One highlight of the Gold Coast calendar in my opinion is the annual Gold Coast Film Festival. Providing access to a range of unique local, national and international films; this festival caters to almost every taste and desire in film – from something spooky to those which will make you laugh or cry. With less than a month to go until Gold Coast Film Festival 2016 begins, they have recently announced the full line-up of films and events to be offered starting the end of this month. For those who don’t want to read my commentary any more and just want to dive into the program, click HERE.
Gold Coast Film Festival 2016 will screen 38 films coming from 15 different countries. While they don’t seem to have any of the world premieres they usually have at this event, they have secured six Australian premieres and an additional seven Queensland Premieres, all of which will be screened (Primarily at The Arts Centre Gold Coast and/or BCC Coolangatta) from March 31st until April 10th. In total there will be eighty screenings, events, seminars and films held throughout the event – including a number of free community screenings featuring classics such as Babe (Pop Up Pictures style by Evandale Lakeside), E.T., Ghostbusters and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.
For anime fans there might be some disappointment. After some stellar screenings as part of their 2013 and 2014 events (Including the world premiere of Makoto Shinkai’s The Garden of Words), Cool Japan has not returned for the second year running now. That being said, they are holding screenings of the animated feature films April & The Extraordinary World and The Boy and the World.
New to the festivities this year is YScreen, a program of entertaining and intelligent films/workshops for children and teens. These are set to encourage young audiences to become active viewers, stimulate critical discussion of film in classrooms and provide an insight into other cultures and ways of life. These screenings, which include The Boy and the World, Labyrinthus and Landfill Harmonic, are either exclusively available to school groups (Bookable via The Arts Centre’s Education Officer) or have dedicated sessions for schools and the public.
While I encourage you to go through the list of films and make up your own mind about what you would like to watch during Gold Coast Film Festival 2016, here are my top five picks for this year’s event:
Screenings: 7th April 2016 @ 10.00am and 9th April 2016 @ 12.30pm | The Arts Centre Gold Coast
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD is about the power of creativity to – quite literally – save the planet. In an alternate reality where Napoleon was not exiled and instead changes history as we know it, the world has failed to progress past the steam age as most of the scientists have disappeared, among them April’s parents. April spends her time searching for them whilst continuing their work, convinced that her parents are still alive and hoarding their technological discoveries for themselves.
Screenings: 1st April 2016 @ 8.45pm | The Arts Centre Gold Coast
The popular prank TV show, Scare Campaign, boasts old school scares and hidden camera fun. But in the age of online TV, the producers find themselves up against a new hard-edged web series which makes their show look decidedly quaint. It’s time to up the ante, but will the team go too far this time? From the makers of 100 Bloody Acres, SCARE CAMPAIGN is guaranteed to entertain, even if people have to die in the process. Be careful who you prank this April Fool’s Day.
Screenings: 4th April @ 6.30pm and 10th April @ 4.00pm | The Arts Centre Gold Coast
God is real. And he lives in a flat in Brussels. His young daughter Ea is keen to change things, but is warned not to have “crazy ideas like her brother.” But after a short talk with “JC”, she decides to find six new disciples and create a brand new testament. Satirical but uplifting, this is perhaps the most realistic version of optimism you’ll see for a long time.
Sam’s Additional Note: At the moment, this is my top pick!
Screenings: 31st March @ 6.00pm (The Arts Centre Gold Coast) | 3rd April @ 3.00pm (BCC Coolangatta)
A warm and funny true story, EDDIE THE EAGLE follows the realisation of the childhood dream of unlikely English icon, Michael “Eddie” Edwards (played by superstar-in-the-making, Taron Egerton), and his unflinching determination to become Great Britain’s first Olympic ski-jumper. With Hugh Jackman on board as coach, EDDIE THE EAGLE is an uplifting, inspirational story that celebrates the human spirit, passion, and one man’s refusal to accept defeat.
General Screening: 3rd April @ 11.30pm | The Arts Centre Gold Coast
“The world sends us garbage, we send back music.” An uplifting documentary about the transformative power of music, Landfill Harmonic is the story of a truly unique children’s orchestra where all the instruments are made from recycled trash. Most of the population of this Paraguayan slum earn what they can from scavenging rubbish and their children have little hope of a better life. That is until a music teacher is struck with inspiration. Follow the ‘Recycled Orchestra’ as they go from playing local events to supporting Megadeth on tour, as they prove that art – and hope – can come from the most unlikely of places.