ‘Bloody Hell’, a dark, comedic thriller shot on the Gold Coast. Producer Brett Thornquest and actors Ben O’Toole and Meg Fraser will take part in a Q&A following the screening at HOTA.

“With two dozen premieres across 12 days, film lovers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to experiencing unique stories and fresh talent on the big screen,” Gold Coast Film Festival Director Lucy Fisher said.

“In addition to our incredible opening and closing night films, I’m thrilled that we are hosting the world premiere of ‘Slim and I’, the incredible documentary that shines a light on Joy McKean, Australia’s own ‘Queen of Country Music’, and her enduring partnership with Slim Dusty.

“It will be an honour to welcome Joy and the film’s director Kriv Stenders and producer Chris Brown on the red carpet at HOTA and participate in a Q&A after the screening.

“This year we also have a first for the festival with a special screening of the first two episodes of the second season of AACTA and Logie-Award winning drama TV series ‘Mystery Road’ and look forward to hearing the behind-the-scenes stories from directors Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton and producers Greer Simpkin and David Jowsey.”

More highlights of the festival will be the Gala Screening of ‘Never Too Late’ with legendary actor Jack Thompson and producer Antony Ginnane in attendance on Saturday 18 April.

Award-winning actor Hugo Weaving will also attend the festival and take part in a Q&A following the screening of the gripping drama ‘Hearts and Bones’ on Tuesday 21 April.

The festival’s much-loved Women in Film Lunch will feature award-winning children’s content producers Nadine Bates and Kristen Souvlis of Queensland’s Like A Photon.

QT BITES: Food + Film Fest on Thursday, 16 April will enable guests to take a trip around the world with delectable food, drink and bite-sized films celebrating Japanese and Mexican cuisine. Held at The Spring, QT Gold Coast, guests will celebrate film, indulge in food and drink and escape from the everyday.

The film industry will also come together for the 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 producer, Sue Maslin AO.

An addition to the Gold Coast Film Festival calendar in 2020 is Dark Nights and Fantastic Fans, which is dedicated to bringing audiences the best in cult and genre films all at the one venue. This year’s focus will see Events Cinema Coomera become home to a Harry Potter Marathon across 20 hours from 12pm on Saturday, 18 April to 8am on Sunday, 19 April. With the boy wizard’s eight classic films to be screened back to back for the first time on the Gold Coast, fans will be urged to stay well nourished, wear their house colours and stand up once in a while.

Also included in Dark Nights is LadyParts Live Commentary: Jennifer’s Body on Sunday, 19 April, where you can watch cult favourite ‘Jennifer’s Body’, while a panel of cultural commentators and film experts explore not only Megan Fox’s iconic turn in the titular role, but the shifting narratives and meanings of genre horror.

Parents will also be sure to relish the chance to attend a ground-breaking workshop on Saturday 18 April with Angie Simpson, the mother of Cody and Alli who have established themselves in the competitive show biz world. Navigating your Child’s Career with Angie Simpson will see the Gold Coast mum share advice and tales from her own amazing journey, which saw the family move to Los Angeles for eight years as she successfully supported her chidren’s dreams after a 13-year-old Cody was ‘discovered’ on YouTube.

Pup-Up Cinema will also come to the Gold Coast on Sunday, 26 April when Queen Elizabeth Park at Coolangatta hosts the Dog-umentary Movie Night, including best-dressed dog competitions, a selection of pup-friendly market stalls and Australian premiere of Well Groomed, a dog-umentary that explores the creative and humorous world of competitive dog grooming.
Held in partnership with Paws at the Park, the canine-friendly social event will even see the pooches walk the red carpet as they enjoy their well-deserved moment in the spotlight.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said events like the Gold Coast Film Festival were important contributors to the Queensland economy.

“We invest in events because we know they drive people to the region, boosting the economy and supporting local jobs,” Ms Jones said.

“The Gold Coast Film Festival is expected to welcome close to 10,000 people, many visiting from outside the region.

“This program has something for every film buff. You can’t go wrong with an awesome lineup of movies on the Gold Coast – one of the most sought-after tourism destinations in the world.”

Among many highlights, the festival will host the cast and crew of ‘Swimming for Gold’ at its world premiere at HOTA – Home of the Arts on Saturday, 18 April. Filmed entirely in Queensland, the film tells the story of a young woman who must overcome a secret fear after her father sends her to Australia to coach an elite boys swim team.

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

The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland. The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the City of Gold Coast. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit gcfilmfestival.com.

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