Gold Coast Film Festival Wraps For 2012
The festival delivered another impressive line-up of pop culture and movie goodness.
It's quite remarkable just how far the Gold Coast Film Festival has come in its relatively short history. Once a modestly cherished event, the festival has grown considerably - even to the point of being recently labelled the ‘New Cannes' of Queensland by a local rag. Though that might be slightly overstepping the mark, where else could you have seen the Australian premieres of such high profile genre films as the truly terrifying The Woman In Black; producer Joss Whedon's highly inventive The Cabin in the Woods (pictured); and the quite brilliant Queensland filmed sci-fi comedy Iron Sky, with the latter selected as the prestigious festival night opener?
"We are very proud of the screenings of locally produced films," considers GCFF Chairman Richard Featherstone. "We mustn't forget that the Gold Coast is at the forefront of Queensland's film industry."
This is acknowledged in the festival's continued ‘Queensland Showcase' program - where aspiring local filmmakers are given the chance to shine on the silver screen. "I always look forward to these and it's always encouraging to see so many numbers turning up to support these local screenings," continues Featherstone. Highlights for this year's event included Nick McLean's hilarious comedy The Professional Idiot; and Jeff Licence's revealing Gold Coast cultural revolutionary documentary Kicking Off The White Shoes.
The new ‘Short Film' program was also a noticeable strength of the show, with seven highly imaginative flicks competing for a special audience voted filmmaker prize and enjoying equally high attendance levels.
"We have proved to the government that we can deliver as the numbers are continuing to increase," says Featherstone. It certainly figures. Four years ago, the festival had fewer than 2,000 people making up its total attendance, now the numbers are nudging up to a most impressive 9,000.
Instrumental to this continued success is both the GCFF's advantageous new late April slot and its Supanova partnership. Collaboration with the famed pop culture expo was surely pivotal in securing the high profile talents of prolific sci-fi author (and sometime scriptwriter) Alan Dean Foster, who spoke at special workshops and seminars across the coast and who introduced a wonderfully rare original 35mm print of his storied Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Japanese anime Bleach talents, Noriyuki Abe and Masakazu Morita, also made special guest appearances; as did Blaxploitation and Enter the Dragon legend Jim Kelly; Spartacus: Gods of the Arena star Shane Rangi; and Oliver and James Phelps (aka the Weasley Twins) from the Harry Potter franchise. "It was very exciting to have James and Oliver Phelps as special guests and the audience participation at the screening was really fun," says Featherstone.
Also present to introduce and participate in a Q&A, following a packed screening of his absorbing documentary A Deeper Shade of Blue, was veteran surfing legend and filmmaker Jack McCoy.
How to top this incredible line-up for next year? "More star guests and more crossovers with Supanova," forecasts festival director Casey Marshall Siemer. "Definitely another fan screening like Harry Potter where people came in costume and stood up, yelled lines at the screen and cheered; a screen culture art exhibition, which worked well in 2011 with the work of Makoto Shinkai; and more exciting films like Cabin in the Woods and Iron Sky who have obvious and demonstrated appeal to our audience, and which can physically draw more attendance from the fly market."
This fly market included audiences from as far as Tasmania and New Zealand jetting over to catch these extraordinary films on the bigger screen.
It seems that with the Gold Coast Film Festival, the sky is literally the limit...
For more information on the festival, head here.