The Coffs Coast’s Screenwave International Film Festival has surged in popularity since founding six years ago and has now taken its place on the Australian film festival circuit, adding a new voice as a nationally significant, regionally based film festival.
Co-presented by lead festival sponsor Ashton Designs, SWIFF runs for a marathon 16 consecutive days each year across multiple venues, with 2021 dates being April 14-29.
This year a new record has been set with over 120 sessions available for festivalgoers, with the screenings program boasting 66 different feature films to watch, including 5 Australian Premieres, and 22 World Premieres for the Nextwave Youth Short Film Competition.
In 2020, SWIFF attracted nearly 10,000 paying festivalgoers – a nearly 40% jump on the previous year’s attendance – and 2021 seems to be following the pattern with presales over 300% for the same time last year, which organisers put down to audiences being hungry for live arts and culture again.
“COVID has kept us all culturally starved for the past 12 months. Being able to host the festival the way it’s designed to be enjoyed – live and loud and full – is going to mean a lot to us and our audiences,” said Festival Co-Director Dave Horsley.
In March, the NSW State Government declared it safe for cinemas to return to 100% capacity, still keeping within mandated COVID measures. For travelling festivalgoers around NSW, SWIFF is also signed up to the Dine & Discover program, meaning $25 vouchers can be redeemed online for festival tickets.
This year, SWIFF also gains three new industry ambassadors. New Festival Patrons will include Australian screen icon Jack Thompson, Sydney Film Prize-winning documentarian Sascha Ettinger Epstein, and acclaimed actor of Killing Ground and Netflix’s Snowpiercer Aaron Glenane.
The SWIFF’21 program line-up includes multiple live soundtrack events, the Nextwave Youth Film Awards, SWIFF Talks filmmaker interviews with ABC radio, an industry filmmaker forum, and plenty of live music performances.
The full line-up of films and events are available on the ticketing site, www.swiff.com.au.