The Byron Bay International Film Festival returns in 2020 with a special edition hybrid festival to include select cinema screenings, a competition for independent filmmakers and a unique virtual reality experience.

Screening at Byron Bay’s Palace Cinemas and the Byron Theatre, the festival will run from October 23rd to November 1st, offering audiences the opportunity of experiencing a stimulating array of world cinema, that in other times would have been sweeping the 2020 festival circuit. Film lovers are encouraged to leave the isolation of home and join in the communal experience of watching stories unfold as they were meant to be seen… on the big screen.

“The 2020 festival will not be a business as usual event” says Festival Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke. “Social distancing regulations will change the atmosphere and scale of what we deliver but we’re still going to roll-out the red carpet and bring audiences the very best of world cinema and screen events.”

This year’s festival will still include:

  • Select screenings of key films
  • A competition celebrating the very best of Independent filmmaking in 2020
  • A very special virtual reality experience at Byron’s iconic lighthouse under a full moon

“The world needs the light of cinema and emotional storytelling now more than ever before. Audiences are rightfully cautious right now and so are we. We’ll observe all the necessary health guidelines to deliver a great festival experience safely.”

“Our vision for Byron and for our festival is unwavering. With 14 years behind us, our team have the passion, the skills and the experience needed to deliver an appropriate and exciting 2020 festival.”

Whilst rubbing shoulders with stars is a restricted activity in COVID times, the festival will feature some very special guests, including acting legend Jack Thompson.

Jack is just one of the celebrity judges helping judge BBFF’s 2020 Film Competition. Not all of the nominated films will make it onto the big screen at BBFF2020 festival, however organisers hope to incorporate many of the winners into their 2021 offering.

Acknowledging that this is a tough year for filmmakers looking to get their films noticed, the festival has made sure that BBFF’s 2020 film competition is judged by Industry Leaders, film buyers and distributors will provide opportunities for those nominated, celebrating the independent and creative spirit of filmmaking, as well as the work of Australia’s next generation of film talent.

Other judges include Actor David Wenham, who was introduced to the festival through his close friend Paul Cox, the founding Patron of the festival, Emmy Award- winning Artist & Filmmaker Lynette Wallworth, one of Australia’s brightest rising stars, Joel Jackson, Surfing Royalty Layne Beachley, Bob Hurley and the first female Big Wave World Champion Paige Alms.

These kinds of initiatives, that support and showcase the work of talented filmmakers, have earned the Byron Bay International Film Festival a place in the heart of filmmakers everywhere. The festival has been rated in the top 1% of film festivals by filmmakers worldwide.

J’aimee added “We decided to go ahead with presenting a Special Edition of BBFF to support our venue partners too, this is a difficult time for them, as social distancing regulations means capacities have been dramatically lowered. Some thought that we might just sit this year out but we wanted to continue our work during these uncertain times, enabling us to return with a bigger better BBFF in 2021.”

More information can be found at