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:: Spotlight :: 2011 Gold Coast Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The Gold Coast Film Festival has always strived to promote local talent, and this year will be no different. The 2011 festival will see a showcase of locally shot films including thriller Crawl, horror comedy The Killage and teenage drama Dartworth.

In Crawl, a mysterious Croatian man is hired by a seedy bar owner to commit a murder, but a planned double-crossing backfires when a young waitress is taken hostage. Thrilling and darkly humorous, the film marks the feature debut of director Paul China and stars Georgina Haig (Underbelly, Wasted on the Young).

When a group of horror-film stereotypes go on a recreational work retreat in The Killage things are bound to end a little bloody. Director Joe Bauer is well aware of the fact, and the result is a fun, frantic and self-aware slasher comedy that pokes fun at the expectations of viewers. The film stars local talent including Carmel Savage (Still Waters), Meisha Lowe (Underbelly Files: Infiltration) and Rita Artmann (Property of the Grim Reaper).

Dartworthis the story of self-proclaimed anarchist Julian Mitchell (Liam Nunan) and his experience in the insidious world of a private school for boys. Stuck between the school prefects and their arch-nemesis, Mr Darren ‘The Spider’ Twine (Ian McFayden), Mitchell soon finds himself in a game of cat and mouse. Dartworthmarks the directorial debut of actor Andre Seager.

As always, the producers of the Queensland Showcase films will be given career boosting opportunities in the form of mentoring meetings with some of the most prominent personalities in the Australian film and television industry. These include Ross Grayson Bell, the producer of Fight Club, Seph McKenna, the Head of Australian Production and Acquisition for Roadshow Films, Jonathan Page, the CEO of Bonsai Films and former Head of International Sales for Becker Films, as well as Richard Sheffield, the Head of Film Acquisitions for domestic distributor Pinnacle Films.

The Gold Coast Film Festival presented by Australia Fair Shopping Centre, will be held November 21-27 at Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinemas at Australia Fair Shopping Centre in Southport. Gold Coast City Council’s Film Gold Coast is the major Government sponsor of the event. The full program of films and events will be available to view here from October 17

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**Update as at October 18, 2011**

A masked do-gooder is heading to the 2011 Gold Coast Film Festival, presented by Australia Fair Shopping Centre. However, the Crimson Bolt is no ordinary superhero with some saying he is just a guy in a costume. Whatever the case, film lovers will be delighted when the underground comedy sensation Super screens at this year’s festival.

Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson, The Office) lives a mundane life as a short-order cook until his wife, Sarah (Liv Tyler), leaves him for a drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon). As the plot suggests, this film is as dark as it is funny, with an extremely energetic and fun performance from Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) and television cult heroes such as Linda Cardellini (Freaks & Geeks) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly).

Writer/Director James Gunn (Slither) says he initially started the film as a short, however very quickly the characters took hold of him and the script became a feature. He says his inspiration for the film comes from “the comics of Alan Moore, along with the films of Scorsese, Tarantino, and Lukas Moodysson, the comedic and tonal shifts of Asian cinema, and, to a smaller degree, old 60’s pop art films like Send Me No Flowers.”

Super premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and also screened at the Fantasia Film Festival 2011 where it tied for best international film. The screening at this year’s GCFF will be the Queensland Premiere of the film after it opened the Sydney Underground Film Festival 2011 in September.

The Gold Coast Film Festival presented by Australia Fair Shopping Centre, will be held November 21-27 at Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinemas at Australia Fair Shopping Centre in Southport. Gold Coast City Council’s Film Gold Coast is the major Government sponsor of the event.

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**Update as at October 28, 2011**

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and the Gold Coast Film Festival have announced that five films nominated in this year’s APSAs will screen at the Gold Coast Film Festival (GCFF), which runs November 21-27. The five nominated films to screen are Norwegian Wood, Elena, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below and international box office sensation Let the Bullets Fly. The GCFF Opening Night Film, Let the Bullets Fly, written and directed by Jiang Wen, has received two APSA nominations. The highest grossing domestic film in history at the Chinese box office, the film has been nominated for Best Feature Film and Achievement in Directing.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey / Bosnia and Herzegovina) has been nominated for Best Feature Film, Achievement in Directing, Achievement in Cinematography and Best Screenplay. It premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it shared the Grand Prix with Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for The Kid with a Bike. Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the APSA for Achievement in Directing in 2008 for his previous film Three Monkeys.

The APSA nominations for Achievement in Cinematography include Mark Lee Ping Bin for Norwegian Wood (Japan). The film is an adaptation of the once-proclaimed ‘unadaptable’ bestselling novel from Haruki Murakami that deals with the issues of life, death, art, freedom and responsibility. Directed by Tran Anh Hung, Golden Lion winner for Cyclo and Academy Award nominee for The Scent of Green Papaya, Norwegian Wood features striking performances by Ken’ichi Matsuyama (Death Note) and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel), first loves who remain connected even as the world changes around them.

The APSA Nominees for Best Performance by an Actress include Nadezhda Markina from the Russian Federation who stars in Elena (Russian Federation). Elena and Vladimir, an older couple who have met late in life, come from different backgrounds and both have grown children from previous relationships. When Vladimir has a heart attack he writes a will leaving his entire fortune to his cold and distant daughter, but Elena wants the money to go to her unemployed son who is unable to support his family. The shy housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.

APSA Nominees for Best Animated Feature Film include Noritaka Kawaguchi for Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (Japan). Well known to the Gold Coast as the inaugural APSA winner of Best Animated Feature in 2007 for 5 Centimeters Per Second, Noritaka was also a guest of the 2010 Gold Coast Film Festival where he gave several seminars and workshops of animation filmmaking.

A story of loss set against stunning traditional animation, Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below tells the tale of Asuna (Hisuka Kanemoto), a mysterious foreign boy named Shun (Miyu Irino), and their journey to a faraway land called “Agartha”. Growing up in a world yet unseen, the “Children” encounter secrets of the world on their journey, all the while holding different feelings inside of their hearts. With Shinkai’s characteristic detailed, hard-hitting dialogue and portrayals of characters, this film is also filled with heart-pumping adventure and a triumphant, grand majesty.

The Gold Coast Film Festival, presented by Australia Fair Shopping Centre, will be held November 21-27 at Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinemas at Australia Fair Shopping Centre in Southport.

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For more information, visit

www.gcfilmfestival.com