HomeFilmsGold Coast Film Festival 2015 - Opening Night Recap

Gold Coast Film Festival 2015 – Opening Night Recap



With the Birch Carroll and Coyle cinemas at Pacific Fair having now closed their doors for major renovations, the annual Gold Coast Film Festival was once again after a new venue. After hosting single-screening events throughout 2014 at the location, the GCFF team decided to skip shopping centre cinemas as their primary venue and instead made The Arts Centre Gold Coast their home for 2015 (and quite possibly beyond).

The festival held its opening night on the evening of April 9th 2015, with the usual red carpet walk and pre/after show drinks. As I mentioned in a tweet during the event, it was thankfully a very nice night for an outdoors red carpet walk, a major perk given how many people began cramming into ‘The Terrace’ as festivities began kicking off at around 6PM. Granted I have usually been involved in red carpet photography in previous years and never hung around other guests for pre-show drinks, but I have never seen an opening night for the Gold Coast Film Festival draw in such numbers.

The event also managed to draw in many celebrities including Luke Hemsworth, respected film critic Margaret Pomeranz and many other Australian and international guests. As a journalist more focused on pop culture, it was just a little bit disappointing that the event wasn’t scheduled a week later when the Supanova: Pop Culture Expo is set to be held at the Gold Coast. With quite a few Supanova guests attending previous Opening Nights from my recollection, it would have been interesting to see how many pop culture guests would have attended the 2015 festivities. Putting that minor personal qualm aside, they managed to invite some fantastic guests in addition to a sizable crowd of film lovers. Despite the sheer number of people that managed to crowd into the venue, it was clearly a successfully run night – and kudos must go to every individual who was working to give out lanyards and making sure everything went off without a hitch.

Any member of the Gold Coast Film Festival team, and those involved in the Opening Night reading this should now give themselves a hearty pat on the back. 

At around 6:30 – 7:00, the theatre doors opened and people began crowding into the venue. While there was a little bit of confusion where people could sit, and people not always moving to the end of a row of seats, everyone finally managed to get seated and the opening night speeches began.

As with other previous Gold Coast Film Festival opening nights, the event was opened by Luther Cora, a member of the Yugambeh language group – with a traditional welcome song/dance, paying respect to the elders and some didgeridoo. This was followed by an opening keynote made by festival chairman Richard Featherstone – who once again provided an entertaining and informative presentation. He rightly highlighted that their “little baby is now a teenager”, with the festival celebrating its 13th year on the Gold Coast. “Whilst we won’t have to deal with acne, body odour, mood swings and boyfriend or girlfriend trouble, we will still continue to push the boundaries in every way that we can” continued Featherstone. Despite reaching such a milestone, cake and party hats were unfortunately not provided.

Following Richard Featherstone, further speeches were given by Festival Director Kylie Pascoe who made her excitement and enthusiasm for the festival evident from the moment she began speaking, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, Minister for Education, Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and Commonwealth Games Kate Jones and Margaret Pomeranz who claimed that the GCFF program is “full of mouth-watering stuff”, giving a particular recommendation to Mommy which is set to be screened at The Arts Centre Gold Coast on April 12th at 1PM.

With the opening night discussion now over, the screening of Clouds of Sils Maria commenced. I will save my judgement of the film until my review of it a couple of days from now. However I will say that the film choice did deviate from the last couple of years. Previous opening night film choices have included The History of Future Folk (2013) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), two incredibly quirky and comedic films that delivered a high level of quirkiness and plenty of chuckles (From myself at least). This is compared to Clouds of Sils Maria which was a lot more serious and melancholic than light-hearted.

Overall, this proved to be a strong start to ten days of films, seminars and other events on the Gold Coast. Although anime fans may have little to sink their teeth into during 2015 (Compared to the world premieres and outsideJapan premieres of previous years), anyone looking for a good film which may or may not make its way to mainstream cinemas should give the Gold Coast Film Festival schedule a good peruse.

The Otaku’s Study is once again ecstatic to be covering and reviewing the films of this year’s events.

Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.

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