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By Sarah Ward
March 08, 2017
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By Sarah Ward
March 08, 2017
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What starts with a race across New Zealand and ends with a contagious virus seeping through Sydney, but doesn't leave the warm and sunny climes of south-east Queensland? That'd be the Gold Coast Film Festival. All of the above forms part of the event's 2017 lineup from April 19 and 30 — plus a boat ride with Zoolander, surf flicks by the beach, Pulp Fiction in a taphouse, all-female horror, unnerving serial killer thrills, animated Swiss delights and the chance to walk in The Rock's footsteps.

The rather eclectic program kicks off with Pork Pie, taking Boy's James Rolleston on a ride around NZ in a stolen car and remaking 1980 Kiwi classic Goodbye Pork Pie in the process. It's an amiable, affable, antic-riddled comedic adventure — just the kind of flick you want to see before heading to a party. Then, 12 days later, the world premiere of Aussie-made Event Zero wraps up the fest with something completely different. Here, detectives and politicians try to cope with a potentially deadly attack, with local veterans such as Zoe Carides and Nicholas Hope among the cast.

In total, 32 features will screen at this year's GCFF, including four world, nine Australian and eight Queensland premieres. As well as watching Stephen Curry induce chills in festival circuit hit Hounds of Love, see the Oscar-nominated My Life as a Courgette manoeuvre clay and swell hearts, and talented filmmaking ladies unleash an anthology of scares with XX. Other movie standouts include Alliance Francaise French Film Festival highlight Planetarium, Finnish boxing romance and Cannes favourite The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, Indonesian action bonanza Headshot, playful Chilean poetry biopic Neruda and Australian artist-focused documentary Whitely.

Or, viewers can opt to follow the stars courtesy of Jessica Chastain in the World War Two-set The Zookeeper's Wife, Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in tech thriller The Circle, and a voice cast that includes Lena Dunham and Jason Schwartzmann in animated effort My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea. Events-wise, in addition to watching classic movies on the water, in a brewery and on the sand, the program also includes a Gold Coast movie location tour, a trivia night, the chance to feature in your own film-themed gif, discussions about everything from working with animals on-screen to making the most of film fests, and a ceremony honouring Deborah Mailman as this year's Chauvel Award recipient.

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