GCFF - Bringing films to life - 14-25 April 2021 GCFF - Bringing films to life - 14-25 April 2021


Submissions for the 2021 Gold Coast Film Festival will open in November.

If you’ve put blood, sweat, tears and money into your feature film, screenplay, short film or web series, now is the time to build your profile and find audiences.

The Gold Coast Film Festival brings diverse Australian and International films, filmmakers and film events to the Gold Coast.

In 2017, Gold Coast Film Festival became an AACTA-Award qualifying film festivals for feature films.

Our location is one with a heritage of filmmaking, with international filmmaking introduced on the Gold Coast in the late 1980’s. Fast-forward to 2019 and major international films Unbroken, Pirates of the Caribbean, Thor: Rangarok, Dora The Explorer and Aquaman have chosen the Gold Coast’s incredible locations and highly competent crew to shoot their multi-million dollar films.

The 18th annual Gold Coast Film Festival will run from 14-25 April 2021 bringing 100+ films and film events to life across the Gold Coast.


We accept feature films, short films and web series, from Australia and around the world, and feature film scripts from Queensland-based writers.


We are an AACTA-Award qualifying film festival for feature films.

In 2021, we’ll be awarding our fifth Blackmagic Design Best Australian Indie Film Award, open to all Australian independent films. The winner will receive $4,000+ in camera equipment thanks to Blackmagic Design!

We’ll also be awarding the Best Australian Film Award open to all Australian features.

For international filmmakers, all “Official Selection” films will be paid a screening fee.


$8,000 up for grabs in seven categories of SIPFEST, thanks to Surfers Paradise Alliance.

  • Best Australian Film: $3000
  • Runner up Best Australian Film: $1000
  • Best International Film: $500
  • People’s Choice (voted for by the audience on the night): $1000
  • Best Film by a Gold Coast resident: $1000
  • Best Screenplay: $1000
  • Best Actor (male or female): $500
  • Best Australian Web Series – $500 cash prize
  • Best International Web Series

The Queensland Screenwriting Award will be awarded to a Queensland-based screenwriter with $5,000 cash for 1st place, $500 for 2nd and 3rd place, thanks to The Heaton Group, and the opportunity to participate in a live script read with actors during the 2020 Gold Coast Film Festival.


* AACTA-Award Qualifying Film Festival for Features
* We look after indie filmmakers and will try wherever possible to fly selected cast/crew in and accommodate you.
* Dedicated award/prize categories for Australian features, shorts, scripts and web series
* You can take part in professional development through relevant, useful and engaging Q&As, panels and workshops – in 2019, we offered industry events with more than 150 guest speakers, panellists or moderators
* Opportunities to make valuable connections with Queensland, national and international industry guests
* SIPFEST offers some great cash prizes – $8000 across 7 categories
* Blackmagic Design Best Australian Indie Film Award – Blackmagic Design camera equipment valued at over $4,000+, open to independent Australian features
* PKF Best Australian Feature Film open to all Australian features
* $5000 cash prize for Queensland Screenwriting Award winner and $500 to 2nd and 3rd place winners, plus the opportunity to participate in a live script read at the 2020 Gold Coast Film Festival
* $500 cash prize for Best Australian Webseries

We highly encourage entries from independent filmmakers and films with creative leads from under-represented backgrounds. We deliver a program that supports equality with a commitment to having 50% women speakers across the festival, all films rated by the Bechdel Test and Australia’s first film festival childcare offering.

If you would like to speak to any filmmakers who have screened at GCFF in the past, please let us know – we’d be happy to put you in touch.


We only accept submissions digitally through FilmFreeway, not on physical media (DVD/hard drive). For submission guidelines for each category, head to Film Freeway.

Even if you don’t have a film to submit to Gold Coast Film Festival this year, attending the festival is a fantastic way to acquire valuable experience and knowledge, meet collaborators, learn from experts and get inspired!  Our REELLIFE seminars and panels present varied topics and are intimate to ensure you get a chance to chat with the speakers.

