GCFF - Bringing films to life - 17-29 April 2018 GCFF - Bringing films to life - 17-29 April 2018



The Gold Coast Film Festival’s purpose is to bring film to life in a distinctly Gold Coast way for local and visiting audiences and to help grow and support Queensland’s screen industry.


First established in 2002, the Gold Coast Film Festival has achieved over 600% increase in attendance since 2008 while government funding has increased only incrementally.  The shift from a fantasy and sci-fi focus to a broader, international direction in 2014 delivered a strong audience increase and more positive reputation. In 2017, the festival created the city’s first film tourism product – the Gold Coast Movie Locations Tour. The festival was also named as an AACTA-Award qualifying film festival – the only Queensland festival to be included in the list of seven festivals.


The Gold Coast Film Festival brings diverse Australian and International films, filmmakers and film events to the Gold Coast, enhancing the city’s cultural reputation, driving tourism and delivering economic impact to the region.

The Gold Coast Film Festival reinforces our city’s position as one of Australia’s leading filmmaking destinations, by promoting emerging Australian filmmakers and creating educational and professional development opportunities for film industry practitioners

Our distinctive points of difference from other film festivals in Australia are:

  • Discovery and promotion of Queensland (and Australian) independent filmmaking talent
  • One of Australia’s leading festivals in championing gender equality in the film industry
  • Strong Queensland film industry engagement and accessibility of industry guests at the festival
  • Use of uniquely Gold Coast landscapes to bring films to life in special events


The 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival attracted a record attendance of 15,309.  A quarter (25.8%) travelled to the event from outside the Gold Coast region.

The Festival attracts and develop local film professionals, with 16% of our total audience made up of film professionals working in the thriving QLD film industry and a further 10% are film students or emerging filmmakers.


Each year, we bring over 100 guest speakers to the Gold Coast.

Well-known guests to the festival in the past four years include: George Takei, Dolph Lundgren, Luke Hemsworth, Deborah Mailman, Claudia Karvan, Kellan Lutz, Margaret Pomeranz, David Stratton, Isabel Lucas, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Macpherson, Grace Huang, Gracie Otto, John Jarratt, Hunter Page-Lochard.

The festival also brings high profile Australian film industry guests to the Gold Coast, helping to cement the Gold Coast’s reputation as a filmmaking hub and providing valuable learning and networking opportunities to local practitioners. A few of these guests over the past three years include Rob Cowan (San Andreas, Aquaman), Sue Maslin (The Dressmaker), Robert Connelly (Paper Planes, Balibo), Jan Chapman (The Piano, The Daughter), Matthew Saville (Please Like Me, Secret Life of Us) Simon Wincer (Free Willy, The Lighthorsemen), Kirsty Stark (Wastelander Panda, A Month of Sundays), Veronica Fury (Snake Boss, Electric Boogaloo), Trish Lake (Frackman, Gettin’ Square), Reg Cribb (Last Cab to Darwin), David White (Mad Max Fury Road), Christopher Gordon (Lego Batman Daybreakers), Jonathan M Shiff (Mako Mermaids), Brett Thornquest (Infini, Better Watch Out) Philippa Whitfield (Fashion Bloggers, Style Squad) Shane Abbess (Gabriel, Infini) and Anna Broinowski (Please Explain, Forbidden Lie$).



Lucy Fisher | Festival Director/CEO

After 11 years working on public relations strategies for some of the world’s leading tourist attractions and major events in Australia and the UK, Lucy took the reigns of the Gold Coast’s flagship film event, The Gold Coast Film Festival, in June 2015.  In two years as Festival Director, Lucy has doubled the festival’s sponsorship revenue, doubled box office takings and increased attendance to the festival by 21%. In 2016, the festival became the first in Australia to offer free childcare and and in 2017, Lucy developed the city’s first film tourism product – the Gold Coast Movie Locations Tour.  Lucy is a regular panellist on ABC Gold Coast radio’s ‘Spin Doctors’ segment and was a recipient of a City of Gold Coast Women In Leadership Award in 2016. Lucy was appointed to the Executive Committee of WIFT (Women in Film and Television) Australia in June 2017.


Rich Haridy | Festival Programmer

Rich has been working for over a decade in the Australian film industry across a variety of roles. As a film critic, Rich published across numerous mediums from print to radio and was Chair of the Australian Film Critics Association from 2013 to 2015. He also has worked with the Melbourne International Film Festival and Little Big Shots: Australia’s International Film Festival For Kids.  Rich programmed the 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival and returns for 2018.


