The weird, the wonderful and the wow factor
Today, the 8th Byron Bay International Film Festival announced its most exciting program yet. The ten day festival from 28 February to 9 March is Australia’s independent showcase for the edgiest filmmakers on the planet. All we can say is that the Northern Rivers are in for a cinematic smorgasboard of cultural delights from around the world.
The highlights include:
• Multi-award winning anti-fracking doco GASLAND PART II from Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated director and ativist, Josh Fox. Nominee, Best Film; Best Environmental Film; Best Documentary.
• Australian premiere of When My Sorrow Died: The Legend Of Armen Ra & The Theremin – the candidly told life story of Armen Ra, who toured with Nick Cave and whose performance Debby Harry describes as ‘beyond’. Opening Night Film. Nominee, Best Film, Best Documentary
• World premiere of the gobsmacking Dwarves Kingdom – about a real life fantastical mountain village built for 3,000 Chinese dwarves.
• Game-changing Australian gay surf film Out in The Line Up cracks open homophobia in this Aussie way of life. Nominee, Best Surf Film.
• The Interviewer by former Tropfest winner, Genevieve Clay-Smith, and co-created with 12 people living with a disability.
• World premiere of highly anticipated, A Woman’s Deeper Journey Into Sex starring infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and pornstar Jesse Jane
• A Guerra da Beatriz, the first post-war dramatic feature film from East Timor. Nominee, Best Dramatic Feature
• World premiere of Aussie surf film Burra Jurra, a doco about the life-changing indigenous surf charity featuring champions Layne Beachley and Josh Melling. Nominee, Best Surf Film
• Rise of the Eco Warriors closes the festival.15 brave and passionate young people and one scientist step up against rampant destruction in Borneo to save its Orangutans. Nominee, Best Environmental Film.
• Girls go hard in New Zealand’s Pretty Brutal about the highs and lows of the roller derby scene – one of six films to be shown at the Festival’s showcase for International Women’s Day on 8 March
• The Activist. A thriller set in 1973 about two Native American activists embroiled in a secret that stretches all the way to Hollywood and Nixon. Nominee, Best Film, Best Dramatic Feature
• The Deflowering of Eva Van End. A Wes Anderson-style feature about a family aflutter when an Adonis-like exchange student moves in. Nominee, Best Film, Best Dramatic Feature
• A cross-cultural dance fusion from the streets of New York to farthest India, Upaj: Improvise. Stars Emmy award-winner, Jason Samuels-Smith. Nominee, Best film, Best Documentary.
Festival Director, J’aimee Skippon-Volke says, ‘This year’s official selection is without doubt our most exciting yet. With more films and premieres than ever before, it’s an exceptional array of deep and inspiring films from Australia and 36 countries around the world.’
‘Every year a theme naturally emerges in the programming and 2014’s is all about being comfortable with who you are and your place in the world.’
‘As an independent festival, we’re proud to walk to the beat of our own drum. We accept no funding from mining, that’s part of the reason Josh Fox selected us as the festival for his Australian premiere of Gasland Part II, which is a huge honour and being anti-fracking, something close to our hearts in Byron Bay’.
“The best part is, we love putting on a great event that is so much fun and allows visitors from outside the region to really immerse themselves in a community that’s not only beautiful and full of colourful personalities but highly progressive, creative and a hub for bleeding-edge culture and thinking.”
BBFF2014 will screen across four regional venues including the Byron Bay Community Centre and charismatic arthouse cinemas, Pighouse Flicks Byron Bay, Star Court Theatre Lismore and Regent Cinemas Murwillumbah.
Australia’s biggest regional film festival grows its international reputation
With solid year-on-year annual growth and around 1,000 films submitted for entry this year, Skippon-Volke says BBFF is now the country’s biggest regional film festival and is fast becoming a ‘must do’ for independent filmmakers the world over.
“We’ve been blown away by the buzz and support the festival is getting from film communities overseas,” says Skippon-Volke. “Word has spread pretty fast that Byron Bay is fearlessly creative and expressive. And they love that our audiences are film-savvy, very passionate, receptive and laid back.”
“We’ve got a lot of filmmakers heading here for the first time and they are very excited about coming to Australia and being part of this unique festival that they’re hearing so much about.”
Gala Red Carpet Opening Night & Closing Night parties at the Byron Community Centre. Film lovers and filmmakers enjoy some of the festival’s best films then kick back to great live music and awesome sunset views from the balcony bar.
Q&A sessions, free and ticketed public and industry panels and workshops
BBFF has established itself as a forum for filmmakers to share their unique insights and challenge our perceptions. This year’s program looks at stunt men, real men, cracking the Asian market, successful crowdfunding and much more.
Family Friendly Shorts on Saturday 1st March at Byron Community Centre
An ever popular, fun-filled showcase of film that nurture our young ones’ imaginations and appreciation of screen culture.
Young Australian Filmmakers Showcase on Saturday 8th March at Byron Community Centre features 10 outstanding short films by filmmakers under 25, including the 8 finalists for Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year Award.
The Experimental Showcase returns in 2014 with 26 bleeding-edge pieces from around the world.
Iconic Free Full Moon Cinema event on Valentine’s Day eve at Main Beach, Byron Bay, Byron Bay’s most romantic night of the year.
Fast Film Facts for BBFF 2014:
• Number of films officially selected: 226
• Number of world premieres: 43
• Number of Australian premieres: 102
• Number of Byron premieres: 215
• Number of sessions: 50
• Number of venues: 5
• Number of films by Young Australian Filmmakers (under 25): 14
• Number of short films: 99
• Number of feature documentaries: 39
• Number of dramatic features: 10
• Number of music videos: 14
• Number of animations: 21
• Number of experimental films: 26
• Layne Beachley, seven times World Champion Women’s Surfer (Burra Jurra)
• David Wakefield, NSW Champion Surfer (Out In The Line Up)
• Armen Ra, Master Theremin Player (When My Sorrow Died: Armen Ra & The Legend of the TherminTheremin)
• Comedian Akmal Saleh
• Actor Steve Bisley (Mad Max)