The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts announces the debut of the AACTA Festival

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) proudly announces the debut of the AACTA Festival, a four-day celebration of Australia’s vibrant screen industry that promises an immersive experience for all, from industry professionals to film enthusiasts, school-leavers, families, and aspiring creatives.  The festival, including the AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group, will be hosted at the Home of the Arts (HOTA) on Queensland’s Gold Coast from February 8th-11th, 2024.

With more than 70 events on the program, and more to be added, the AACTA Festival will present a dynamic array of panels, meet-and-greets, screenings and activities which are predominantly free to attend.  The festival will provide an opportunity to go behind the scenes of your favourite films, immerse yourself in the industry’s latest trends, meet your favourite stars, network with screen practitioners, and learn more about the exciting world of Australian film, TV, gaming, music and more.  Actors Lincoln LewisChris Alosio (Talk To MeNext Goal Wins), and Savannah La Rain (Bosch & Rockit), and filmmaking siblings the Macfarlane Brothers will serve as the festival’s ambassadors.

“I am thrilled to welcome the AACTA Festival to my hometown for the next three years.”, Lewis stated.  “As an Ambassador, I am stoked to witness the thriving screen industry and proud to play a role in celebrating and developing the incredible talent within our country’s film and TV industry. Sharing my love for this art form with all of you is truly an honour.”

The AACTA Industry Awards Ceremony will kick things off on Thursday, February 8th, followed by a day of industry events, masterclasses, and creator discussions on Friday the 9th.  Saturday, February 10th, the AACTA Awards Ceremony will welcome all the stars on the red carpet.  Then, finishing on Sunday, February 11th, will be an array of screenings, live music, kids events, acting workshops, meet-and-greets, and more.  The final day will also feature the Screen Careers Expo presented by Essential Screen Skills, running all day and offering pathways for anyone wanting to break into the industry. It promises to be a great day out for the entire family.

Cinematic highlights throughout the festival include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Matrix; an animation deconstruction of international blockbuster Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; a deep dive into the stunt work from Mad Max: Fury Road; and a showcase of the upcoming BINGE Original series High Country, with Leah PurcellMichael Gracey (The Greatest Showman), and producer Paul Currie will give audiences an exclusive look of their upcoming Australian film Better Man starring singer Robbie Williams.  Iconic Australian musician Russell Morris (The Real Thing) will take part in an exclusive in-conversation with composer David Hirschfelder, and audiences can hear from Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid on the progress of the film franchise currently being shot in Queensland.

Many of Queensland’s top writers will attend and be showcased throughout the festival, including Trent Dalton, author of Boy Swallows Universe, and Holly Ringland author of Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. In addition to this, audiences can hear from writers Nick EarlsLystra RoseMathew CondonRichard JamesonTristan Michael Savage, and Ben Hobson to name just a few.

The festival will also host a series of Meet the Creators events – panel discussions with internationally renowned talent including directors Danny and Michael Philippou (Talk to Me), Warwick Thornton (The New Boy), and the team behind the hit TV show The Newsreader.  Our Meet the Nominee panels offer a chance hear from some of Australia’s biggest stars, producers, and directors, nominated for a prestigious AACTA Award.  The festival also features a wide range of topical industry panels covering various aspects of the screen industry, from the future of AI and streaming, to First Nations truth-telling and storytelling panels. Also included are a range of online gaming ‘Let’s Play’ events, and an immersive art experience led by acclaimed painter, actor, and musician Stan Yarramunua.

There will be fun for the whole family, with a series of kids events, including a Play School LIVE event, kid’s acting workshops, face paintinglive music, and a very special appearance from Queensland’s beloved Bluey.

For those looking to join the industry, the AACTA Screen Careers Expo, presented by Essential Screen Skills, will be operating all-day on Sunday and provide a comprehensive and insightful immersion into the diverse facets of the screen industry.

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said “AACTA Festival is a must-attend event for anyone who loves Australian film, television, music, gaming, art, and pop culture. We are excited to present more than 70 events over four days celebrating the excellence of our industry. From red carpet glamour to workshops and a special kids’ line-up, it’s an invitation for everyone to step into the magic of storytelling and creativity.”

Amanda Laing, Foxtel Group Chief Content and Commercial Officer, and BINGE Managing Director said: “The AACTAs Festival will provide more ways to showcase and celebrate the best of Australian storytelling and the incredible talent powering it.  The Foxtel Group is proud to support this exciting new initiative.”

“The Gold Coast is one of the most prolific screen production centres in the Southern Hemisphere, with the screen sector contributing an estimated $590 million in direct and flow-on benefits for our city,” said Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate.

The AACTA Festival program is filled with opportunities for seasoned industry professionals, budding creators and the community alike to explore Australia’s screen sector and celebrate the Gold Coast’s leading role in it.  Plan your visit, pack your popcorn and enjoy the show!

Jacqui Feeney, Screen Queensland CEO, concluded, “The AACTA Festival will bring leading local and national screen practitioners together on the Gold Coast—a renowned production and screen talent hub, and the ideal home for this event. Screen Queensland is proud to support the inaugural AACTA Festival and welcome aspiring filmmakers and audiences alike to also connect, learn and revel in this celebration of screen culture.”

The AACTA Festival is now live.  For more information, please visit aactafestival.com to get your tickets. Stay tuned for new events that will be added soon.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.