Australia’s biggest regional short film festival unveils program celebrating community voices

5 minutes read

Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival returns after 2 years with a significantly expanded offering, designed to welcome the community back after the floods with an abundance of free programming October 27 — 30 in Gympie. Tickets are on sale now!

With world premieres of award-winning films, free talks on food farming and mushrooms, podcasting classes, community sing alongs, virtual reality painting lessons and a ‘ballgowns and boots’ opening night soirée, the festival celebrates the connection between regional Australia and the global arts scene.

This edition of the festival includes 170 short films curated into 40 feature-length sessions programmed around themes from ‘Family Dynamics’ to ‘Festival’s Fringe’. Sessions play from 9am-11pm Thursday to Sunday across two indoor, and one new outdoor Moonlight Cinema, for atmospheric screenings under the stars. In a very special closing night presentation, Heart of Gold will play Aussie cult classic CRACKERJACK to celebrate the film’s 20th birthday.

Since 2006, Heart of Gold has brought together filmmakers and audiences to celebrate works that enrich the human spirit. This year that programming extends to a suite of talks, music, virtual reality experiences and more, offered for free all festival long.

Heart of Gold has always been a wonderful conversation between our national film scene and this buzzing regional community. This year we’re really excited to showcase fantastic voices from both sides of that conversation in the fun, warm environment of our festival.
Jackson Lapsley Scott | Festival Director, Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival

The Front Yard is Heart of Gold’s new festival hub, serviced by food trucks, a cafe and bar, and featuring music and talks  between film sessions. Speakers include mycologist Dr Sandra Tuszynska, film professors Dr Phoebe Macrossan and Amanda Fiedler, Butchulla filmmaker Luke Barrowcliffe, regenerative farmer Amber Scott, Gubbi Gubbi elder Christine Stuart and bush tucker expert Russell Bennett.

Musicians taking to the cattle truck stage include soul songstress Rosa Mack with her 7 piece band, Americana folk swooners Those Folk, country singer Alice Benfer, Jamaican Arrernte RnB artist SOLCHLD, retro rockers Caravan, handmade instrument extraordinaires Eb ’n’ Flo, melodic blues duo Gaz & Gav & local high school act Hugo & the Hive.

The Prospect is a festival premiere exhibition exploring the future and fringes of audio-visual storytelling. It includes a showcase of contemporary video art curated by award-winning writer/director & programmer Emily Avila, a trove of film practitioner interviews to dive into, and the Virtual Reality Dome where patrons can explore a lineup of virtual reality experiences curated by the Australian VR Film Festival.

Complementing this programming is a suite of workshops. Podcasting Intensive leads participants through the creation & publication of their first podcast over 4 hours. Guests learn to create multi-dimensional masterpieces in Painting in VR. And Music Video Roundtables give creatives the chance to chat with the filmmakers behind clips for acts including Ball Park Music, Sheppard, Sycco, Cub Sport, Clea, Pete Murray, Dune Rats and more.

The 2022 film program will feature 6 world premieres, 30 Australian premieres and over 60 Queensland premieres. The programming team has attended festivals from Flickerfest to Cannes to bring the best short films in the world to regional Queensland. Films play in competition for over $10,000 in prizes, judged by an industry jury.

Vanessa Gazy, creator of worldwide Netflix hit ECHOES and Stan Original EDEN, joins the jury with Queensland Film Festival Co-Founder John Edmond, President of the Noosa Film Society Holly Pittman, and co-chair of Gympie’s first professional theatre company, playwright Sofia Abbey.

We’re excited to have such a prestigious jury and for them all to be at the festival, mingling with visiting filmmakers and guests! It’s such a unique opportunity to make natural connections with people in the industry from across the country.
Jackson Lapsley Scott | Festival Director, Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival

Family Day has long entertained youngsters at Heart of Gold, and this year the offering is expanding. A single ticket allows access to three kid-friendly short film sessions, a live musical theatre show from the enchanting Nana Magic, Tilly & Friends, as well as face-painting, roaming performances, an ice-cream truck, and the interactive Circus Corner activities. Family day runs 9am-2:30pm Sunday 30 October.

Other festival highlights include the ‘Ballgowns & Boots’ themed opening night soirée with live bands and films under the stars, an evening of local stories and song with amateur storytelling and a community singalong, a live taping of cult comedy podcast Boonta Vista, jury in-conversation sessions, the 2022 Awards Ceremony, and a very special 20th anniversary presentation of Aussie cult comedy classic CRACKERJACK.

From Screen Queensland Chief Creative Officer Dr Belinda Burns: “Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival brings the best shorts from around the world to Gympie. Screen Queensland is proud to continue its support for this long-running festival through its Screen Culture funding program.”

“Fostering a love of film right across the state is a key element of Screen Queensland’s work and we hope this year’s program enthrals audiences and inspires local filmmakers to create homegrown screen stories about life here in the sunshine state,” Dr Burns said.

Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival is made possible by RISE; the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, an Australian Government initiative.

This event is supported by the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland’s Screen Culture Funding program. The Front Yard has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Festivals Australia program. The Prospect was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, an Australian Government program designed to benefit regional and remote arts practitioners, arts workers, audiences and communities. The fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia and is administered in Queensland by Flying Arts Alliance. As always, we give thanks to Gympie Regional Council who provide funding and a home year in and year out for the festival.

Mayor of Gympie Glen Hartwig, says, “After 16 years, the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival has grown into one of the region’s major events and to see it expand to a four-day festival that showcases some of the best Australian and international short films is an outstanding achievement. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved with organising and volunteering at this year’s festival. It is because of your hard work and dedication that this iconic film festival is now renowned as one of the best short film festivals in Australia.”


Tickets are on sale now and more information and the full program can be found at