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:: Spotlight :: 2016 Gold Coast Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Film lovers, aspiring filmmakers, families and students around Australia will be spoilt for choice at the 2016 Gold Coast Film Festival, which will see more than 70 film and film related events take place over nine different locations across the city. Celebrated for its sun, surf and sand, the Gold Coast is proving itself as the perfect playground for filmmakers, with international blockbusters including Thor: Ragnarok and Kong: Skull Island recently confirming major shoots for the city next year.

The 10-day Gold Coast Film Festival, held from 31 March – 10 April, will feature a host of action-packed indoor and outdoor events including SIPFest, an annual short film competition transforming Surfers Paradise beach into a vibrant and unique cinema, featuring 10-minute cinematic masterpieces by emerging filmmakers from around Australia.

The 2016 Gold Coast Film Festival will premiere exclusive screenings of some of the latest indie films from around the world, captivating audiences with a variety of film genres including critically acclaimed foreign language films, engaging documentaries, Japanese anime, family features, horror, sci-fi, drama and locally produced films.

Other special events popping up throughout the Festival will include the prestigious Chauvel Award, Women In Film screenings and lunch, movie trivia night, free community screenings and the Festival’s newest addition, YScreen.

YScreen is a program of entertaining and intelligent films and workshops for children and teens, set to encourage young audiences to become active viewers, stimulate critical discussion of film in classrooms and provide an insight into other cultures and ways of life. Four films will be selected for YScreen and shown at family-friendly times during the Easter school holidays and at special school excursion screenings alongside film criticism workshops conducted by industry professionals on 11 and 12 April 2016.

In addition to exciting public events, the Gold Coast’s flagship film festival will also host a range of intimate workshops and seminars for filmmakers, aspiring filmmakers and actors, giving people the opportunity to learn from Australia’s leading producers, writers and directors.

Special guests at this year’s festival included Margaret Pomeranz, Luke Hemsworth, Daniel MacPherson, George Takei and Dolph Lundgren. A stellar lineup of guests and the program of films and events will be announced late February 2016.

With big names headed to the Gold Coast for an action-packed year, who knows who will be seen on the 2016 Gold Coast Film Festival red carpet.

Gold Coast Film Festival
Date: 31 March – 10 April 2016
Locations: The Gold Coast Arts Centre, BCC Cinemas Coolangatta, Surfers Paradise beachfront, QT Hotel, Bond University, Robina Community Centre and Broadbeach Park.

For further information about the 2016 GCFF, please visit here

Accommodation

Visitors travelling to the Gold Coast for the 2016 Gold Coast Film Festival can book their stay at the luxurious QT Hotel, in the heart of Surfers Paradise and only a short-drive to each of the Festival’s event locations. Special GCFF room rates begin at $185 per night. To book online, please visit here and enter the corporate code ‘GCFFWEB’.

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The Gold Coast Film Festival has just announced its 2016 programme, revealing it will screen 38 films from 15 countries, securing six Australian Premieres and seven Queensland Premieres from 31 March - 10 April.

The city’s flagship film event has confirmed Sundance Film Festival favourite Eddie the Eagle is set to land on the Gold Coast for the film’s Queensland Premiere and the Opening Night of the Gold Coast Film Festival on Thursday 31 March.

Inspired by true events Eddie the Eagle, starring Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken, tells the uplifting story of Michael Edwards, better known as ‘Eddie the Eagle’, the courageous British ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. This feel good movie is sure to delight and inspire film lovers of all ages.

Director Stephen Page will also make his debut at the Gold Coast Film Festival with his genre-bending film Spear. It is the first feature from Stephen Page of Sydney’s Bangarra Dance Theatre and it marks a pivotal event in Australia’s film history as the world’s first contemporary Indigenous dance movie. Stephen Page and cast member Hunter Page-Lochard, star of the upcoming ABC-TV series Cleverman, will attend the screening on Saturday 2 April, followed by a Q&A session.

On Friday 1 April, the annual Women In Film Luncheon, presented by Screen Queensland will return with an incredible, multi-talented guest speaker. Australian actor, film producer, writer, editor and director Gracie Otto has been confirmed to attend the event and share her insight and experiences.

