Gala Kicks Off SWIFF At The Jetty Theatre With A Full House

Festival Co-Directors Kate Howat and Dave Horsley with SWIFF’s Festival Patron Jack Thompson.


TWO hundred and thirty-five guests filled the Jetty Memorial Theatre for the Gala opening the Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF), presented by Ashton Designs.

The guests were served food and drink as they mingled before the theatre doors opened.

Once inside, Aunty Bea Ballangary gave a beautiful Welcome To Country and the Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Cr Denise Knight, officially opened the festival.

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SWIFF’s Festival Patron Jack Thompson spoke about the importance of film in his life and said that he hoped that Coffs Harbour would end up with a film studio.

The audience enthusiastically clapped for promotions for the Coffs Coast and Bellingen which showcased, not only the natural beauty and other attractions of the area, but also the creative talent that crafted the promos.

The stand out was the world premiere of the original short animated film, ‘iCleen 2.0’, which was written, directed, and animated by Matt Dean from ‘Fresh Squeezed Creative’.

Shorts for upcoming films ‘Jumbo’, ‘My Name Is Gulpilil’, ‘First Cow’ and ‘Mogul Mowgli’ (to be shown at the Closing Night Gala) were also applauded.

Before the film for the evening, ‘The Furnace’, was shown, its director, Roderick Mackay, and producer, Tim White spoke about their creation.

‘The Furnace’ was the only Australian film in the Venice Film Festival and is a tale that uses a gold robbery to showcase the outback of Western Australia and relationships between Afghan camel drivers and Indigenous Australians, as well as other diverse cultures that inhabited the region at the end of the nineteenth century.

Mr Mackay told the audience, “Sitting next to Jack Thompson while he watches my debut feature film is definitely on my bucket list.”

SWIFF Co-Director, Kate Howat, told the audience that they should consider viewing all of the films on show at the festival.

She said that film lovers should “Love them, hate them, rate them” and use the SWIFF app to vote for their favourites.

Ms Howat urged everyone to “Experience something different”.

The Gala Opening concluded with a Q and A in front of a very appreciative audience.

SWIFF runs until April 29, visit to see the full festival program.


By Andrew VIVIAN


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