Isabella Schoonenberg | Festival Coordinator

Isabella began working with the Gold Coast Film Festival as part of a Bond University internship in 2016 and returned as Festival Coordinator in 2017 after graduating Bond University with a Bachelor of Communications (Business). Isabella manages all aspects of festival coordination from marketing and film delivery through to guests and volunteer management. Isabella is an emerging Gold Coast creative worker with a strong interest in marketing and cultural events.


Anthony Tarr | Event Producer

With over 10 years experience within the events industry, ranging from large-scale music festivals to commercial activations and trade fairs, Anthony has had a unique and diverse career to date. Since 2009, he has worked and toured with some of Australia’s biggest music festivals including Stereosonic, Future Music Festival, Summadayze, Parklife, Godskitchen, Kiss My Grass, Sidetracked/F1 Grand Prix, Hot BBQ and helped bring events to life for world-class artists such as Katy Perry, Wolf Mother for MasterCard Presents and Armin Van Burin at Etihad Stadium. Anthony also has a passion for street art, producing the much-acclaimed War of the Walls series of street art battle events in Melbourne. This is Anthony’s first year with the festival and he looks forward to putting his stamp on the event in 2018.


Kylie Pascoe | Chauvel & Industry Engagement Manager
Amanda Thompson | Short Film Coordinator
Samantha Morris | Social Advertising
Wayne Froneman – Xanzoo | Creative Design
Ruby Communications | Publicity






Margot Robbie | Festival Patron


Sue Maslin | Festival Ambassador


David Stratton | Festival Ambassador


Jenny Cooney | Festival Ambassador






Andrea Lewis | Chair


Andrea is the Festival Director of the Somerset Celebration of Literature and has over 20 years’ experience in the events industry both within Australia and overseas. Andrea is co-chair of the Tugun Community Bank and is a panel assessor with the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). As a Gold Coast native, with a passion for culture and arts, Andrea joins the Board in 2017 and is excited by the potential growth opportunities for the film industry on the Gold Coast.


Sue-Anne Chapman | Deputy Chair


Sue-Anne is an established senior arts, tourism, sports and events administrator and manager with over 15 years in executive positions working for a wide range of state and national organisations including the Australian Football League, National Rugby League, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and The Arts Centre Gold Coast. Former executive for over six years with The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Sue-Anne’s attributes and skills, extensive marketing, commercial and artistic strategic acumen saw the Centre’s visitiation grow from 300K to over 700K in five short years.  Sue-Anne is a proven business leader with a dedication to, and passion for, excelling in complex arts and culture industry development and stakeholder management environments. 


Michael Selwyn | Board Member


Michael Selwyn is a very experienced film industry professional having spent over 35 years in distribution, working for several major studios across a broad range of international markets. He is a current Member of the International Chapter of AACTA and his most recent role was as Managing Director, Australia and Vice President Australia/New Zealand for Paramount Pictures, a position that he left in late 2016. He is now working as a Production and Distribution Consultant and looking to continue his involvement with film schools and film festivals. Michael has been on the Board of the Gold Cast Film Festival since 2002.


Ted Cawrey | Board Member


Ted is an extensively experienced lawyer specialising in media, and has worked in the film industry since 1998. As Special Counsel at Blueprint Law, Ted advises on complex financing, corporate matters, content creation and exploitation with a focus on the media sector, for clients that produce, sell, distribute, bond and finance. He was previously Director of Legal and Business Affairs at Ingenious Media and has worked on many films including Slumdog Millionaire, Suffragette, Jungle, Guardians of the Tomb (pka Nest), 2:22, Selma, A United Kingdom and 6 Days.


Brett Thornquest | Board Member


Brett has a 10 year+ history of providing specialist advisory, consulting and financing services to Australian and international film and television productions, government organisations, banks, distributors, sales agents, completion guarantors, US studios and Networks via his Contrarian Group of companies.  Prior to forming the Contrarian Group, Brett began his entertainment industry career with Moneypenny Services, working on the set of multiple film/television projects as a production accountant.  In 2013, Brett was also a founding partner of the Eclectik Vision group, a creative media entertainment company, focusing on the development, financing and production of film and television properties.


Lynne Benzie | Board Member


Lynne Benzie has over 27 years in the film, television and entertainment industry. Her career started in the United Kingdom in Engineering, she then migrated to Australia in 1979 where she developed a very diverse background in the Insurance, Finance, Legal, building and Information Technology industries, which led her to a position with EMI Records in promotion and marketing. Lynne joined Village Roadshow Studios in 1990 as PA to the General Manager of the Studios, after 5 years of being involved in the operations of the Studio Complex she was promoted to Studio Manager, then to Vice President Studios Operations and in January 2008 was promoted to President of the Studios. In her capacity as President of Studios she is responsible for the day to day running and operations of the Studio Complex including, financial planning and marketing the studio facility, travels to U.S.A. twice a year and works closely with Screen Queensland and City of Gold Coast to attract productions in Queensland and lobby governments to increase incentives. Lynne was on the Board of the PFTC for 7 years and was Chair on Film Gold Coast and a committee member for REDAB (Regional Economic & Advisory Board for the film industry) and is currently on the Board of Ausfilm Australia. Bond University – Film and TV advisory board, QUT – CI Faculty Advisory Committee Meeting.


