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What’s On? Byron Bay International Film Festival 2018 (12-21 October)

What’s On? Byron Bay International Film Festival 2018 (12-21 October)

The Byron Bay International Film Festival is in its 12th year and will screen an amazing amount of films over 10 days from 12 -21 October; the favourite annual  festival’s theme this year is “dream with your eyes open”. If you love films, then you need to book a holiday to Byron Bay for this special festival.

Screenplay competition

For the second year, BBFF is holding a screenplay competition as part of the festival. The top place writers will be announced at the festival with the first prize of $1,500 (U.S.) and Final Draft screenwriting software given for the top three place holders. The contest is open to both domestic and international screenwriters and is one of the only feature film screenplay contests attached to a major film festival.

VR films

Image source: Byron Bay Film Fest

Building on the success of the first two years, the BBFF again will present a selection of virtual reality/augmented reality films/experiences as part of the program. The festival now presents a selection of the best Australian VR content at the Cannes Film Festival and works in partnership with other Australian film festivals and events to help develop VR programs.

The festival added a new AR walking tour. The self-guided tour of Byron Bay and BFFF sites is done through the DiscovAR app. Check out for more information.

And there’s so much more to the festival, so make plans to book your Byron Bay accommodation now if you haven’t already and experience some of the excellent films the Byron Bay film festival has to offer!

Program highlights

Image source: Byron Bay Film Fest

With so many films to see, spread out over 10 days, it might seem hard to choose which sessions are the best fit for you during your holiday. Well, be sure to consult the Byron Bay film festival 2018 program where you’ll be able to look for sessions with icons that denote various things from director’s picks, to the type of film, including such kinds as surfing, feel-good, environmental or visual feast, in addition to the usual drama, comedy and action.

Also, the program is a great way to read up on some of the special sessions, such as the Family Friendly Shorts, which takes place at 11:15am on Saturday, 13 October at the Byron Community Centre. Each costs $10 a person or family packs are available for $35.

Another excellent special session will be the Young Australian Filmmakers, which starts at 3:30pm Saturday, 19 October at the Byron Community Centre. The session will screen the 10 finalists’ films, out of more than 110 filmmakers, aged 25 and under, who entered their works. Almost all the filmmakers will be in attendance as well. Tickets for this session are $15 per person.

Outside of the films, there will be the Filmmakers Breakfast on Monday, 9 October from 8:30 to 11am taking place on the Byron Community Centre’s balcony. This is a chance for film lovers to meet and talk with many of the festival’s filmmakers and other VIPs, but there is a limited number of tickets available for the public, so nab yours soon. Breakfast from Laneway and coffee from Byron Bay Coffee Company will be available.


Image source: Byron Bay Film Fest

The majority of the film festival’s sessions take place at the Byron Community Centre. Located at 69 Jonson Street, it is in the heart of Byron Bay and plays host to 32 film sessions of the Byron Bay film festival. The regular sessions cost $15 per person.

Other venues for this excellent Byron Bay event include:

  • Pighouse Flicks 1 Skinners Shoot Rd.: Host to 18 sessions, this place is housed in the Buddha Bar/Byron Bay Brewery complex.
  • The Regent Cinema 5 Brisbane St, Murwillumbah: This single-screen cinema was upgraded to a digital system and new sound system. It will host nine sessions.
  • Brunswick Picture House 30 Fingal Street, Brunswick Heads: After 30 years, the Picture House has been restored, presenting a mix of film and fun entertainment. It will host 11 sessions.

Special Events, App and More

During the 10 days of the Byron Bay film festival, there will be a couple of special events for aspiring filmmakers, music video buffs and more.

Music Video Showcase

Music videos will be screened on Friday, 19 October, starting 9pm at Byron Bay Brewery. The event is free. Finalists include Wonderwall, Bianca Tomchin and Matthew Harvey. Only one video will be given the Music Video Award.

Panel Discussions

There are several panel discussions that will be presented during the festival that are geared for aspiring filmmakers.

The screening of “Dying to Live” on Sunday 14 October at 6 pm will include an extended Q&A with director Richard Todd, cast members (including local resident Holly Ralph) and special guests.

At noon on Friday 19 October, “Breathe, Experiment, Experience” session will combine the three passions of local filmmaker Darius Devas: filmmaking, the ocean and breathwork practice. Participants in this screening have the opportunity to not only view Devas’ work, but also learn and actually do basic breathwork technique. Limited floor space will be available for those who wish to bring a yoga mat and pillow. Cost is $15.

In addition, a one-day workshop will be on Friday 19 October at the Girl Guide Hall on Carlyle Street, hosted by Screenworks. It will cover the variety of opportunities for international distribution of screen content. More information is at

BBFF app

Byron Bay Film Festival will again have an app, available for both iPhones and Android phones. The app not only allows you to view the program, vote for your favourite film, and plan out a schedule of what you want to see, but it also serves as an online ticketing system. You can purchase your tickets or flexi-passes on your phone and then your phone will serve as your ticket by using the QR coded tickets that will be scanned off your phone at the door.

You can check the festival’s Facebook page for announcements as well.

Book Broken Head Holiday Park for your base during the Byron Bay Film Festival

When planning your holiday for this or other Byron Bay events, consider Broken Head Holiday Park for a place to stay. Our Byron Bay budget accommodation provides an excellent base for your holiday without breaking the bank, and we have some new deluxe beach cabins that can accommodate up to 6 guests, so you can stay as a group.