Gold Coast Film Festival To Announce 2020 Award Winners And Move Crowd Favourite SIPFEST Online

April 7, 2020

In by Dov Kornits

The Gold Coast Film Festival will move two of its flagship events to online events and still announce all filmmaker awards, following the cancellation of the 12 day annual festival.
The Gold Coast Film Festival will move two of its flagship events to online events and still announce all filmmaker awards, following the cancellation of the 12 day annual festival.

SIPFEST, the free beachside short film festival presented by Surfers Paradise Alliance, will move online with 13 short films to view for free in isolation comfort over the Easter weekend from Thursday 9 April until Tuesday 14 April, with viewers still able to vote for the $1000 People’s Choice Award.

The festival’s Screen Industry Gala Awards will evolve to a live-stream award ceremony, with $20,000 in cash and prizes awarded to filmmakers thanks to prize sponsors HOTA – Home of the Arts, PKF Accounting and Business Advisors, Blackmagic Design, Burleigh Brewing Co., The Heaton Group and Surfers Paradise Alliance.

The online event will be held on 16 April at 6.30pm, to coincide with the originally planned event date and will feature 14 award categories recognising the best short films, webseries, feature films and scripts that were due to feature at the festival as well as award recognition for Gold Coast screen industry professionals and Queensland screen businesses.

“While we were heartbroken the festival was cancelled after it had already been curated and announced, we were more devasted for the filmmakers. Filmmakers have poured so much of their talent, money and time into their films – sometimes over years – and it is a such a loss to not have the opportunity to screen or premiere now,” said Lucy Fisher, Gold Coast Film Festival CEO/Festival Director.

“We have worked to find the best way to support filmmakers and we are so grateful to our prize sponsors who have still committed to cash and prizes for this event. I’m sure the prizes will come at a vital time for many in the screen industry right now.”

“Hopefully, we can all join together for one night and celebrate the winners in this difficult time and support Australian short films by watching SIPFEST for free,” she said.

The 18th annual Gold Coast Film Festival program was due to feature four world, nine Australian and 11 Queensland premieres and just over 300 films, panels, events across 14 Gold Coast locations.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said he was thrilled filmmakers were still being recognised for their contribution.

“The Gold Coast Film Festival is one of our most exciting annual cultural events and, whilst I share the disappointment in the cancellation of the event, I am thrilled our community can continue to access the short film program online and that our many and talented filmmakers are recognised for their contribution,” he said.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said she was pleased to see the event go ahead online.

“Events like SIPFEST are vital when it comes to keeping people connected. That’s why it’s great to see the festival go ahead in 2020,” Ms Jones said.

“These are incredibly challenging times for our tourism and events industries. It’s more important than ever before that we work together and support each other during these tough times.

“Moving SIPFEST and the Screen Industry Gala Awards online means film fans will still have the opportunity to connect with the festival and we’ll be able to celebrate the industry’s recent achievements.

“SIPFEST is a great local event with a big future on the Gold Coast. We’ll continue to support this event and help local filmmakers to achieve great things.”

Kylie Munnich, CEO of major sponsor Screen Queensland, congratulated the Gold Coast Film Festival in their flexibility to present these popular festival events online.

“Now more than ever people are engaging with screen content to connect, entertain and inspire, and they want to support local creatives,” said Ms Munnich.

“We are thrilled that the team at Gold Coast Film Festival have responded swiftly to this audience demand for Queensland content, and are continuing to celebrate and recognise local industry talent.”

The Gold Coast Film Festival is also supported by Tourism and Events Queensland. The Gold Coast Film Festival is supported by the City of Gold Coast.


What:  13 brand new short films that will make you laugh, cry and be amazed

When: Easter Weekend: 12pm Thursday 9 April until 12pm Tuesday 14 April

Where: Isolation comfort.  It’s Surfers Paradise beach in your imagination.

To view:

Dress code: Who knows right now? PJs? Activewear? Yesterday’s clothes?


What:  A live-stream award ceremony.

