Calling all film buffs: 2018 is your year. From the killer line-ups of each state’s hotly anticipated annual film festivals to the indie flicks those in the know will be raving about, these are the dates to put in your diary NOW.
1/ The Sydney Film Festival, 6-17 June 2018
The highlight of Australia’s film event calendar, The Sydney Film Festival, offers 12 days and nights of cinema at its finest encompassing a wide range of genres and film makers from around the globe. Plus, industry talks and champagne-filled parties make the festival a not to be missed red carpet event.
Applications are also open for the largest short film cash prize in Australia, the Lexus Short Film Fellowship. The fellowship, open to aspiring filmmakers, will award $50,000 each to four winners to produce their next short film. The winners will be announced at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival and their films premiered the following year. Applications close on January 29 and will be judged by a panel of independent industry heavyweights - previous judges include David Wenham and Judy Davis.
2/ The Adventure Film Festival, 9-11 February, 2018
Held in Bright, Victoria, The Adventure Film Festival lives up to its name: festival-goers camp under the stars across two days, watching some of the best new independent adventure travel films out there. It’s founded by filmmaker Austin Vince and travel writer Lois Pryce, who select adventure travel flicks by film-makers who “come from all over the globe and cover every form of transport – boats, bicycles, buses, motorcycles, 4x4s and even hitch-hiking and train-hopping,” Vince says.
3/ Alliance Française French Film Festival
Francophiles, this one’s for you: the biggest festival of French films outside of France itself, The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival covers comedy, drama, docos, indie flicks, blockbusters and more. It takes place in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Parramatta and Casula each year, so there’s no excuse not to go – particularly if you want to practice your French.
4/ Antenna Documentary Festival, October 2018
Now in its eighth year, Sydney’s Antenna Documentary Festival screens the year’s most impactful non-fiction films (think the likes of Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami and Academy Award-nominated director Matthew Heineman’s City of Ghosts). There’s also an industry seminar series, Antenna DocTalk, featuring international guests, as well as retrospective programs and gala events.
5/ Underground Cinema, throughout 2018
We can’t tell you where they’re happening, when they’re happening, or even what they’re screening, but that’s what makes Underground Cinema so intriguing. Each event is held at an undisclosed location in Melbourne and Sydney (previous sites have included warehouses, ballrooms, universities and even a carpark). When you book, you know only the date and the theme (heads-up: everyone dresses accordingly). Bonus: there’s always a bar.
6/ Flickerfest, 12-21 January, 2018
Held under the stars at Bondi Beach, Flickerfest has grown from a low-key event on the grounds of Balmain High School to one of the world’s most lauded short film festivals. Each year it receives over 2300 entries, only 100 of which are screened. Can’t make it to Flickerfest? It tours nationally from January to May, and of course, there’s fantastic outdoor cinema options in every state and territory, from the St George OpenAir to the Moonlight Cinema.