But don’t take it from us, this is what some of our past filmmaker guests had to say:

“The Gold Coast Film Festival is welcoming and totally unpretentious – a great Australian film festival”   

Reg Cribb


“Great films, special guest seminars, retrospectives and parties! Gold Coast Film Festival is the number one genre event in Australia and you need to pay attention to what’s being discovered here.”

Joseph Sims-Dennett

Writer/Director, OBSERVANCE

“SIPFEST is an amazing short film festival and I highly recommend it to filmmakers everywhere! The entry process was so simple and easy to navigate and the team at SIPFEST were wonderfully supportive and made the entire process fun and stress-free. The cast and crew of überRICH had an awesome time at SIPFEST. It was great to mingle with fellow creatives and passionate filmmakers. It was such a treat to share our short film with a great audience and what a way to do it – on the beach of Surfers Paradise under the stars! Thank you SIPFEST for having us! It was an incredible honour and such a privilege to be able to showcase our film on the Gold Coast at your amazing film festival! SIPFEST has truly been one of the best film festivals we’ve had the privilege of being a part of.”   

Christine Milo

Writer/Director, UBERRICH (People’s Choice and Best Gold Coast Film – SIPFest 2017)

Ready to submit your project?

Entries are now open through Film Freeway!
Regular deadline for submissions is January 5, late deadline February 2, 2020.



Nominations are open for screen businesses and individuals for two new award categories: Queensland Screen Business of the Year and Gold Coast Screen Professional of the Year. 

Queensland Screen Business of the Year

  • Awarded for outstanding achievements in 2019
  • Nominations are open to any business operating in or serving the screen industry (eg screen content producers, facilities/crew/film services)
  • Nominees primary place of business/operating must be in Queensland
  • There is no entry fee to nominate
  • Nominations may be self-nominated or nominated by another individual/business

Gold Coast Screen Professional of the Year

  • Awarded for outstanding individual achievements in 2019
  • Nominations are open to any credited screen industry professional (producers/creatives/HODs/crew/performers)
  • Nominees primary place of residence must be within City of Gold Coast
  • There is no entry fee to nominate
  • Nominations may be self-nominated or nominated by another individual/business

Nominations close 10pm, February 2, 2020. Finalist announced March 10th.

Award winners will be announced at the Gold Coast Film Festival’s prestigious Screen Industry Gala Awards on April 16 at Movieworld. 


  • Nominations must be received by 10pm, February 2nd, 2020
  • Nominations must be received via the submission form on the Gold Coast Film Festival website (gcfilmfestival.com/industryawards). Please note: you will receive a confirmation email once submitted. If you do not receive this, your nomination has not been received.
  • Nominations must include: name, contact details and 250 words highlighting your achievements during the period 1 January – 31 December 2019.
    • Achievements can include: completed projects, project announcements, promotions, increases in business size or investment, invitations to speak at events/festivals, distribution of content, award nominations/wins, board/leadership appointments or new innovations.

Terms & Conditions

  • Nominations will be assessed by a panel of industry experts who will determine finalists and a winner for each category
  • Judging Panels for each award are selected at the sole discretion of GCFF and will be published on our website
  • GCFF reserves the right to exercise discretion in matters relating to the Awards including to reject a nomination, to determine the number of finalists and to decide to cancel the award and/or event.
  • Any decision regarding nominations, winners or any other matter regarding the Awards that is approved by GCFF shall be final
  • Please note that GCFF is unable to provide feedback on nominations or the decision-making process, due to the volume of nominations and the time constraints in judging.


  • Nominations must be received by 10pm, 2ndFebruary 2020
  • The finalists will be contacted and published in the GCFF Program and Website 10thMarch 2020
  • The winner will be announced at the Screen Industry Gala Awards on Thursday 16thApril 2020

Nominations are now open!

Nominations for Queensland Screen Business of the Year and Gold Coast Screen Professional of the Year are now open. Follow the link below for criteria and to nominate.


Sign up to our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date with the Gold Coast Film Festival.

Your ticket will be emailed after the program announcement on March 10.