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Australia’s Must Attend Film Festivals in 2018



There’s nothing that captivates quite like the power of film.


That’s why film festivals have become so popular in recent years—they showcase feature films, shorts, and documentaries that demonstrate this mystifying power  to a large audience, in an effort to heighten the awareness that these films ultimately call for. Not to mention they’re also a really fun time.

Australia is home to some of the most unique film festivals in the world, with different spins on the tradition that include films with a positive message, films about the incredible projects women are doing everywhere, and films that redefine the movie-watching experience. Each event brings something new to the table, and FlightNetwork’s expansive 2018 film festival guide for Australia hopes to capture just a bit of what these festivals mean to thousands of people every year.

Let’s take a look at what’s playing.


Check out Australia’s best film festivals in 2018 here:


1. Human Rights Arts & Film Festival | 2. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour | 3. Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival |

4. Sydney Film Festival | 5. CinefestOZ | 6. The Women’s Adventure Film Festival

7. SF3 SmartFone Flick Fest | 8. Byron Bay Film Festival


1. Human Rights Arts & Film Festival – MELBOURNE (May 3-17); LAUNCESTON (19-20); CANBERRA (May 29 – June 5)

The Festival

Featured in various cities across Australia, this festival is dedicated to the brave storytellers whose films, music, and artwork shine a light on humanity in a way that is both thought-provoking, and thrilling. On average, nearly 17,000 people come out to this unique event over its course.

Know Before You Go

Each city that HRAFF finds itself in offers a different experience for visitors—Melbourne, for its coastal culture; Launceston, for its dedication to Tasmanian history; and Canberra, Australia’s capital, for its museums, and historic centre. Our recommendation: spend some time getting to know the city when you’re there, by spending a day or two exploring each one’s many attractions. Single tickets cost $25, and you can find more information here.


2. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour – VARIOUS LOCATIONS (May 2 – June 26)


Larry Shiu, Cascade Mountain, Banff National Park

The Festival

The Banff Mountain Film Festival makes a pitstop in Australia along its international world tour, showcasing the best in mountain adventure film the industry has to offer. The festival occurs every November, in Banff, with 300 films shown over the week. Then a select few award-winning films and filmmakers are chosen to tour over 390 communities, across 35 countries. This is Australia’s installment— the festival, which will screen in cities throughout the country, will feature over two and a half hours of extreme film that will have you planning your next trip.

Know Before You Go

The Banff Mountain Film Festival will be popping up in cities like Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra, and over 500 people usually attend each screening. As we mentioned with the last countrywide festival, take a day to explore any city that you venture to with comfort, setting aside some time to dive deep into its culture. Single tickets are $30 with a booking fee. You can find out more information about the films and locations for the Banff Mountain Film Festival here.


3. Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival – LAUNCESTON (May 17-20)

The Festival

The only annual film festival in the region, the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BoFA) brings over 30 award-winning films and documentaries from across the world to Launceston over the course of four days. With an average attendance of 4,000, BoFA is known by many as the “Friendly Festival,” for each film’s focus on inspiring positive change—a unique facet that sets it apart from other festivals.

Know Before You Go

Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania, has become internationally recognized for its natural beauties, namely the many cataracts and waterfalls that surround the city. Visitors can also check out the Queen Victoria Museum there, which explores Australia‘s earlier history. Individual tickets can be bought for $17.50, with a $16.50 concession free, or in a bundle of ten for $150 (those tickets are also transferable). For more information about this year’s screenings at BoFA, click here.


4. Sydney Film Festival – SYNDEY (June 6-17)

The Festival

The red carpet gets rolled out for this massive film festival in Sydney, as city residents and visitors are invited to see exclusive screenings, surprise guests, and enthralling conversations about the various films with the directors, actors, and producers involved. The festival consumes the city for close to two weeks, and nearly 185,000 people attend each year. And expect even bigger crowds this year, as the festival sees its 65th anniversary. So get your tickets soon!

Know Before You Go

Where to start with Sydney… Any visits to one of Australia’s largest cities wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Sydney Opera House, and the Royal Botanic Gardens nearby. But there’s so much more: world-class restaurants, performances, incredible beaches, and more along the harbour. For this festival, we suggest setting aside a bit more time than usual to explore everything Sydney has to offer. Tickets for the Sydney Film Festival go for $19.90, and weekly passes are $159 a piece. Find out more information about what’s playing here.


5. CinefestOz – WESTERN AUSTRALIA (August 22-26)

Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Sarah Snook

The Festival

It’s difficult to distinguish the main highlight of CinefestOz. Is it the boutiques, wineries, and breweries across Busselton, Banbury, Margaret River, where the screenings happen? The natural backdrops of stunning Western Australia? Or the immersive experiences of the films themselves? Either way, come see feature films vie for a $100,000 cash prize, in a festival known for its high levels of fun, and immense popularity, with 27,500 attendees on average each year.

Know Before You Go

As you can see, there’s nothing not to love about Western Australia. It’s home to some of the country’s greatest wonders, with opportunities to explore caverns and national landmarks, go whale-watching and scuba-diving, and have access to some of the best resorts and beaches around. Tickets for the festival start at $20, and a weekly pass goes for a heftier price of $550. Find out more about this incredible experience here.

6. The Women’s Adventure Film Festival – VARIOUS LOCATIONS (September)


The Festival

The Women’s Adventure Film Festival’s mission is straightforward: to showcase women around the world who are doing extraordinary things all around us. With an average attendance of 800 people, the festival—which is open to everyone—sold out Sydney last year in a first. This year, the Women’s Adventure Film Festival will take its show on the road in Australia throughout the month of September, coinciding with Women’s Health Week, with stops in major cities like Brisbane, Perth, and Wollongong.

Know Before You Go

If a certain city doesn’t appear on the list, residents can ask the festival organizers to have the inspiring films screened in their towns. Tickets for each event, which features a host of different films and characters, cost $25. To find out more, you can go to their website.


7. SF3 SmartFone Flick Fest – SYDNEY (September 7)

The Festival

The SF3 — SmartFone Flick Fest — is a festival like no other in Australia. Over the course of several months, participants are invited to send in their films for potential screening at the final gala in Sydney, on September 7th. But there’s a catch: the movies can only be filmed with either a smartphone, or tablet, and cannot be more than six and a half minutes long. Let the games begin.

Know Before You Go

Like we said before, Sydney is not a city to miss out on if visiting. Make sure to draft up an itinerary that includes many of the seaside attractions, like the Opera House and Darling Harbour, as well as the many award-winning restaurants that call this hot spot home. Tickets to SF3 are $30, and you can find out more about the rules here.


8. Byron Bay Film Festival – BYRON BAY (October 12-21)

The Festival

This is the 12th year of the Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF), a renowned celebration of independent films and the cutting edge of cinema. This season, over 120 movies will be screened, and visitors are invited to check out VR experiences that take movie-watching to a whole different plateau. The city itself opens its doors to red-carpet events and after-parties that film lovers from all over come to enjoy.

Know Before You Go

A beach town at heart, Byron Bay is known for its down-home comfort, with access to internationally acclaimed beaches, capes, and national parks. Spend a day calmly relaxing on the beach while you’re here, and don’t forget to get some scuba diving in. Single tickets are $15, with week passes starting at $70. Find out more about BBFF here.

Jump to Australia’s best film festivals in 2018 here:


1. Human Rights Arts & Film Festival | 2. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour | 3. Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival | 4. Sydney Film Festival | 5. CinefestOZ | 6. The Women’s Adventure Film Festival | 7. SF3 SmartFone Flick Fest | 8. Byron Bay Film Festival

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