Business & invest,
Industry sectors

Gold Coast film festival’s 2021 program

Gold Coast Film Festival 2021

May 3, 2021

Grab the popcorn and settle in because queensland’s biggest celebration of cinema has finally arrived, with Gold Coast film festival opening night kicking off wednesday 14 April!


The 12-day affair has a line-up to remember, showcasing four World premieres, six Australian premieres, nine Queensland premieres, and two exclusive preview screenings across the Gold Coast.




Wednesday 14 April, from 6pm HOTA (invite only), 7pm screening at Coomera and Coolangatta

An illuminating and captivating documentary that shines the spotlight on Australian icon Valerie Taylor: pioneering marine conservationist and ocean explorer. Officially selected for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks is a feature documentary from director Sally Aitken and producer Bettina Dalton.

The extraordinary life story of scuba diver, Valerie Taylor, a fearless marine protector whose knowledge of the oceans and personal up-close experience with sharks is unparalleled. This powerful and visually spectacular feature documentary draws on decades of amazing re-mastered film footage and interviews with world-famous faces. Valerie Taylor and her husband Ron became globally renowned marine conservationists, filmed live shark footage for Spielberg’s classic blockbuster Jaws and advocated for (and secured) a marine conservation park in the North Neptune Islands of South Australia affording a restricted access and a sanctuary zone for the White Sharks and other vulnerable species in the area.

Interweaving interviews and insights from diving legends, scientists and the leading lady, Valerie Taylor, this breath-taking documentary assembles astonishing archival footage and pays tribute to an incredible woman and an extraordinary life.

Valerie Taylor, director Sally Aitken and producer Bettina Dalton will be in attendance for a Q&A at HOTA.



Friday 16th April, 7pm HOTA

A charming romantic comedy with winning performances by leads Saskia Hampele (The Heights) and Liam McIntyre (Spartacus). Beautifully filmed and refreshingly sincere, This Little love of Mine was shot entirely in FNQ in 2020 and is the debut feature from Christine Luby.

Laura Price is a successful San Francisco lawyer on the cusp of promotion-a far cry from her childhood growing up on a tropical island with best friends Chip and Gem. When the firm’s biggest client-Chip’s grandfather-asks Laura to travel to the island and deliver a contract to make Chip his heir, she leaves behind her practice and fiancé Owen, to convince her childhood friend to sign a contract that will make him a billionaire. As Chip and Laura grow closer, she questions whether she is engaged to the right man or if she belongs back on the island with her childhood sweetheart.

Great chemistry and gorgeous scenery make this a super delightful romantic comedy. Join the film’s cast and crew on the red carpet and for a Q&A after the film.



Saturday 17 April, 6pm HOTA/Thursday 22 April, 2.30pm BCC Coolangatta

June Again is a heartfelt drama about re-uniting and re-connecting with family. This debut feature film from J.J Winlove casts an authentic eye on the meaning of relationships and the importance of the ones we love and stars Noni Hazlehurst, Claudia Karvan and Stephen Curry.

June (Hazlehurst) is living in a care facility and frequently visited by family and friends. Her days roll by as a blur of memories and snapshot moments, until one morning she wakes up and has a rare flash of lucidity. June can communicate capably, recognise her family and friends and identify numerous everyday objects. Convinced she is in the wrong place; June sets about escaping and re-connecting with her family. However, all is not as it seems, and a great deal has changed in five years. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film on Saturday 17 April at HOTA.



Saturday 24 April, 5.45pm HOTA

Romance, work & life all collide when an events planner & a wedding photographer meet and ignite sparks in this “Crazy – Middle-class – Asians” romantic comedy.

Rhapsody of Love follows the lives of four couples at different stages of their relationships and how sometimes life presents love when we least expect it. Events planner Jess meets photographer Justin at the wedding of her best friend Ben. Ben and Natasha are perfect for each but can they both support each other’s career aspirations. Then there’s Phil, always saying the wrong thing and looking for his next date. The first Asian Australian rom-com, Rhapsody of Love is a contemporary/modern love story. The lead actors, producers and key creative team behind the film are of Asian heritage, ensuring that the story & characters are authentic. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film.



Saturday 17 April, 10am HOTA

Dive Club is the story of 16-year-olds Maddie, Lauren, Anna and Stevie. On the surface they are regular teenagers navigating life, friendship and romance, but under the water the skilled divers enter a whole new world of adventure.

It’s an idyllic existence that’s suddenly shattered when Cape Mercy is battered by a cyclone and Lauren, the group’s charismatic trailblazer goes missing. The mystery of her disappearance, the arrival of a new friend, Izzie and with suspicious holes in the official investigation, the girls are plunged into a desperate search of their own that raises more questions the deeper they dive.

