What makes a great film festival? A great destination.


The world’s most successful film festivals are all destination based. They capitalise on an immersive experience based on location and local culture, as well as programme content.

Cannes is one of the best known cities of the French Riviera. Its film festival was founded in the 1930’s and is the world’s most prestigious and publicised film festival. Famous for its celebrities, luxuries shop, restaurants and hotels, it is the Boulevard de la Croisette, the waterfront and the
beach that the festival is best known for. Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA is held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City. The festival is a showcase for international independent filmmakers. Founded in 1978 with a remit to attract more filmmakers to the state of Utah, it did just that. Why? Well, when Sydney Pollack suggested moving it from its original date in September, to a new date in a ski resort in January it was specifically to encourage more attention from Hollywood.

This is the year for Byron Bay International Film Festival. 16 World Premieres, 107 Australian Premiere’s, 191 films from 39 countries, a master class with Jack Thompson fresh from the set of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the latest film & a master class from surfing legend Jack McCoy, the Australian premiere of Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, a fundraiser screening of Paul Cox’s new film The Dinner Party, filmmakers flying in from around the globe.

And why do they come? Well, apparently our clear blue skies, our world heritage rainforest and our pristine beaches might have something to do with it, but a place is made by its people, and as the festivals content is very much based on local community values …..social and environmental awareness, multiculturalism, creativity, indigenous culture, spirituality & healing and, of course Byron’s favourite past-time, surfing……it makes sense that they love Byron’s people.

And so they come. Joining a number of local filmmakers is an amazing line up of filmmakers from around the world…. Travelling from Hawaii Producer Marie-Rose Phan-Le and Co-Producer Jennifer Outland from Talking Story as well as Teresa Tico from Miss South Pacific; Director Michael Magidson from Inuk who is flying in from France; Director/Producer Pria Viswalingham from Decadence; From California Director/Producer Broderick Fox from The Skin I’m In and Director Pierce Kavanagh from Manufacturing Stoke; UK Director and Executive Producer Phil Grabsky from The Boy Mir; Acclaimed Surf Cinematographer and Director Jack McCoy offering a very limited sneak preview of A Deeper Shade of Blue. As well as a multitude of Australian filmmakers including Director Michael Rymer, and Producers Leanne Hanley and Gabrielle Christopher from Face to Face and their DOP Dennys Ilic…. and the list just keeps on growing.

Byron Bay International Film Festival will take place from 2-11 March 2012. Further information is available at www.bbff.com.au


  1. Hi Byron Bay folk – Phil Grabsky here, director of THE BOY MIR – TEN YEARS IN AFGHANISTAN & IN SEARCH OF HAYDN. I can’t wait to return to your fair city…one of the best holiday destinations my family ever had. AND to return to show BOY MIR at 1pm on Saturday 10th and IN SEARCH OF HAYDN on Sunday 11th at the Piggery 4.15pm will be a thrill. Come and see me – I’ll be lonely otherwise…your surfing can wait till the next day! phil

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