World beaters: Global premieres to headline Gold Coast Film Festival
Queensland’s biggest celebration of cinema is set to be one to remember in 2021 with the Gold Coast Film Festival announcing a stellar line-up of world premieres, exclusive preview screenings and filmmaking talent joining the festival from around the globe.
"Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks" will feature across cinemas on opening night of the Gold Coast Film Festival. (Image: Ron Taylor)
The 19th annual Gold Coast Film Festival has launched its full program of more than 100 films, pop-up cinemas, red carpet screenings, industry panels and special events, with a selection of the program also available to watch online.
The 12-day event will feature four world premieres, six Australian premieres, nine Queensland premieres, and two exclusive preview screenings across the Gold Coast from Coomera to Coolangatta, alongside Q&As with filmmakers and some of Australia’s leading cast and crew.
Headlining on opening night is the documentary Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks, about Australian icon Valerie Taylor’s extraordinary life as a fearless marine protector and ocean explorer.
The Sundance-selected documentary directed by Sally Aitken and produced by Bettina Dalton follows Taylor’s many up-close-and-personal experience with sharks.
The documentary will be shown at multiple locations, including HOTA Home of the Arts, Birch Carroll & Coyle Coolangatta and Event Cinemas Coomera.
Valerie Taylor said she hopes the Gold Coast Film Festival’s opening night feature may influence others to continue fighting for the conservation of the world’s oceans.
“It was a privilege to work with Sally and Bettina,” said Taylor.
“I commend them for taking interest in my lifelong pursuit of saving our marine life in order to get this message out to the masses.”
Other films set to debut during the festival include the world premieres of This Little Love of Mine, an Australian romantic comedy shot entirely in Far North Queensland; Rhapsody of Love, an Asian-Australian rom-com many are calling the ‘Aussie Crazy Rich Asians’; local horror film House of Inequity from Gold Coaster Josh Hale; and teen series Dive Club, set to screen on Network 10 in Australia and Netflix globally later this year.
The festival line-up also has special preview screenings of J.J. Winlove’s June Again, starring industry icons Noni Hazelhurst, Claudia Karvan, and Stephen Curry; and The United States vs. Billie Holiday on the festival’s closing night. It is directed by Oscar-winner Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) and stars Grammy-nominated musician Andra Day in her Golden Globe-winning role as Billie Holiday.
Gold Coast Film Festival Director Aimée Lindorff said the program includes something for everyone and is a celebration of the industry, inspiring movie fans to return to the cinema and cinema-hopefuls to pursue their passion for the silver screen.
“We have an incredible mix of national and international films and documentaries starring some big names and tackling even bigger story lines,” said Lindorff.
“The prestigious Screen Industry Gala Awards will return at Movie World, where we will celebrate the festival’s award winners and finalists alongside an ‘In Conversation’ with producer Sue Maslin AO (The Dressmaker).
“Pitch In Paradise, the Festival’s new industry market, will also take place over two days with filmmakers invited to pitch their work to production companies, commissioners, and networks, as well as a program of industry panels designed for established and emerging filmmakers alike.”
Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich says the return of the Gold Coast Film Festival is a celebratory moment for the Queensland screen industry in the wake of a challenging past year for productions, live events and festivals.
“The Gold Coast Film Festival is one of the state’s largest film festivals supported by our Screen Culture Funding program and plays a central role in connecting local practitioners, showcasing Queensland-made screen content and creating memorable experiences for filmmakers and film buffs alike,” said Munnich.
“Amid an exciting and extraordinarily diverse program, it’s wonderful to see Screen Queensland supported productions Dive Club and This Little Love of Mine premiering at the festival.”
Special events in the program include Festival favourite SIPFest Short Film Festival at its new home at Burleigh Brewing Co., and a new addition to the pop-up cinemas line up Film at the Footy, with a screening of Gladiator at Cbus Super Stadium as part of a new partnership with Gold Coast Titans.
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said he is also looking forward to sitting down with some popcorn to enjoy the films.
“Movies got many of us through hard lockdown last year and being able to watch films starring and made by talented Queenslanders and Australians is just another great reason to grab your tickets and head along to the Gold Coast’s favourite cinematic celebration,” Tate said.
Most of the premiere showings will take place at HOTA, Home of the Arts, the Gold Coast Film Festival’s home venue, which CEO Criena Gehrke said is the perfect setting to showcase films and documentaries with Surfers Paradise skyline as the backdrop.
“We love rolling out the red carpet for the Gold Coast Film Festival every year,” said Gehrke.
“Showcasing stories of pioneers and rebels, their fierce support for Australian filmmakers, independent cinema and great storytelling really shines through this year’s program and we’re proud that the Festival calls HOTA its home.”
The Gold Coast Film Festival will operate under stringent COVID safety guidelines, providing patrons a safe and comfortable environment to enjoy their favourite films.
The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the City of Gold Coast and Major Events Gold Coast.