If you are interested in any upcoming board vacancies, please email Sue-Anne Chapman on sue-anne@gcfilmfestival.com 



2017 Gold Coast Film Festival

The Gold Coast Film Festival 2017 attracted a record attendance of 15,309 with over 120 film and film-related events across 13 Gold Coast venues.

The 15th annual Gold Coast Film Festival will screen 32 feature films from 13 countries, including four World premieres, nine Australian premieres and eight Queensland premieres, plus a host of short films, events, panels, and intimate Q&A’s with filmmakers from 19-30 April.

Special guests at the Festival included Deborah Mailman, Sue Maslin, Kellan Lutz, Temuera Morrison, Isabel Lucas, Simon Wincer, Claudia Karvan, Jan Chapman, David Stratton, Tony Barry and more.

The 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival also introduced a city first, the Gold Coast Movie Locations Tour, which saw guests experience a 3-hour journey across the Gold Coast, visiting over 20 films including Kong: Skull Island, The Shallows, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, San Andreas and Muriel’s Wedding.

Explore the 2017 program here.

2016 Gold Coast Film Festival

The Gold Coast Film Festival (GCFF) 2016 attracted a record 14,148 attendees across ten days of film screenings and events, increasing attendance by 12% on the previous year. The small GCFF team curated advance or exclusive screenings of films, enhanced the screening experience through Q&A and film introductions, extended the experience to after parties and complimented them through film related events. There were 6 Australian premieres, 7 Queensland premieres and films featured from 15 countries. Highlights of the festival included:

  • Opening Night Red Carpet Gala screening of Eddie The Eagle, with personal video introduction from Hugh Jackman to the largest opening night audience in GCFF history – 600 people.
  • The prestigious Chauvel Award was revived and secured for the Gold Coast after previously being part of the Brisbane International Film Festival. Recipient Claudia Karvan attended and was interviewed by David Stratton.
  • Comprehensive industry engagement, with 11 REELLIFE panels this year, featuring some of the industry’s most experienced and influential filmmakers and covering relevant and timely subjects, designed to encourage, promote and assist the local QLD film industry.
  • This year, GCFF was one of the leading mainstream film festivals in Australia in addressing the gender imbalance issues in the film industry through our Women in Film initiatives – implementing the Bechdel Test on all films, the introduction of free childcare for selected industry panels, our women in film lunch and delivering on our commitment to women making up 50% of all speakers and panellists at the festival.

Exceptional publicity helped build the festival’s profile nationally, with 281 pieces of media coverage promoting the event and the Gold Coast, including a key TV piece on national ABC TV news on a Sunday evening. The GCFF continues to contribute to the Gold Coast’s cultural reputation and helps to showcase the Gold Coast as a place with a distinct and enviable cultural identity and lifestyle, with 95% of attendees strongly agreeing or agreeing that The Gold Coast Film Festival adds to the appeal of the Gold Coast and 98% of attendees strongly agreeing or agreeing that Local residents should feel proud of The Gold Coast Film Festival.

2015 Gold Coast Film Festival

2015 saw the 13th annual Gold Coast Film Festival hosted by a new venue, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, running from April 9–19 2015, along with various events held in more locations spanning the breadth of the coast from Helensvale to Coolangatta.

New Festival Programmer Mitch Ziems pulled together a stellar program opening with the Cannes nominated film ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’, introduced by renowned Australian Film Critic Margaret Pomeranz. Australian premieres including the William H Macy directorial debut ‘Rudderless’ and the Australian horror ‘Fear of Darkness’. Closing the festival was Alex Garland’s sci fi film, nominated over 50 times around the film festival circuit, ‘Ex Machina’.

A special 30th Anniversary screening of ‘Back to the Future’ was a crowd favourite, with Christopher Lloyd as a special guest, as well as the infamous Delorean car.

Special Q&A Screenings included ‘To Be Takai’ with George Takai taking questions, and the action film ‘Skin Trade’ with star Dolph Lundgren, and the Australian Sci Fi film ‘Infini’, with a Q&A with filmmakers, and stars Luke Hemsworth and Daniel McPherson.

