Women to the front at Gold Coast Film Festival, 19 – 30 April 2017

The City’s flagship film event aims to bring films to life. And this year’s Film Festival absolutely does that. Not just by dishing up Australian and World premieres for the city but also by pulling back the curtain to help local filmmakers learn more about the craft of film.

Now in its 15th year, today’s full program announcement includes more than 100 things to see and do with some 13 locations screening films or running film-related events. Those locations are as far flung as Helensvale, Surfers Paradise, Robina, Coolangatta and Bundall. And that’s not including the locations being showcased through the Gold Coast’s very first Film Locations Tours – an initiative launched by the Festival this year.

There’s a series of REELLife workshops which give emerging filmmakers an insight into the industry, a floating cinema screening Zoolander, a short film festival on the beach at Surfers Paradise – along with a screening of the best of the London Short Film Festival, a film trivia night, plus cult movies showing at Burleigh Brewing Co. and Coolangatta.

Women feature heavily in the Gold Coast Film Festival program which runs 19 – 30 April and even the BBC has noticed the Festival’s work in this space. Here are some of the incredible women (and their stories) you’ll encounter at this year’s Gold Coast Film Festival.


Deborah Mailman

Deborah Mailman is the first Indigenous person to win a Chauvel Award, a prestigious industry award which acknowledges a body of work. And there’s no denying Deborah’s incredible contribution to Australia’s film industry.

Queensland-born Mailman first received national acclaim in 1998 for her portrayal of ‘Nona’ in the film

Radiance, receiving both the AFI and Film Critics’ Circle Award for Most Outstanding Actress, before going on to achieve other film credits including for MentalBran Nue DaeDear ClaudiaThe Monkey’s MaskRabbit Proof FenceThe Book of RevelationLucky Miles and the internationally celebrated and award-winning feature The Sapphires.

Mailman will appear at the Gold Coast Film Festival to accept her Chauvel Award and also to join David Stratton in conversation on Saturday 22 April from 7.00pm.

We started out as a genre-focused festival, but by broadening it we have grown the festival substantially. The numbers speak for themselves.

Lucy Fisher

Lucy is Director of the Gold Coast Film Festival and an incredible champion for gender equity in the film industry. After more than a decade working on public relations for some of the world’s leading tourist attractions and major events – both here and in the UK she took the reigns of the Film Festival in 2015 and while the event started as a genre-focused festival, Lucy has driven its growth to something much more. This year’s event has more than 100 events which includes workshops and seminars as well as a tonne of Q+As, opportunities to interact with stars, producers and directors and fancy cocktail parties, floating cinema and more.LucyFisher

“We also know that by securing films that are Queensland premieres or Australian films we can grow our out-of-town attendance: people from Brisbane and northern NSW who want to get the chance to see a film first. We have a mixture of locals but also drive market attendees across a wide range of ages,” Lucy said.

“We started out as a genre-focused festival, but by broadening it we have grown the festival substantially. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Beyond the GC Film Festival, Lucy is admired by colleagues for starting Feminist Fridays when she worked with a local PR firm, pitching the idea to TEDxSouthBankWomen in the hope of starting the conversation across offices everywhere. She’s one of those women who practices what she preaches, championing childcare for women at her events and supporting women in the workplace in untold ways. We love Lucy. Read more about Lucy’s diverse career in this story over at More Gold Coast.


Sue Maslin

Sue Maslin is the Producer of The Dressmaker and a strong advocate for women in screen, currently Patron of Women in Film and Television Victoria and President of the Natalie Miller Fellowship an organisation dedicated to inspiring leadership and increasing the participation of women in the screen industry. She’s one of Australia’s most successful film, television and digital content practitioners with a track record of creating award winning feature and documentary films. Sue’s outstanding 35-year contribution to the Australian screen industry has been recognised in numerous ways. She was appointed Adjunct Professor of the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University and in 2012 received the inaugural Jill Robb Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Service to the Victorian Screen Industry.

Sue Maslin portrait-0223Feature credits include The Dressmaker which grossed more than $20 million at the box office and garnered the highest number of nominations at the 2015 Australian Academy Awards, winning five; Road To Nhill, winner of 2003 Best Feature Film at Thessaloniki International Film Festival; Japanese Story, winner of 2003 AFI Award for Best Feature Film, IF Award for Best Feature Film, Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Feature Film; Celebrity:Dominick Dunne; and Hunt Angels, winner of the 2006 AFI Award for Best Feature Documentary Film.

Her innovative company, Film Art Media, produces and distributes screen content across many platforms with a focus on blue chip documentaries including The Edge of The Possible: Jorn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House, winner of the Golden Plaque at the Chicago International Television Competition.

