Nine days into the 16-day festival, for the 5th consecutive year, the Screenwave International Film Festival has broken its attendance record, with more audiences than ever finding an appetite for world cinema on the Coffs Coast.
This year SWIFF has over 120 sessions, including 70 different feature films selected, 25 short films, industry events, live soundtrack performances, and gala events, attracting over 10,000 attendees for the first time.
The previous record of 9410 ticketed festivalgoers, set in January 2020, was broken on Friday night, with six days and nights, approximately 50 screenings left still to go at the 2021 festival, including the Closing Night Gala next Thursday.
“There are a lot of new faces at the festival this year. It’s wonderful seeing the festival community grow and welcome new folks into cinemas. Lots of people have been travelling from around regional NSW especially,” said Festival Co-Director Dave Horsley.
The 2021 festival, presented by Sawtell tailor-made furniture company Ashton Designs, has seen many sold out and high-capacity sessions at this year’s festival, largely possible due to the relaxed COVID restrictions that the new April timeslot has afforded.
SWIFF organisers attribute the new attendance record to the festival maturing, having richer programming options available, audiences having increased cultural appetite through COVID, and through incentives like the Dine & Discover program.
With the festival now cemented as part of the Australian film festival circuit, attracting prominent filmmakers, festival patrons, and film premieres, the program will continue to grow in 2022.
“We recognise it’s a great privilege to have a festival at all this year. But if we’re going to throw a festival, we always want to make sure it’s going to be our best one. Each year SWIFF gets a little closer to the one we’ve always had in our heads – and we’re fortunate that with every new attendance record that gets broken, we take a little step closer to that vision,” explains Dave Horsley. “Thank you to everyone heading along and being part of SWIFF this year”.