Explore your cinematic passions at Australia’s top film festivals. The diverse programs have something for everyone, whether you’re a documentary buff, Anime addict, budding filmmaker or just keen to see some acclaimed new releases. Be part of the buzz of the Melbourne International Film Festival or catch some much-anticipated world premieres at the Adelaide Film Festival. Pack a picnic for Sydney’s Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival. Or get a heady dose of independent films in Perth. See Australia’s landscapes showcased in the Darwin Festival, get a window onto other worlds at the Canberra International Film Festival or catch the best cinema from across Asia-Pacific at the Brisbane Film Festival.
Each January, you can catch cutting-edge short films from across the world at the pavilion at Bondi Beach. It’s all part of Flickerfest, Australia's only Academy Award-accredited short film festival. In February, picnicking crowds pack out the Domain for Tropfest. It’s the world's largest short film festival and getting bigger each year, with live satellite broadcast to venues in Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth. You’ll need to pore over your program for the Sydney Film Festival, which screens an enormous array of Australian, international and alternative films over two weeks in June.
Federation Square, Melbourne
No need to fly to Cannes, Rotterdam, Berlin or Toronto. For three weeks each winter, the Melbourne International Film Festival screens acclaimed movies from all the world’s top festivals. See celebrated features, discover unknown gems or catch a short in the prestigious short film competition. In June, the week-long Melbourne International Animation Festival features more than 400 animated films from more than 30 countries. Showcasing both creative and technical genius, the films range from cult classics to the latest releases. Don’t miss the St. Kilda Film Festival, which runs for a week in May and bring hundreds of short films from around the world to Melbourne cinemas in conjunction with Australia’s Top 100 short films competition.
See cinematic offerings from across the Asia-Pacific at the Brisbane International Film Festival in August. Acclaimed features, thought-provoking documentaries, late night thrillers, kid’s films and exploratory works are just some of the highlights of the 24-day festival. Hit the red carpet for gala screenings, back a winner in the short film festival or ponder cinematic and cultural issues at film seminars. Kicking off with a fabulous party, the six-day Brisbane Queer Film Festival in April celebrates gay and lesbian movies that often never received mainstream release.
Every second February, Adelaide becomes Australia’s centre for daring cinema. The 11-day Adelaide Film Festival, hits town on alternate years to the Adelaide Arts Festival. This film festival features more than 150 films from 49 countries and more than a few hotly-anticipated world premieres. See brand-new Australian films or work your way across the world at international screenings. Explore a healthy range of film genres, from family to film-noir, crime to comedy. The festival also features a range of special events, from competitive picnicking to movie-making courses. Or, join a flash-mob!
Plan a movie marathon as part of the month-long Perth International Arts Festival in February and March. Or join the cinematic revolution at the Perth International Film Festival, which runs a range of edgy independent films each July. Since it’s beginnings in the basement of a Perth jazz club, the festival has morphed into a mainstream cultural event, screening at bars, pubs and clubs across the city. It showcases more than 100 international films, including documentaries, animations, short films and experimental works. The unique program also embraces performance, live soundtrack scores, academic conferences and art exhibitions.
Immerse yourself in feature films and documentaries from Australia and around the world at the Canberra International Film Festival, held over 12 days in late October/early November. Connect to the cultural pulse of more than 20 countries through their film, catch new Australian releases and see timeless classics back on the big screen. The festival features almost 50 films, grouped into seven strands according to their theme, story or filmmaking approach. There are also a whole range of additional events to get involved with. Take a masterclass with leading filmmakers, hit the red carpet for opening night and discuss your favourite films at Q&A sessions and panel discussions.
Get a uniquely Top End take on film at the Darwin Festival, held over 18 days in August. Catch the work of Aboriginal filmmakers, celebrate home-grown Territory films and see the sublime landscapes of northern Australia on the big screen. The festival program also reflects Darwin’s rich, multicultural make-up, with movies from around the world and the Asia-Pacific. From April to November, the Deckchair Cinema screens an eclectic range of films against the backdrop of Darwin Harbour. The hot pink sunset darkens into a star-filled sky as you, the frogs and the flying-foxes, enjoy the movies with a picnic dinner.