Gold Coast Film Festival Unveils Massive 2016 Program

1 March 2016 | 5:05 pm | Staff Writer

Nearly 40 films will screen across the 11 days of this year's 14th annual GCFF

Queensland's own international movie-making hub is readying itself for the 14th annual Gold Coast Film Festival, with organisers today unveiling a massive spread of cinematic attractions from around the world destined to screen at next month's event.

Hailing from 15 countries across the globe, the films include six Australian premieres and seven Queensland premieres, with a total of 38 feature-length films — as well as 14 short flicks at sister event Shorts In Paradise — hitting screens across the city from 31 March.

It'll be a star-studded affair, too, with the early guest list already including high-profile names such as Stephen Page, 2016 Chauvel Award winner Claudia KarvanGracie OttoReg Cribb and celebrated film reviewer David Stratton.

"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, "Festival Director Lucy Fisher said in a statement. "The program is action-packed with 80 screenings, events, seminars and films, offering something for everyone.

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"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."

Leading the charge is Opening Night film Eddie The Eagle, a Sundance favourite that tells the story of British ski jumper Michael Edwards and stars Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken, while Aussie flick A Month Of Sundays will close proceedings at the conclusion of the festival.

The wider spread of films caters to broad tastes, with international cinema getting a solid look-in via The Idol (Palestine), The Second Mother (Brazil), Labyrinth Of Lies (Germany) and Mustang (France/Germany), while fans chasing factual fare can check out Hip Hop-eration (NZ) and Landfill Harmonic (Paraguay) in the Documentary category.

There are plenty of films on offer from independent filmmakers, including the Oz premiere of Stephen Littger's Her Composition (US) and a fresh festival run for Stephen Page's acclaimed local film Spear (along with a Q&A session with Page and cast member Hunter Page-Lochard). Also coming out of the indie pool are the likes of Irish flick Dare To Be Wild, Aussie efforts Drama and Crushed, the national premiere of UK thriller Pressure, US-Norway joint Louder Than Bombs, and Brit drama Hector.

This year's GCFF also tips its hat to horror (ObservanceScare Campaign) and the fantastic (VictoriaThe Brand New Testament & more), as well as giving breathing room to Queensland-bred and youth-focused cinema.

Impressively, every single film selected for screening at this year's fest passes the Bechdel-Wallace test, demonstrating the event's adherence to its Women In Film initiative and its belief in showcasing the work and experiences of females in film. It's a movement the GCFF clearly believes in, even hosting a Women In Film Luncheon on Friday 1 April featuring Gracie Otto as keynote speaker.

Extra encouragingly, this year's film festival is ensuring that everyone is able to participate, with a trio of free community screenings a viable option for families; the 2016 spread includes GhostbustersE.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, and Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone. Additionally, the annual Little Big Shots program is back for another year, and perennial family favourite Babe will be the pick for this year's POP UP Pictures event.

There's an honestly breathtaking amount of screenings, Q&As and other film-related events happening at the Gold Coast Film Festival, running from 31 March to 10 April.

Tickets for all events and films are on sale now via the GCFF's website; head that direction for an exhaustive rundown of everything that's happening on the Coast from the end of the month.