GCFF 2021

Valerie Taylor in Playing with Sharks.

Queensland’s biggest celebration of cinema is set to be one to remember in 2021, with the Gold Coast Film Festival announcing its eagerly awaited program after a year-long hiatus.

The line-up showcases brand new World and Australian premieres, exclusive preview screenings, and filmmaking talent hailing from Australia and around the globe, taking over the Gold Coast from April 14 to 25.

The 19th annual Gold Coast Film Festival has today launched its full program, with an impressive line-up of more than 100 exciting films, pop-up cinemas, red carpet screenings, industry panels, and special events with a selection of the program also available to watch online.

The 12-day event will feature four World premieres, six Australian premieres, nine Queensland premieres, and two exclusive preview screenings across the Gold Coast from Coomera to Coolangatta, alongside Q&As with filmmakers and some of Australia’s leading cast and crew.

Headlining on Opening Night is the illuminating and captivating documentary Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks, which shines the spotlight on Australian icon Valerie Taylor’s extraordinary life as a fearless marine protector and ocean explorer whose up-close-and-personal experience with sharks is unparalleled.

The red carpet will be rolled out at multiple locations for the screening including at HOTA Home of the Arts, Birch Carroll & Coyle Coolangatta, and Event Cinemas Coomera, to celebrate the Sundance-selected documentary directed by Sally Aitken and produced by Bettina Dalton.

Valerie Taylor says she is honoured the documentary about her life’s work is the Gold Coast Film Festival’s Opening Night feature and hopes it may influence others to continue fighting for conservation of the world’s oceans.

“It was a privilege to work with Sally and Bettina,” says Ms Taylor. “I commend them for taking interest in my lifelong pursuit of saving our marine life in order to get this message out to the masses.”

This Little Love of Mine.

Other films set to debut during the festival include the World premieres of This Little Love of Mine, an Australian romantic comedy shot entirely in Far North Queensland; Rhapsody of Love, an Asian-Australian rom-com many are calling the ‘Aussie Crazy Rich Asians’; local horror film House of Inequity from Gold Coaster Josh Hale; and teen series Dive Club, set to screen on Network 10 in Australia and Netflix globally later this year.

The festival line-up also boasts never-before-seen special preview screenings of J.J. Winlove’s June Again starring industry icons Noni Hazelhurst, Claudia Karvan, and Stephen Curry; and The United States vs. Billie Holiday on the festival’s Closing Night, directed by Oscar-winner Lee Daniels (The Butler; Precious) and starring Grammy-nominated musician Andra Day in her Golden Globe-winning role as Billie Holiday.

Claudia Karvan, Noni Hazlehurst and Stephen Curry in June Again.

Gold Coast Film Festival Director Aimée Lindorff says this year’s program includes something for everyone and is a celebration of the industry, inspiring movie fans to return to the cinema and cinema-hopefuls to pursue their passion for the silver screen.

“We have an incredible mix of national and international films and documentaries starring some big names and tackling even bigger story lines,” says Ms Lindorff.

“The prestigious Screen Industry Gala Awards will return at Movie World, where we will celebrate the Festival’s award winners and finalists alongside an In Conversation with producer Sue Maslin AO (The Dressmaker).

AO (The Dressmaker). “Pitch In Paradise, the Festival’s new industry market, will also take place over two days with filmmakers invited to pitch their work to production companies, commissioners, and networks, as well as a program of industry panels designed for established and emerging filmmakers alike.”

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich says the return of the Gold Coast Film Festival is a celebratory moment for the Queensland screen industry in the wake of a challenging past year for productions, live events, and festivals.

Dive Club.

“The Gold Coast Film Festival is one of the state’s largest film festivals supported by our Screen Culture Funding program and plays a central role in connecting local practitioners, showcasing Queensland-made screen content and creating memorable experiences for filmmakers and film buffs alike,” says Ms Munnich.

“Amid an exciting and extraordinarily diverse program, it’s wonderful to see Screen Queensland-supported productions Dive Club and This Little Love of Mine premiering at the Festival. We wish Festival Director Aimée Lindorff all the best for her inaugural Gold Coast Film Festival, which we know will attract cinema lovers in their thousands over the 12-day event.”

Special events in the program include Festival favourite SIPFest Short Film Festival at its new home at Burleigh Brewing Co., and a new addition to the pop-up cinemas line up Film at the Footy, with a screening of Gladiator at Cbus Super Stadium as part of a new partnership with Gold Coast Titans.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says he is also looking forward to sitting down with popcorn in hand to enjoy the films on offer.

Rhapsody of Love.

“Movies got many of us through hard lockdown last year and being able to watch films starring and made by talented Queenslanders and Australians is just another great reason to grab your tickets and head along to the Gold Coast’s favourite cinematic celebration.” Most of the premiere showings will take place at HOTA, Home of the Arts, the Gold Coast Film Festival’s home venue, which CEO Criena Gehrke says is the perfect setting to showcase films and documentaries with Surfers Paradise skyline as the backdrop.

“We love rolling out the red carpet for the Gold Coast Film Festival every year,” says Ms Gehrke. “Showcasing stories of pioneers and rebels, their fierce support for Australian filmmakers, independent cinema and great storytelling really shines through this year’s program and we’re proud that the Festival calls HOTA its home.”

The Gold Coast Film Festival will operate under stringent COVID safety guidelines, providing patrons a safe and comfortable environment to enjoy their favourite films. The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the City of Gold Coast and Major Events Gold Coast.

To view the full program and purchase tickets visit http://www.gcfilmfestival.com