Gracie’s feature documentary The Last Impressario premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2013 and she has recently set up an all-female production company, The Dollhouse Collective, with Rose Byrne, Shannon Murphy, Krew Boylan and Jess Carrera.

Other special guests attending the Gold Coast Film Festival include one of Australia’s most recognised actresses, Claudia Karvan, who has been awarded the 2016 Chauvel Award. Named in honour of Charles Chauvel, the prestigious award acknowledges Karvan for her significant contribution to Australian cinema. Karvan has an extensive filmography; she first appeared in Gillian Armstrong’s High Tide (1987) with Judy Davis, then in Phillip Noyce’s Echoes of Paradise (1987).

Gold Coast Film Festival Director Lucy Fisher said the 2016 Festival provides a strong platform for film lovers, aspiring filmmakers, families and students to be entertained, inspired and empowered. “This year the Festival program offers a diverse selection of some of the most lauded films from Queensland and around the world, and from both first time filmmakers to Academy Award nominees. The program is action-packed with 80 screenings, events, seminars and films, offering something for everyone,” Ms Fisher said. “The Gold Coast is proving itself as the perfect playground for filmmakers with a range of international blockbusters filming in the city, so we are proud to focus on fostering the next generation of local talent by providing students and emerging film professionals with plenty of workshops with leading producers, directors and writers, as well as networking and professional development opportunities.”

New to the Gold Coast Film Festival this year is YScreen, a program of entertaining and intelligent films and workshops for children and teens, set to encourage young audiences to become active viewers, stimulate critical discussion of film in classrooms and provide an insight into other cultures and ways of life. For the first time in its 14-year history, the Festival is inviting schools to view selected festival films and has put together special school excursion screenings that will be held alongside film criticism workshops, conducted by professionals from the Australian Film Critics Association on 11 and 12 April.

On Friday 1 April, director Heath Davis, producer Luke Graham and cast, Steve Le Marquand and Max Cullen, will attend the Queensland Premiere and special Q&A screening of locally produced sports themed drama Broke. The film follows the story of disgraced rugby league star and gambling addict, Ben “BK” Kelly, who attempts to turn his life around with the support of his two biggest fans.

Other films with Queensland premieres at the 2016 Gold Coast Film Festival include Girl Asleep, Louder Than Bombs starring Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert, and Australian thriller Observance, which recently premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival and London Film Festival. The Festival will also host the Australian Premiere of Atom Egoyan’s powerful drama, Remember, which tells the story of an elderly Auschwitz survivor, suffering from early dementia, who embarks on a mission to find - and kill - the Nazi commander responsible for the death of his family.

Audiences can participate in a unique video Q&A screening with American director Stephen Littger, following the Australian Premiere of his provocative drama Her Composition on Wednesday 6 April. The Festival will also be joined by producer Farah Abushwesha and director Ron Scalpello for the video Q&A screening and Australian Premiere of their survival thriller Pressure on Thursday 7 April.

On Friday 8 April, distinguished writer of hugely popular film Last Cab to Darwin, Reg Cribb will attend the 10-year anniversary screening of Last Cab to Freo at the Gold Coast Film Festival, followed by a Q&A with Cribb.

2016 also sees the return of Queensland Showcase, an integral strand of the festival that supports and showcases the directors, producers and writers from our own backyard. The Festival will screen the Australian Premiere of The Hunters Club, which was shot on the Gold Coast by director Kit McDee, who will attend the film’s screening. On Saturday 10 April, Australian drama and Toronto Film Festival favourite, A Month of Sundays, starring Anthony LaPaglia will screen as the festival’s closing film.

Other special events throughout the 10-day festival include REELLife, a series of workshops and panels, movie trivia night and SIPFest, an annual short film competition transforming Surfers Paradise beach into a vibrant and unique cinema, featuring 14 short 10-minute cinematic masterpieces by emerging filmmakers from around Australia.

