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:: Spotlight :: 2014 Byron Bay International Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

After 12 months scouring the globe for eye-opening, invigorating and cutting-edge films, the 8th Byron Bay International Film Festival (BBFF 2014) is once again preparing for thousands of film lovers, directors, producers, actors and other creative spirits from around the world to descend upon the breathtaking shores of sub-tropical Byron Bay and expand their worldview through a massive independent 10-day celebration of film.

So what can audiences expect in 2014? “This year we are looking forward to fabulous red carpet Opening and Closing Night gala parties, unique events that explore Byron’s way of life and an inspirational selection of panels and workshops”, says Festival Director, J’aimee Skippon-Volke. “However, as a prelude we are also very excited to be hosting Byron Bay’s most romantic night of the year, as our iconic Full Moon beachside screening will be held on Valentine’s Day - Friday February 14 2014. We will be screening a selection of the best romantic short films from our past seven seasons. Thousands of people will join with picnics in tow for a free night of heart-warming cinema under the stars to the backdrop of the Byron lighthouse.”

Famous for its surfing and laid-back, bohemian lifestyle, Byron Bay’s buzz during the film festival is infectious. A fun, friendly and inclusive vibe sees audiences and industry heavyweights mingling side by side at the BBFF’s sunset bar or the many great cafes and restaurants nearby. She added, “Every year we have some wonderful rising stars and seasoned veterans alike from the International film industry. In 2013 that included actor Jack Thompson recently appearing in The Great Gatsby and renowned comedian Akmal Saleh for the world premiere of his powerful debut documentary about the Arab Spring, Pharaoh vs. The Egyptians. Being Australia’s largest regional film festival, we also have hundreds of phenomenal films to look forward to spanning topics such as social justice, women’s issues, sexuality and relationships, spirituality, surfing and the changing environment, many of which you will only be likely to catch in Australia at BBFF. The hardest thing is narrowing down your must-see list.”

A sneak peak of the films in BBFF’s rich and entertaining program reveals such gems as Upaj: Improvise, an electric, heartwarming film about the personal stories of two unlikely friends who cross cultures, continents and generations to create a scintillating fusion of jazz, tap, dance. Also, Orizzonti (The Audition), a passionate piece by American Director Michael Haussman. Screening at Venice Film Festival in August 2013, The Audition is about the perils of falling in love as shown through a playful challenge between two actors that escalates into a war of emotion, as they try to conquer each other in proposition.

The 8th Byron Bay International Film Festival takes place February 28 to March 9 2014 across 5 venues in Byron Bay and its surrounding areas. Tickets on sale Monday February 17.

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