Valerie Taylor in 'Playing with Sharks'.

The line-up for the Gold Coast Film Festival has been unveiled ahead of its return next month following a COVID-related hiatus.

The 12-day event will feature four world premieres, six Australian premieres, nine Queensland premieres, and two exclusive preview screenings across the Gold Coast, alongside Q&As with filmmakers and some of Australia’s leading cast and crew.

It will also be the first festival held under new director Aimée Lindorff, who took the reins from Lucy Fisher towards the end of last year.

Lindorff says this year’s program is about inspiring movie fans to return to the cinema and cinema-hopefuls to pursue their passion for the silver screen.

“We have an incredible mix of national and international films and documentaries starring some big names and tackling even bigger story lines,” she says.

“The prestigious Screen Industry Gala Awards will return at Movie World, where we will celebrate the Festival’s award winners and finalists alongside an In Conversation with producer Sue Maslin AO (The Dressmaker).

“Pitch In Paradise, the festival’s new industry market, will also take place over two days with filmmakers invited to pitch their work to production companies, commissioners, and networks, as well as a program of industry panels designed for established and emerging filmmakers alike.”

Sundance-selected documentary Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks will headline the opening night of the festival, with screenings at HOTA Home of the Arts, Birch Carroll & Coyle Coolangatta, and Event Cinemas Coomera.

Directed by Sally Aitken and produced by Bettina Dalton, the documentary details Australian icon Valerie Taylor’s extraordinary life as a marine protector and ocean explorer.

Two Queensland-filmed titles from producer Steve Jaggi will have their world premiere at the event, with Christine Luby’s romantic comedy This Little Love of Mine, and teen series Dive Club joining Josh Hale’s horror film House of Inequity and Joy Hopwood’s Asian-Australian rom-com Rhapsody of Love in debuting at the festival.

Other Australian screenings include Alex Siddons’ narrative documentary The Art of Incarceration, Paul Meins’ coming-of-age drama Chasing Wonders, horror mini-series Deadhouse Dark, Thomas Wilson-White’s drama The Greenhouse, and Stephen Osborne’s sci-fi film Strangeville.

The festival line-up also boasts preview screenings of local film J.J. Winlove’s June Again and Lee Daniels’ The United States vs. Billie Holiday on the festival’s closing night.

This year’s SIPFest Short Film Festival will be held at its new home at Burleigh Brewing Co., while Cbus Super Stadium has been added pop-up cinemas as part of Film at the Footy, screening Gladiator in partnership with the Gold Coast Titans.

The Gold Coast Film Festival will be held from April 14-25 and will operate under stringent COVID safety guidelines.

Click here for full program and ticket information.

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