Every Australian film screening at Screenwave International Film Festival

Television Event will screen at SWIFF 22.

Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) has unveiled its 2022 program, bringing over 130 sessions and exclusive events to the Coffs Harbour region over 16 jam-packed days, from Thursday 21st April to Friday 6th May, 2022. 

Building on the success of its 2021 Festival, SWIFF has cemented itself on the Australian film festival circuit as a largescale regional film festival. In addition to hosting over 80 different feature films in its 2022 film line-up, SWIFF’22 is looking to break its attendance record again with the addition of its new Storyland music festival to the line-up, taking place on Saturday 23rd April at Park Beach Reserve, headlined by Courtney Barnett and Hiatus Kaiyote. 

In 2022, the SWIFF program will comprise a line-up of the very best in new Australian films, including winner of the AWGIE Award from the Australian Writer’s Guild, Ablaze, directed by Alec Morgan and Tiriki Onus and Ithaka the story of John Shipton, father of imprisoned Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in his fight to save his son. John Shipton, Gabriel Shipton and director Ben Lawrence are guests of the Festival. 

Here’s your complete list of Australian films screening during the festival.

When Pomegranates Howl will screen at SWIFF 22.

SWIFF runs Thursday 21st April – Friday 6th May 2022. Click here for tickets and other details about Screenwave International Film Festival.


Directed by Alec Morgan and Tiriki Onus

Opera singer Tikiri Onus finds a suitcase of his grandfather’s, Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri man from Victoria.

The seemingly lost photos and film reel that emerge piece together a portrait of an unsung hero that changed the course of Australian history, unearthing a cultural and political figure that sparked a civil rights movement in 1940s Australia.

Helping to shift the national attitude towards Aboriginal peoples, through film, performance, culture and against insurmountable odds, Bill Onus drove a passionate and extensive campaign for equal rights, and for the revival of Aboriginal culture in Australia.

Through rare archival footage mixed with new animation, Ablaze captures eye-witness accounts to tell the story of one of Australia’s great unsung heroes.

The Bowraville Murders

Directed by Allan Clarke

Justice. Families and their communities have been waiting for 30 years to have answers about what happened to their missing and murdered children. It’s a tragic story that has made the rural NSW town of Bowraville, an hour’s drive from Coffs Harbour, infamous, overshadowing the community’s reputation as a quaint farming village.

With the lead suspect living amongst the community, the Gumbaynggirr parents of the murdered children go unheard by the police, with systemic racism blamed for their inaction.

It’s a true crime story that locals know well, but director Allan Clarke, for the first time, expertly formulates new information, a concise timeline, and paints a gripping and human portrait of one of Australia’s greatest personal miscarriages of justice to date.

Carbon: The Unauthorised Biography

Directed by Daniella Ortega and Niobe Thompson

Narrated in first person by Golden Globe winner Sarah Snook (Succession), Carbon is an entertaining and surprisingly unorthodox documentary that reveals the paradoxical story of the element that builds all life, and yet may end it all.

Told from birth in the violent core of an exploding star and of turbulent sagas through the fabric of our evolving Earth, Carbon’s story is accompanied by celebrated scientists, unique animations and a stunning orchestral score, reminding us all of our humble participation in the most extraordinary story in the universe.

SWIFF invites both local and travelling schools, as well as the general public, to this screening of Carbon – with special guest speakers.

The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson

Directed by Leah Purcell

Leah Purcell (LantanaJindabyne) writes, directs, and stars in this clear-eyed reimagining of Henry Lawson’s classic tale.

Having carved out a home in the sweeping landscapes of the remote Snowy Mountains, the heavily pregnant Molly Johnson protects her children and her property with a fierce intensity, awaiting the return of her drover husband. When Yakada (Rob Collins), a fugitive Indigenous man arrives at Molly’s homestead unannounced, she meets him with hostility. Navigating this stranger who carries a clue to her past, and the unwelcome attention of local law enforcement drawn by her husband’s extended absence, Molly is driven to do what it takes to keep her family safe.

Friends and Strangers

Directed by James Vaughan

A wry take on contemporary solipsism, this celebrated Aussie slacker satire proved a big hit at Rotterdam and New York festivals.

Sydney twenty-somethings Ray (Fergus Wilson), a self-absorbed videographer and Alice (Emma Diaz), a similarly apathetic acquaintance, lack very little in life – and maybe that’s their biggest problem. Told through vignettes, the two drift in and out of one other orbits, beset by alternately bizarre and poignant encounters.

Skewering Australian culture with a confidently unrestrained bite, James Vaughan’s pithy, often hilarious, take on contemporary millennialism, is by turns both a poetic cinema mediation and a laugh-out-loud absurdist comedy of manners.


Directed by Emma Macey-Storch

This moving, true story of an acid attack survivor’s fight to create a better future for her daughters is an inspiring and powerful call-to-action.