As well as some first class films screening at the festival, 2015 saw a special performance by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, performing movie masterpieces. The Film Inspired ART exhibition in Broadbeach as well as the popular Movie Trivia Night was a hit with festivalgoers.

2015 also saw the Inaugural Women in Film Luncheon, with special guests Margaret Pomeranz and Phillippa Whitfield-Pomeranz.

As is always a special feature of the film festival, there were Seminars and Workshops for high school students, to emerging filmmakers and film buffs alike, with the Future Filmmakers, Making Filmmakers and the REELLIFE Seminars. Many of the guests had their films screening at the festival, including Infini, and Frackman. Other guests included Robert Connolly, Jim Dodd from the Lego movie, Trish Lake and other industry professionals.

The 2015 Gold Coast Festival saw it’s most successful year to date, with 12,600 people attended festival – increase in film attendance by 178% on 2014 figures.

2014 Gold Coast Film Festival

The 2014 Gold Coast Film Festival ran from April 3–13 at Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinemas, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach, with various events held in other locations.

The festival program included a range of national and international films, including genre features, dramas, foreign films, pop-culture films and horror, as well as the festival’s Cool Japan and Queensland Showcase strands.

The 12th year of the Gold Coast Film Festival was re- visioned with a ten-day program with film genres from family films, Japanese Anime, drama, comedy and locally produced Indie films. Festival Director Kylie Pascoe said that 2014 marked a new beginning “ 2014 is the beginning of a new era for the Gold Coast Film Festival and I am incredibly excited by the potential for 2015 and beyond.”

The festival opening night started with an international Wes Anderson film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ which was a critics favourite at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014.

The Festival showcased 40 feature films including three world premieres including ‘Polygon’ with a Q&A with Director Kimberley Joseph. 15 Australian premieres including the Closing Night cult horror film ‘The Babadook’, ‘The Cure’ and ‘Canopy’, and four Queensland premiers and featured a horror movie marathon, which ran until midnight. The special guest list included John Jarratt, Temuera Morrison, Ian Collie, David Gould and various other professionals in the film industry. And with the pop culture partnership with Supanova, special voiceover guest John DiMaggio attended the event following Q&A after the premiere of ‘I know that Voice’.

Free film industry seminars included the inaugural REELLIFE program, featuring guest speakers Ian Collie (Saving Mr Banks & Rake), Director Brad Peyton (San Andreas), Richard Becker (Becker Film Group) among others. Future Filmmakers also ran this year for high school students, with special guest John Jarratt (Wolf Creek).

A year of firsts, it was also the inaugural Movie Trivia Night with ABC Gold Coast, and a Grease Sing-a-long as part of the free community screenings.

2013 Gold Coast Film Festival

The 11th annual Gold Coast Film Festival in 2013 ran from April 18–18 at the new venue, Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinemas, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach, with various events held in other locations.

The festival saw some award winning films featured, including Evil Dead, History of Future Folk, Sushi Girl, Welcome to the Punch and the Cannes nominated Antiviral and the award winning Australian film Crave. The festival program included a range of foreign films, with a Turkish program, Cool Japan and Queensland Showcase.

In partnership with Supanova and QPOW, the festival featured guests Tony Todd (Candyman) and Noah Hathaway; who attended a special community screening of Neverending Story.

A special feature of the Gold Coast Film Festival are the free film industry seminars and panels, including Future Filmmakers for high school students, and the Inaugural Pitch in Paradise competition.


The Gold Coast boasts a heritage of filmmaking, with international filmmaking introduced to the city in the late 1980’s. Fast-forward to 2017 and in the past year, major international films Pirates of the Caribbean and Thor: Rangarok have chosen the Gold Coast’s incredible locations and highly competent crew to shoot their multi-million dollar films. US productions that have chosen to shoot on the Gold Coast have a combined production budget of AU$1.7 billion alone. As the city’s flagship film event we aim to enhance the reputation of the city as one of Australia’s major filmmaking hubs. Village Roadshow Studios is a big drawcard in attracting international production to the city.  The studios offer world class film production facilities comprising of eight sound stages, three water tanks, ten production offices, editing suites, wardrobe, makeup, construction, paint and carpentry shops. Equally, the incredibly diverse range of film locations on the Gold Coast means everything from swaps to city scenes, waterfalls to beaches can be shot here. Local production is also healthy, with a steady stream of productions shooting on the Gold Coast, including in the past year, Jungle and Swinging Safari.  

Some of the recent productions on the Gold Coast include:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Thor: Ragnarok
Kong: Skull Island
The Shallows
The Age of Adaline
San Andreas
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader            

Screen Queensland supports film development and production and investment in Queensland. Find out more here.
More information about the City of Gold Coast film incentives and locations can be found on the More Gold Coast Film page.


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