Behind the camera is a strong collection of talent and experience, with Directors Rhiannon Bannenberg, Christine Luby and Hayley MacFarlane, and Showrunner and Series Creator Steve Jaggi. The series stars Miah Madden (Australia Day, The Unlisted), Georgia-May Davis (Young Talent Time, Disney Backstage Pass), Sana’a Shaik (Reckoning, 2067), Mercy Cornwall (The Heights), newcomer Aubri Ibrag, Joshua Heuston making his screen debut, Alexander Grant (Radio Waves), and Joseph Spanti (Coffee Lover).

The first three episodes of Dive Club will screen at this special World premiere screening at the Gold Coast Film Festival. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film.



Tuesday 20 April, 6.30pm Event Cinemas Coomera

Held back from premiering at the 2020 Gold Coast Film Festival, this is director Josh Hale’s second feature film, shot on the Gold Coast featuring a local and international cast.

A day trip takes a turn for the worse when a group of friends investigate an abandoned house. The nightmares quickly become a reality when they are forced to face their own personal fears, and survive a night in the House of Inequity.

Join writer/director/producer Josh Hale and cast and crew for a Q&A after the film.



Thursday 15 April, 6.30pm at Movie World

Gold Coast Film Festival’s Screen Industry Gala Awards Dinner is a dazzling celebration, bringing together Queensland screen industry businesses and supporters to recognise the achievements of award winners and finalists – with the national screen industry award The Chauvel Award at its heart.

Established in 1992, The Chauvel Award acknowledges significant contribution to the Australian screen industry and is named in honour of two of Australia’s pioneering filmmakers, Charles and Elsa Chauvel.

The 2021 Chauvel Award recipient, Sue Maslin AO, is one of Australia’s most successful screen producers, with a contribution to the Australian screen industry spanning over 35 years.
The red carpet will be rolled out to welcome the screen industry and Gold Coast leaders to an elegant night of dining and ceremony at Warner Bros. Movie World. On this night of nights, the Gold Coast Film Festival will award:

  • The Chauvel Award presentation with Sue Maslin
  • Queensland Screen Business of the Year
  • Gold Coast Screen Professional of the Year
  • PKF Best Australian Film Award
  • Blackmagic Design Best Australian Independent Film Award
  • Queensland Screenwriting Award
  • Best Australian & International Web Series
  • EMERGE! Best Student Short Film

Join the festivities and enjoy a night of dinner, drinks, and networking, and see who takes home the coveted awards. Tickets are $135 each. Invite your clients, colleagues, and friends to celebrate this year’s awards!

Ticket sales close 9am, Friday 9 April, 2021. We encourage you to book your group’s tickets together so we can do our best to seat you together on the night. Maximum 8 per table (conditions apply, see website for details).



Saturday 17 April, 7.15pm at Burleigh Brewing Co.

SIPFEST Short Film Festival returns in 2021 – and we’ve found a new home at the Gold Coast’s favourite craft brewery, Burleigh Brewing.

Settle in for a screening of 14 brand new short films from Australia and around the world that will make you laugh, cry, be amazed and leave entertained.

Short films screened at SIPFEST are the finalists of Gold Coast Film Festival’s national short film competition. Join us for the awards ceremony after the screening as we announce $5,000 in cash prizes across seven categories, judged by a panel of industry experts. Plus cast your vote on the night for the highly coveted $1,000 People’s Choice Award!
Come early to grab a brew, a bite to eat, and the best seat in the house, then cosy up alongside the SIPFEST filmmakers and screen industry guests to enjoy an epic night of free short films.

Varied seating available, BYO picnic blankets and low chairs allowed.

SIP (pun intended) on a world-class Burleigh Brewing beer while enjoying films screened under the stars.

FREE to attend, but registration required.



Friday 23 April, 8.30pm Cbus Super Stadium

Get ready for a night of Maximus entertainment! After the Titans take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs, join the legion to witness a gladiatorial battle of another kind in the Oscar award-winning epic, Gladiator, featuring titan of cinema Russell Crowe.

Cheer on Maximus as he battles against the corrupt Emperor Claudius and experience the spectacle and action of ancient Rome in Gold Coast’s very own Colosseum – Cbus Super Stadium.

Food and drink are available for purchase on site with the movie screening on the outdoor screen from 8.30pm. Varied seating will be available on a first-come basis (battles to the death are generally discouraged), but BYO blankets.

Free to attend for Gold Coast Titans members – day passes available for individual purchase.

Visit for tickets.



Saturday 17 April, 12.45pm HOTA

An uncompromising insight into the quest for cultural identity and spiritual healing as Indigenous prisoners prepare for the annual Confined exhibition and life on the outside. Seen through the eyes of Indigenous prisoners at Victoria’s Fulham Correctional Centre, The Art Of Incarceration explores how art and culture can empower First Nations people to transcend their unjust cycles of imprisonment.