Tickets for all events and films are now on sale here

OPENING NIGHT FILM

Eddie The Eagle
Premiere: Queensland Premiere
Country: UK
Length: 105 minutes
Language: English
Classification: PG
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken
Synopsis: A warm and funny true story, Eddie The Eagle follows the realisation of
the childhood dream of unlikely English icon, Michael “Eddie” Edwards (played by superstar-in-the-making, Taron Egerton), and his unflinching determination to become Great Britain’s first Olympic ski-jumper. With Hugh Jackman on board as coach, Eddie The Eagle is an uplifting, inspirational story that celebrates the human spirit, passion, and one man’s refusal to accept defeat.

Screenings: Thursday 31 March, 6:45pm at The Arts Centre Gold Coast; and Sunday 3 April, 3pm at BCC Coolangatta

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CLOSING NIGHT FILM

A Month of Sundays
Country: Australia
Length: 109 minutes
Language: English
Classification: PG
Genre: Drama
Director: Matthew Saville
Cast: Anthony La Paglia, Julia Blake, Justine Clarke

Synopsis: Set in the suburbs of Adelaide, Anthony LaPaglia plays estate agent Frank, a lonely divorced father whose mother has recently died. One evening he receives a call from an elderly widow who accidentally mistakes Frank for her own son, but nonetheless she quickly becomes his surrogate mother, providing much needed affection. Beautifully performed and written, A Month of Sundays is a bittersweet take on how lives evolve as we inevitably get older.

Screenings: Sunday 10 April, 6:30pm at The Arts Centre Gold Coast

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**Special announcement**

Australian actress Claudia Karvan has been recognised as the recipient of the prestigious 2016 Chauvel Award as part of the 14th annual Gold Coast Film Festival. The Chauvel Award, named in honour of Charles Chauvel commenced in 1993 and acknowledges an individual who has made significant contribution to Australian cinema. The Award recognises Karvan, who has achieved popular success and critical acclaim through her work in film and television.

Having begun her career at 14, Karvan has an extensive filmography; she first appeared in Gillian Armstrong’s High Tide (1987) with Judy Davis, then in Phillip Noyce’s Echoes of Paradise (1987).

On Saturday 9 April, the Gold Coast Film Festival will welcome audiences to a special event: David Stratton In Conversation With Claudia Karvan. The night will be an intimate look at Karvan’s career, accompanied by footage from her films and moderated by film critic and previous Chauvel Award recipient, David Stratton.

David Stratton said he is looking forward delving into In Conversation With Claudia. “I have known Claudia since she started acting and even appeared in a film with her once – something I’m certain will be referred to in our informal chat.  Her career has gone from strength to strength, and she is unquestionably one of our finest actors.”

In 2004, Karvan began work on the highly popular series Love My Way (2004), as creator, producer and star. The series won the Silver Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama Series and the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Television Drama Series over three consecutive years.

Between 1987 and 2004, Karvan was nominated for twelve more Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards, winning her category – Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Television Drama – in 1996 for her role in G.P.(1989). In 1998, she received The Palms Spring Short Film Festival Audience Favourite Award for Two Girls and a Baby (1998).

Karvan was selected as this year’s recipient by six 2016 Chauvel Award Committee members including Jan Chapman, producer of the AFI Best Film winner, Lantana and Academy Award® winner The Piano, and 2002 Chauvel Award recipient, alongside Melanie Coombs, producer of the Academy Award® winner Harvie Krumpet and film industry veteran, actor and producer Alan Finney.

Australian film critic and TV personality David Stratton, major festival sponsor Screen Queensland’s CEO, Tracey Vieira and Bond University’s Emeritus Professor Bruce Molloy are also a part of the esteemed 2016 Chauvel Committee members.

Other past recipients of the prestigious Award have included producer Anthony Buckley, directors George Miller and Rolf de Heer, actors Bryan Brown and Geoffrey Rush, cinematographer John Seale and documentary makers Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson. 

The 10-day Gold Coast Film Festival will be held from 31 March – 10 April

Tickets for the Chauvel Award: David Stratton In Conversation With Claudia Karvan are now on sale here

For more information, visit

www.gcfilmfestival.com