AACTA Festival

This new four-day celebration of Australian film and TV is debuting on the Gold Coast around 2024's AACTA Awards.
Sarah Ward
February 02, 2024


When the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television anoints its picks for the best movies and TV shows of 2023, it'll do so in February 2024 on the Gold Coast. The country's night of nights is on the move to southeast Queensland, making its Sunshine State debut; however, a change of location isn't the only big offering. For the first time ever, the organisation is also hosting the AACTA Festival, a celebration of everything that the country puts on screens both silver and small.

AACTA's gongs will be given out on two dates, starting with its Industry Awards on Thursday, February 8 and then hosting its usual glittering ceremony on Saturday, February 10. Around those occasions, running from Thursday, February 8–Sunday, February 11 at HOTA, Home of the Arts, AACTA Festival will be filled with talks, screenings and more featuring a swag of impressive names. In total, over 70 sessions form the event, with most free to attend.

If Talk to Me creeped its way onto your list of favourite Australian horror movies, directors Michael and Danny Philippou will be at AACTA Festival to dive into it. Warwick Thornton is also on the lineup to discuss The New Boy as part of the fest's 'meet the creators' events, as are the teams behind Limbo, Sweet As, Shayda and The Newsreader.

Loved the Boy Swallows Universe TV series? Author Trent Dalton gets talking about it. And if you were a fan of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart either on the page or screen, Holly Ringland will also be chatting. Indeed, writers are a big focus, including Nick Earls, Lystra Rose, Mathew Condon, Richard Jameson, Tristan Michael Savage and Ben Hobson. Giving the event one of its international highlights, Lessons in Chemistry's Bonnie Garmus is on the bill as well.

Also massive: behind-the-scenes explorations of The Matrix, the stunts of Mad Max: Fury Road and, for some more overseas flavour, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse's animation. Or, enjoy a chat with Wellmania and The Way We Wore's Celeste Barber about her career, then find out more about the upcoming series High Country starting Leah Purcell (Wentworth), Aussie-made Robbie Williams biopic Better Man and the sequel to Mortal Kombat at their own dedicated talks.

Before they get their own immersive experience in Brisbane, Bluey and Bingo will be doing a meet and greet — and, including a live-watch party for the AACTAs, a screening of 1906's The Story of the Kelly Gang, trivia, a Play School live event and a chat about music Baz Luhrmann's movies, there's plenty more joining them.

A Yellowjackets Q&A with Aussie actors Courtney Eaton (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Liv Hewson (Party Down) is also a standout. For those keen to see a flick under the stars, you have three options, all with Aussie ties. Of course Barbie tops the list, as part of a barbecue bash where dressing up is highly encouraged — cinephile Barbie, anyone? — and there will indeed be the appropriate food spread. Also hitting the screen: a 25th-anniversary screening of 10 Things I Hate About You, celebrating the Heath Ledger-starring film, this time with a 90s shindig. And, rounding out the movies is The Greatest Showman, complete with Australian filmmaker Michael Gracey on hand to introduce the Hugh Jackman (Faraway Downs)-led flick.


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