This narrative documentary humanises the over representation of Indigenous Australians within the prison system and provides an insight into the inmate’s quest for cultural identity and spiritual healing as they prepare for the annual ‘Confined’ exhibition and life on the outside.

Director Alex Siddons collaborated with Indigenous artist Robby Wirramanda and Indigenous elder Christopher Austin to tell the story of art and healing inside prison. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this film contains images and voices of people who have died. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film.



Sunday 18 April, 3.15pm HOTA/Thursday 22 April, 12.30pm at BCC Coolangatta

Set in the lush landscapes of Australia and Spain, Chasing Wonders is a magical drama about courage, adventure and family which introduces Australian actor Michael Crisafulli in the lead role of “Savino”, filmed over five years aged both 12 and 18.

Written by Judy Morris (Happy Feet, Babe: Pig in the City) the film tells the story of young Savino, a 12-year-old child, whose sense of adventure and imagination runs wild. Fueled by his grandfather’s encouragement, and the gift of a telescope, Savino adventures across the desert as a boy, and on a journey to Spain as a teenager, where he learns about his family history and develops a greater compassion for his father.

Filmed over five years, themes of familial love and loss are explored in this multi-cultural family film featuring an outstanding ensemble cast. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film on Sunday 18 April.



Friday 16 April, 6.30pm Event Cinemas Coomera – launch screening for Dark Nights and Fantastic Films Program – stars Nicholas Cage

Nicolas Cage is trapped in a twisted amusement park and must fight possessed animatronics with a group of teens (also trapped in the building). This is a crazy comedy/horror/thriller starring fan favourite Cage.

A quiet drifter (Cage) is tricked into a janitorial job at the now condemned Wally’s Wonderland. The mundane tasks suddenly become an all-out fight for survival against wave after wave of demonic animatronics. Fists fly, kicks land, titans clash — and only one side will make it out alive.



Sunday 18 April, 5pm Event Cinemas Coomera

Direct from Canneseries, this collection of interrelated shorts from various Australian directors are “edge of your seat” thrilling, impressively produced and a must see on the big screen.

An anthology of six interconnected horror short films, Deadhouse Dark is anchored by a woman who receives a ‘mystery box’ from the dark web, each item within it gradually unveiling a dark and troubling truth.

A boxful of dark and chilling tales of terror inspired by frighteningly familiar modern trends including dark web mystery boxes, dashcam footage and Insta-fame hungry vloggers. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film.



Thursday 22 April, 7.30pm HOTA

A magic realist spin on the family drama, this first feature film from writer/director Thomas Wilson-White navigates questions of identity, family relationships and individuality.

Grieving the death of her mother, Beth wakes one night to find a portal to the past in the forest surrounding her family home. Swept away by visions of her idyllic upbringing with her three siblings and two loving Mums, Beth becomes mesmerized by the past, unable to see the dangers that lie ahead.

Direct from a World Premiere at the Mardi Gras Film Festival. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film.



Sunday 18 April, 7.30pm Event Cinemas Coomera

An unlikely story of friendship and fighting against unknown forces. This quirky sci-fi drama was shot on the Gold Coast and features a local cast and crew.

A town, known for its U.F.O activity plays home to mysterious alien abductions kept secret by the local law. When young girl Maisey Evans is returned, she is greeted by Miles, a conspiracy theorist and Bruce an alcoholic taxi driver. Join the filmmakers for a Q&A after the film.



Saturday 17 April, 11am Event Cinema Coomera – part of the Dark Nights and Fantastic Films program

Call your Fellowship and chain your cave troll for this special event screening of The Lord of The Rings trilogy! One movie marathon to rule them all…

Revisit Middle-earth with three fully remastered films in stunning 4k, back-to-back on the big screen! Based on the incredible world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, and shot in New Zealand, the Lord of the Rings is an award-winning piece of storytelling filled with Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, Wizards, Orcs, Ents, and all the free peoples of Middle-earth.

Join Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin with the aid of the Fellowship, and of course Gollum (my precious) as they go on an unexpected journey – to Middle-Earth and back again – in their attempt to destroy the One Ring.

11am – The Fellowship of the Ring
2.20pm – The Two Towers
5.40pm – The Return of the King
20-minute intervals between each film

To aid you on your movie marathon quest, snacks will be available for purchase, there will be short breaks between films to stretch your (Proud-)feet, and we recommend booking early to claim your throne.



  • Dumbo
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Up
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Aladdin
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • The Lord of the Rings marathon
  • Dive Club Premiere (Young Adult)

Keep up to date with all things Gold Coast and subscribe here.