If there's one film festival that the big-screen adaptation of Tim Winton's Breath was made to play at, it's the Gold Coast Film Festival. The book and movie might be set on the other side of the country, but screening an Aussie-made surfing-focused effort at the southeast Queensland beachside tourist spot's annual celebration of cinema just makes sense, really.
Hitting up the fest before the film's general release in early May — with director and actor Simon Baker in attendance, alongside young up-and-comers Samson Coulter and Ben Spence — Breath is one of 40 features screening at this year's GCFF, which runs from April 17 to 29. Other Australian highlights include opening night's The Second and closing night's Brother's Nest. The former was made in Queensland, is destined for streaming service Stan, and stars Rachael Blake, Susie Porter, Vince Colosimo and Martin Sacks in a tale of two female friends and one tricky second novel. The latter black comedy comes from brothers Shane and Clayton Jacobson, and stumbles into much darker territory than the title they're best known for, aka Kenny.
Still on the local front, the festival's 2018 program also features the South Australian-shot, Martin Freeman-starring zombie thriller Cargo, plus queer body-swap effort Pulse, two films that have been doing the rounds of the fest circuit. Scoping out flicks from the rest of the globe, German coming-of-age effort Axolotl Overkill, Cannes hit I Am Not a Witch, Oscar-nominated Russian drama Loveless, acclaimed art-house epic Zama, and the Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan-starring Ideal Home are also on the lineup.
On the special events front, GCFF will once again venture onto a boat, to a brewery, by the water and more, spreading the cinematic love wherever it can. Fancy revisiting American Pie while you're cruising the Goldie waterways (and thinking of your schoolies exploits, admit it)? Or catching Fight Club at Burleigh Brewing Co.? Or the dance flick duo of Strictly Ballroom and Happy Feet by Kirra beach? They're all on the bill, as is the festival's first virtual reality showcase and two days of free anime at the Broadbeach mall.
The Gold Coast Film Festival runs from April 17 to 29 at HOTA, Home of The Arts (the former Gold Coast Arts Centre) and other venues on the Gold Coast. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the festival website.