GCFF opens feature film submissions for first time in 15-year history, plus special screenings announced and entries open for 2017 SIPFest

Entries are now being accepted for the 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival and SIPFest, otherwise known as the Shorts in Paradise Festival.

SIPFEST short films will be judged by a panel of film industry experts and 12 of the best shorts from across Australia will be screened on the iconic Surfers Paradise beach on Sunday 23 April 2017 and awarded $8000 in cash prizes.

International programmer for the London Short Film Festival, Thomas Grimshaw, has been secured to join SIPFest’s Jury. Mr Grimshaw will be joined by highly respected industry members including Screen Queensland’s VP – Development & Production, Kasie Moore (Screen Queensland is a proud sponsor of the GCFF), Nadine Bates, creative director at Like A Photon Creative and Sophie Mathisen, president of WIFT (Women in Film and TV NSW) and festival director of WOWFF (World of Women Film Festival).

SIPFest is the Gold Coast’s biggest short film festival and is produced as a long-term collaboration between Surfers Paradise Alliance and the Gold Coast Film Festival.

In 2017, the event will showcase some of the best screenings from the London Short Film Festival. Known as the premiere UK showcase for cutting-edge UK independent film, the London Short Film Festival will screen in Australia for the first time with a 90-minute program at the Gold Coast event on Monday 24 April.

Gold Coast Film Festival Director Lucy Fisher said SIPFest is a platform to showcase talented Australian short filmmaking, and the opportunity to share films from one of the world’s largest short film festivals will be a fantastic addition.

“The $8000 cash prizes are brilliant for short filmmakers to use to help fund their next project or just to pay rent, but this year we’re excited that SIPFEST offers genuine pathways to further exposure for Australian filmmakers,” she said.

“SIPFest entrants will have the opportunity to have their film seen by the programmers of Australia’s leading film festival in showcasing the work of women filmmakers, WOWFF, and one of the best short film festivals in the world – the London Short Film Festival.
“We are thrilled to be able to screen shorts from the London Short Film Festival at SIPFest next year.”

Mike Winlaw, CEO, Surfers Paradise Alliance said SIPFEST had grown since its inception five years ago to become a truly unique beachfront event.

“SIPFEST is an exciting event that has become one of the highlights of our diverse schedule of activities held across the beachfront precinct of Surfers Paradise every year.”

“We’re pleased to work with the Gold Coast Film Festival and introduce a new award category for best film showcasing the people and places of Surfers Paradise. As the tourism engine room for the city, there are many untold stories about the people within our precinct.  Where better to see their stories on screen than right here in Surfers Paradise, in the relaxed outdoor cinema environment of SIPFEST.”

For the first time in the festival’s 15-year history, submissions are also being accepted for feature films to screen at the 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival.

This year, the festival showcased some of the best Australian indie films of 2016, including the Australian Premiere of Drama, directed by Sophie Mathisen and Queensland Premieres of Girl Asleep directed by Rosemary Myers, Broke directed by Heath Davis and Crushed directed by Megan Riakos.

The festival also screened the Queensland Premiere of Australian thriller Observance, directed by Joseph Sims-Dennett, which earlier this year also premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival and London Film Festival.

The 14th annual Gold Coast Film Festival was action-packed this year, screening 38 films from 15 countries, featuring six Australian premieres and seven Queensland premieres, plus a host of industry panels, events and workshops with some of the industry’s best, including distinguished writer Reg Cribb, producer Trish Lake and multi-talented Australian actor, writer, producer and co-founder of all-female production company The Dollhouse Pictures, Gracie Otto.

This year, the Gold Coast Film Festival also reinvigorated the Chauvel Award, a prestigious industry award previously part of the Brisbane International Film Festival, awarding Australian actress Claudia Karvan as the 2016 recipient.
The Chauvel Award will return in 2017, with six of Australia’s most respected film industry members returning to the 2016 Chauvel Award committee. The committee includes Jan Chapman, producer of the AFI Best Film winner, Lantana and Academy Award® winner The Piano and 2002 Chauvel Award recipient, actor and producer Alan Finney. Australian film critic and TV personality David Stratton, major festival sponsor Screen Queensland’s CEO Tracey Vieira and Professor Emeritus Bruce Molloy will be part of the esteemed 2017 Chauvel Committee.

Film lovers, aspiring filmmakers, families and students from around Australia will be spoilt for choice at the 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival, which will see more than 75 film and film-related events take place across the city from 19 – 30 of April.

Entries for the 2017 SIPFest close 18 February. Short film entries must be under 10 minutes and produced in the last two years. SIPFest winners have the opportunity to be awarded $8,000 in cash prizes.

Categories and prizes include:

  • Best Film: $3000
  • Runner up Best Film: $1000
  • People’s Choice: $1000
  • Best Film by a Gold Coast resident: $500
  • Best film showcasing Surfers Paradise $500
  • Best Screenplay: $1000
  • Best Actor: $500
  • Best Actress: $500
  • Best Cinematography – 12 month membership to Australian Cinematographer’s Society

Submissions for the Gold Coast Film Festival feature films open 1 December and close 18 February. Australian indie filmmakers are highly encouraged to submit.
To enter please visit https://filmfreeway.com/festival/GoldCoastFilmFestival and for more information about SIPFest and the Gold Coast Film Festival please visit www.gcfilmfestival.com

For further media information or images, please contact Lucy Fisher on