When: 6.30pm, Thursday 16 April 2020

Where: Isolation comfort.  Register here:

Dress code: We personally like red-carpet glamour up top and PJ’s down below.


Blackmagic Design Best Australian Independent Film Award

Sponsor:  Blackmagic Design

Prize: Blackmagic Design product (Pocket Cinema Camera 6K worth AU$4,065)


MORGANA | Isabel Peppard & Josie Hess

A LION RETURNS |Serhat Caradee

DISCLOSURE | Michael Bentham


PKF Best Australian Film Award 

Sponsor: PKF Accounting and Business Advisors

Finalists: I Am Woman, Slim & I, Swimming For Gold, Never Too Late, Smoke Between Trees, Disclosure, Hearts and Bones, Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks, A Lion Returns, House of Inequity, Tommy Emmanuel: The Endless Road, Dark Whispers Vol 1, The Show Must Go On, Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt), Morgana, Love Opera, Bloody Hell

Queensland Screenwriting Award, thanks to The Heaton Group

Sponsor:  The Heaton Group

Prize: $5000 for winner, $500 for second prize, $500 for third prize


How To Kill A Genre – Noah Southam

The Lost girls – Dustin Schmidt

Olivia’s Song – Tim Sayer

The Secret Lives of Dresses – Stephen Lance

SIPFest Short Film Festival presented by Surfers Paradise Alliance

Sponsor: Surfers Paradise Alliance


Best International Film $500

Best Australian Film $3000

Runner up Best Australian Film $1000

Best Actor $500

Best Screenplay $1000

Best Film from a Gold Coast Resident $1000

People’s Choice Award  $1000


Date Night – Marni Little, Christine Milo

Eye for an Eye – Elizabeth Cullen

I Don’t Speak – Tess Emmerson

Lost Daylight – Nurdewi Djamal, Callan Murray

MANUS – Angus McDonald

My Name is Mudju – Chantelle Murray

Desert Island Secret Santa – Pearce Hoskinson

Phone It In – Darien Law

The Bus to Birra Birra – TJ Power

The Perfect Spread – Billy Milionis

The Starey Bampire – Dan Farmer, Adam Bigum

Yulubidyi – Until The End – Nathan Mewett, Curtis Taylor

Back to Graceland – Sakari Sankkinen

 Webseries Awards

Sponsor: Gold Coast Film Festival


Best International Webseries

Best Australian Webseries  – $500


A Werewolf in Australia | Pearce Hoskinson

Sheilas | Eliza Reilly, Hannah Reilly

High Rising  | Vidad Narayan, Bruce McCoy

Overqualifed | Megan Chambers, Hamish Thatcher

Man of Joy | Jordan Kenneth Kamp, Rob Johnson

Sporty’s Heroes | Lisa Hughes

  • Queensland Screen Business of the Year Award


WildBear Entertainment

Essential Crew

The Post Lounge

  • Gold Coast Screen Professional of the Year

Sponsor: Burleigh Brewing Co.

Prize: Burleigh Brewing Co. beer, Backstage double pass and 4 VIP Burleigh Cinema tickets (valued at $400)


Anna Waters-Massey

Jason Baird

Jude Kalman

  • EMERGE Best Student Short Film

Sponsor: HOTA – Home of the Arts


Best Student Film $250


DANNY – Nash Lawrence – NYFA
BISCUIT – Andrew Morris – TAFE Coomera
SQUEEZED FRESH – Andrew Morris – TAFE Coomera
THE GOOD DAD – Tallow Montague – SAE
THE WAY HOME – James Curtis – QSFT
STATIC – Ryan Simpson – QSFT

OTHERED – Eden Guade, Jeremy Bobby – Griffith University
NOT SO GRIM – Narissa Amies – Griffith University
THE DRUID PROPHECY – Lauren Hassell – Bond University
ASOS – Dane Holroyd – Bond University
FINDING A VOICE – Kimberley Henderson  – QUT
CRACK – Jake Leskarac, Sophie McDuff – QUT

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