After surviving a malicious acid attack at the hands of her husband, leaving both Geeta and her daughters badly injured, both women are left to grapple with poverty and social ostracism. But they have also joined a burgeoning social justice movement working to end violence against women, catapulting Geeta onto a global stage, as co-founder of a local activist movement Sheroes, and in her fight for law reform and justice.

Both a personal tale of a mother fighting for her daughter’s destiny and a powerful call to action against domestic violence – Geeta and her daughter Neetu share their courageous story with award-winning Australian director, Emma Macey-Storch.


Directed by Ben Lawrence

Now incarcerated amongst London’s most infamous murderers and rapists in notorious Belmarsh Prison, Julian Assange’s story has continued beyond Wikileaks, beyond exposing US war crimes, and beyond safe harbour in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Assange’s father and brother, John Shipton and Gabriel Shipton, are in a new David versus Goliath bid to bring Assange back to Australia, ceasing the US Government’s continued war of attrition to extradite Assange to US soil.

John and Gabriel show a new side of Assange in Ithaka, a human side, as an imprisoned journalist for outing war crimes. Award-winning director Ben Lawrence (Hearts and Bones, SWIFF’20, Ghosthunter, SWIFF’19), gains incredible access with an expansive list of interviewees including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, as well as Daniel Ellsberg – the journalist the came under US government scrutiny for releasing the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.


Directed by Ivan Sen

Visionary filmmaker Ivan Sen (Mystery RoadBeneath Clouds) re-envisions a kaleidoscopic future Hong Kong in mesmerising sci-fi romance, Loveland.

In a futuristic Hong Kong, assassin Jack (Ryan Kwanten) crosses paths with a nightclub singer, April (Jillian Nguyen, True History of the Kelly Gang, SWIFF’20). As the net that connects them tightens, Jack finds his body mysteriously deteriorating. Tracking down reclusive life extension scientist Doctor Bergman (Hugo Weaving) in a search for answers, secrets become unburied, and the past must be confronted.

In the tradition of the great neon-soaked romances of Wong Kar Wai, Ivan Sen cements his personal touch in this moving science fiction, with rich big screen imagery inviting us to dive into a loveless world on the cusp on immortality and extinction.


Directed by Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizeti

The spiritual successor to Mountain (SWIFF’18), Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizeti’s new love letter to planet earth’s aquatic arteries is a meditative, awe-inspiring cinematic feast made for the big screen.

With hypnotic, poetic narration by Willem Dafoe, River dually celebrates the majesty and heightens the vulnerability of the world’s great river systems, featuring a score by Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Richard Tognetti, with music also by Radiohead, Johnny Greenwood, and one of Australia’s most celebrated didgeridoo players, William Barton.

With stunning visuals captured by a team of five cinematographers across the planet, to watch River as a big screen spectacle is to be entranced, raptured, enlightened, and awed.

Television Event

Directed by Jeff Daniels

What would nuclear war look like on the American heartland?

At the height of the Cold War, an event took place that would be unrepeatable today – the most watched television program in American history. Over 100 million Americans tuned in to see made-for-TV movie The Day After – a fictionalised but realistic feature film depitction of what nuclear holocaust would look like in the 1980s America. Nothing had ever been seen like it before, and The Day After captured the America public with such fervour that even President Ronald Reagan tuned in to the film at Camp David.

Television Event director Jeff Daniels gains deep access to archival footage and new interviews outing the behind-the-scenes battles to air America’s most watched television event in history.

Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow

Directed by Philippa Bateman

A loving portrait of two of Australia’s great artists and companions: Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter. A story in song about love, loss, and the redemptive power of Country and music.

In 2004, Ruby and Archie worked with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra to create the seminal concert Kura Tungar: Songs from the River. Winning a Helpmann Award, the concert blends spoken and sung accounts from the lives of two members of the Stolen Generation – who found one another. Working with Roach himself, director/producer Phillippa Bateman (Jindabyne) combines footage from interviews, rehearsals, and opening night with breathtaking images of Ngarrindjeri Country.

When Pomegranates Howl

Directed by Granaz Moussavi

The second feature by the acclaimed Iranian-Australian poet and filmmaker, Granaz Moussavi presents a picture of Kabul rarely seen, through the eyes of a street-smart young boy working to support his family.

Nine-year-old Hewad is the breadwinner of his family, energetically hustling everything from pomegranate juice to amulets warding off the evil eye. Determined to become movie star, things look hopeful when Hewad meets an Australian photographer.

But in a city where it is easy to be ‘martyred,’ the streets are as perilous as they are vibrant.

In the tradition of the great child-centred works of Kiarostami and Amir Naderi (to whom the film is dedicated) this affecting slice-of-life tale, based on real events, is brought to life by exceptional performances, and evocative images.



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