Unlocking imagination and celebrating decade of dreams

The Cairns Understory Film Festival this year celebrates a decade of cinematic creativity and storytelling in Far North Queensland.

The iconic film festival is an inclusive platform that celebrates creativity across all film genres, from documentaries and dramas to animations and comedies.

Over the past 10 years, the festival has received impressive 484 film submissions, screened 163 short films, and presented 92 prestigious awards to local filmmakers, including prizes for best film and the people’s choice award.

Acting Mayor Terry James said the Understory Film Festival proudly showcases the unique stories of Far North Queensland through the magic of short film.

“For a decade, it has acted as a launching pad for aspiring filmmakers, a cornerstone for established talent, and a haven for pushing creative boundaries,” Cr James said.

“The festival supports Council’s vision to make Cairns the arts and cultural capital of northern Australia.”

As part of the 10th-anniversary celebration, film lovers can immerse themselves in an unforgettable experience at Munro Martin Parklands on Saturday 18 November from

6pm to 10pm.

The 2023 shortlisted films will grace the screen, and attendees will have the power to cast their votes for their favourite films, with the chance to win the $2,500 People’s Choice award.

The parkland will be transformed with mesmerising projection installations and expanded cinema presentations, courtesy of locally based creative collaboration, Bonemap.

A creative partnership between media designer Russell Milledge and dancer Rebecca Youdell, Bonemap has consistently led innovative projects blending contemporary dance, new media, and visual art concepts.

It has also gained recognition through residencies and performance tours across Asia and Europe.

The vibrant atmosphere will be further enhanced by the performance of local musicians Hylidae, and a delectable selection of fine food options will tempt attendees’ tastebuds.

In addition to the film screening and awards presentation, attendees are invited to join the Understory Film Festival Symposium, being held at Tanks Arts Centre (Tank 5) on Saturday 18 November from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. (No reservation required.)

Understory Film Festival Screening and Awards Presentation and 10-year celebrations

Date: Saturday 18 November

Time: 6pm to 10pm

Location: Munro Martin Parklands

Tickets: Available at ticketlink.com.au.

Understory Film Festival Symposium

Date: Saturday, 18 November

Time: 2.30pm to 4.30pm

Location: Tank 5

The Understory Film Festival Symposium serves as the annual Filmmaker’s talk in Far North Queensland, designed to stimulate discussion, encourage new ways of thinking, and foster stronger cross-artform and cross-sector partnerships, networks, and collaborations. It brings together leaders from peak screen industry bodies, national film industry professionals, and local emerging and established filmmakers to discuss their career highlights, sources of inspiration, and the challenges they face. Additionally, the latest screen industry initiatives available through peak screen industry bodies will be presented.

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