Sue is attending the film festival as the guest speaker for the Women In Film Lunch which takes place Friday 21 April from 12 noon and will also join a panel of producers for the REELLife seminar which explores Producing: Money vs Time on Saturday 22 April from 11.00am. Both are ticketed events.

>> want more news about cultural events on the Gold Coast? Join our e-news list for a monthly digest of all things film-art-music-theatre-gallery-festival.

Romi Trower 

Romi Trower is an Australian actress and producer and with What if It Works makes her directorial debut. It’s been described as an utterly charming rom-com that features Brooke Satchwell and a star-making turn from new sensation Anna Samson, alongside Luke Ford. The film, which was produced by the Producer of Strictly Ballroom, was filmed in Melbourne’s art-filled laneways and covers mental health in an unlikely courtship between a tech-nerd with OCD and an artist with multiple personality disorders. Romi Trower will be at the festival for Q+A following the screening, which takes place at The Arts Centre Gold Coast on 28 April at 6.00pm and at BCC Coolangatta on Sunday 30 April at 1.00pm.


Ella Havelka

Ella is the first Indigenous dancer ever to join the Australian Ballet and this moving documentary, titled Ella, follows Ella Havelka’s journey from rural Australia to one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world. The film gives us a rare glimpse into the high-impact world of professional ballet while also presenting an intimate portrait of a young woman who is discovering her Indigenous identity. Ella screens as part of the documentary season at Event Cinemas Robina and producer Veronica Fury will be accompanied by director Douglas Watkin at a Q+A event following the film. It screens on Sunday 30 April at 2.00pm.



We have a great pool of undiscovered talent and an event like Gold Coast Film Festival inspires and helps us to discover more of the Gold within the Gold Coast.

Jude Kalman

Jude Kalman is one of our city’s leading storytellers, creating films for commercial clients as well as directing feature films which have taken her to the far reaches of Africa. For a decade, she has led a team at creative agency Fotomedia and her corporate clients have included the Queensland and Federal Governments, the government of Papua New Guinea, the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and Asia-Pacific telecommunications giant Digicel. She’s worked on the set of feature film Scooby Doo and was Principal Editor of the acclaimed documentary Overfed & Undernourished.

At this year’s Gold Coast Film Festival, Jude will premiere one of her self-funded documentaries Uncontained Love: Love > Fear and will appear in a Q+A following the screening of her film, which takes place Thursday 20 April at Event Cinemas Robina from 6.30pm.

“We have a great pool of undiscovered talent and an event like Gold Coast Film Festival inspires and helps us to discover more of the Gold within the Gold Coast,” Jude said.


Margaret Dupre (and her daughter India)

Margaret Dupre - SCRIPT TO SCREEN Margaret DupreIf you lived on the Gold Coast in the early 80s you probably knew of Margaret Dupre, a colourful character and prolific postcard model. Well there’s a film in development which tells the true story of Margaret, a single British mother and how she became a local icon. You might not know that Margaret’s children were taken from her as part of the Australia’s Government’s Fairbridge scheme to ‘Keep Australia White’.

Margaret resorted to stripping, stealing her children back and living on the run while a fixated government worker hunted her down. The film, called Stripped is being made by Margaret’s daughter India and a short version of the film won support from the Kevin Spacey Foundation and is currently making the rounds of film festivals worldwide. Stripped bravely reveals the ugly reality of a little-known time in Australia history and balances it with the beautiful of a family powered by resilience and love. As the film is still in production, at Gold Coast Film Festival, you’ll be able to hear a live script reading with actors directed by India Dupre. The reading takes place on Sunday 23 April from 1.15pm and while it is free, bookings are absolutely essential.


Claudia Karvan

Claudia Karvan attended last year’s Gold Coast Film Festival to receive the 2016 Chauvel Award and join David Stratton in conversation and this year she’s returning as both a member of the Chauvel Award committee and a panel member for the event’s REELLife series. Claudia has an enormous string of accolades to her name, she’s an actress for film, television and stage, a writer and producer, she’s been inducted into the Australian Film Walk of Fame and won multiple Australian Film Institute and Logie awards. She’s an incredibly prolific artist. At the 2017 Gold Coast Film Festival, Claudia will join a panel of actors to explore Landing the Role: Beyond the Audition. They’ll look at how to make connections, stay on top of trends and become memorable outside of the audition. The workshop costs just $10 and takes place Saturday 22 April from 12.30pm.


_ _ _ _

Gold Coast Film Festival runs 19 – 30 April at 13 locations across the Gold Coast. Get all the programming and ticketing information you need at gcfilmfestival.com

Be first to comment