Festival preview: Gold Coast Film Festival

Over the past couple years (or 8 if you count seeing Son of Rambow at the Brisbane International Film Festival when I was 11), I’ve had the pleasure of seeing films at a number of film festivals. Whether finally getting to see films I’ve been waiting with baited breath for or discovering new favourites, there’s a unique excitement and electricity about experiencing a film at a festival.

These days, there’s plenty of festivals to look forward to throughout the year, from Palace Cinemas’s endless rotation of language-centric festivals, including French, Spanish, and Italian; to Possible Worlds, a festival of US and Canadian cinema that I hope comes back to Brisbane this year; to the Brisbane Queer Film Festival; and everything in between, all celebrating different genres and cultures, and holding plenty to explore. After the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival though (which I will be reviewing some films from!), there’s the Gold Coast Film Festival, an exciting celebration of genre cinema that runs from April 9-19. Showcasing a broad range of films, from Oscar nominee Song of the Sea,  Cannes smash it Follows, to the Australian premiere of Alex Garland (28 Days LaterThe BeachSunshine)’s highly anticipated directorial debut Ex Machina, Olivier Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria, free screenings, and even a luncheon with Margaret Pomeranz celebrating women in film, there’s plenty to get excited about and explore at the Gold Coast Film Festival. I’ll be reviewing a couple of the films from the festival, which I’ve outlined below, but check out the full program of screenings and events now! Who knows, you might find your favourite film of 2015.

Ex Machina 

A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

Alex Garland wrote the screenplay for Never Let Me Go, a film that made for easily one of the most moving viewing experiences of my life. In that film, he was able to keep the heart of the source novel intact, maintaining the aching human connection as a result. With Ex Machina, which has scored extremely positive reviews upon its UK release, he looks to have excelled at humanising science fiction yet again, with The Telegraph‘ s Robbie Collin calling it “bewitchingly smart science fiction of a type that’s all too rare. Its intelligence is anything but artificial”.

White God

Thirteen-year-old Lili fights to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets. Still innocently believing love can conquer any difficulty, Lili sets out to find her dog and save him.

A film that features a lot of menacing, real dogs that serves as a social allegory? Sure to scare the hell out of me, but where do I sign up?

Keep On Keepin On

A documentary that follows jazz legend Clark Terry over four years to document the mentorship between Terry and 23-year-old blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin as the young man prepares to compete in an elite, international competition.

One of the best reviewed documentaries of 2014, I particularly can’t wait to watch Keep On Keepin On with my dad, who is a very big jazz fan.

5 to 7

An aspiring novelist has an extramarital affair with a French diplomat’s wife.

By now, you should know that I’m a real sucker for movies like this. What can I say, I love watching people experience the joy and pain and exhilaration and indescribable collision of these feelings as they fall in love. It’s a universally relatable feeling. It looks like it may be trying to be Before Sunset, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Song of the Sea

Saoirse, a little girl who can turn into a seal, goes on an adventure with her brother to save the spirit world and other magical beings like her.

Tomm Moore also directed the Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells, which also brought Irish mythology to the screen. Beautifully drawn and wonderfully unique in terms of design and narrative, I can’t wait to witness this wondrous looking film.

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