The Screenwave International Film Festival announced today that veteran Australian screen icon Jack Thompson will be the Festival Patron of SWIFF’21, taking the Coffs Harbour film festival to the next stage in its journey.
Known as “The flagship of the Australian film industry”, Jack Thompson has a film career spanning over 50 years, starring in his first feature film, Wake In Fright, in 1971. That year, Wake In Fright was nominated for Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or – the award amongst awards for best feature film. Thompson would later win a Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in Breaker Morant. Both of these films will screen as part of a five feature film program called Life Itself: A Tribute to Jack Thompson at SWIFF’21.
The regional Coffs Harbour-based film festival has been rapidly growing since founding in 2016, quadrupling its audiences in five festivals, attracting nearly 10,000 festivalgoers from a regional population of 75,000 in 2020, including around 20% of its annual audience travelling from all States and Territories in Australia to attend the 16-day line-up of 120+ film sessions.
“I am proud to be the 2021 Screenwave International Film Festival’s Festival Patron and honoured to welcome audiences far and wide to the Coffs Coast’s celebration of the filmmaking process and the cinema experience. Our stories are vital – the sum of who we are – and worth celebrating,” said Jack Thompson.
Pictured: SWIFF Festival Patron Sascha Ettinger-Epstein
With a widespread decentralisation happening across Australia, a largescale film festival appearing in a regional hub like Coffs Harbour was inevitable. Now, with COVID fast-tracking a new wave of metro residents moving to regional areas, organisers are bracing for the next stage in the festival’s growth, making way for new cultural experiences at SWIFF. ‘
“We are delighted to welcome an industry statesman like Jack aboard the festival team. Being a group of film geeks, his performances play a special place in our hearts. We’re more than a little star-struck,” said SWIFF Festival Co-Director Kate Howat.
Thompson will chair a Festival Patron team also featuring Sydney Film Prize-winning documentarian Sascha Ettinger-Epstein (Destination Arnold, The Pink House), and rising star Aaron Glenane carving out his own legacy with acclaimed performances in Killing Ground, Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, and Netflix’s Snowpiercer.
The 2021 Screenwave International Film Festival will run for 16 days from April 14 to 29, including 120 film screenings, events, performances, parties, and industry sessions. The full festival line-up will be announced on March 5th on www.swiff.com.au, with festival passes now on sale.
Jack Thompson photo credit: Peter Brew Bevan.
Pictured: SWIFF Festival Patron Aaron Glenane