2019 Program



Industry Golf Tournament
Sanctuary Cove Golf & Country Club


Filmmakers Forum
Jabiru House

10:30AM Treasure Hunt: Grants/Sponsors/Funding
11:45AM Creating content in Australia
2:00PM The business of film and TV


Open Air Short Film Festival
The Village Green

5:30PM Red Carpet Event
6:00PM Entertainment
6.30PM Short Film Festival Commences
10:00PM Short Film Festival Concludes


Feature Film Festival
The Village Theatre

2:00PM The Year That Changed My Life
4:00PM Red Carpet
4.15PM Screening – Liam Galagher: As It Was
5.40PM Intermission
6:00PM Screening – Whaling
7.45PM Intermission
8:00PM Screening – Beast No More


Proudly supported by Screen Queensland, the Sanctuary International Film Festival will return to The Village Theatre, Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast for the fifth consecutive year on 21 – 24 November 2019.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Sanctuary Cove, the event premiers some of the best short films, documentaries and feature films from around the world.


Friday 22nd November

A new addition to the festival this year is an Industry Film Forum event on Friday 20th November at Jabiru House Sanctuary Cove from 10:00AM. Panel guests include:

TAMMIN SURSOK – Actress, Writer, Producer. Tammin is known for her roles in Pretty Little Liars, Rules of Engagement and Crossing Over. She also Co-Writer, Co-Producer and lead Actress in Sanctuary Film Festival official selection Whaling.

KEVIN GREENE – Unbreakable Films. Kevin is a writer/producer and format creator with thirty years of experience in film and television. His experience extends across projects such as Gladiator, Mr Holland’s Opus, The Devil’s Own, 12 Monkeys, The Perez Family, Thank You for Your Service and a number of independent productions. Kevin was also a pioneer of the reality medium, working as a Co-Executive Producer on the Emmy Award-winning Survivor series

TRISTAN BARR – Continuance Pictures. Tristan was the first Australian filmmaker to shoot a full-length feature film in a single take. The ground-breaking film, Watch the Sunset, was filmed across nine different location and was named one of the top five films of 2017 by Cinema Australia.

JOEL STEPHEN FLEMMING – 13th Street Films. Joel’s films have been selected to dozens of festivals around the world. His recent film Jehovah was runner up in the inaugural No Small Stories Film Festival in Sydney and won best comedy in the UK Monthly Film Festival.

SIAN LAYCOK – 13th Street Films. Sian is a Co-Founder of 13th Street Films and most recently co-created the new comedy series Welcome To Wrigleton.

AMANDA ARCHER – Publicist. Renowned as one of the top Hollywood PR Gurus, Amanda has worked with The Jacksons, Hugh Hefner, Cailtlyn Jenner, Paris Hilton, Depak Chopra and many more.

CHIARA GIZZI – Actress. Chiara is best known for her roles in Wyrmwood: Chronicles of the Dead, Old School and Solace.

TIM, SAM, PEARCE – Comedy Specialists. Tim, Sam and Pearce are the creators of YouTube series’ Copperpillar, and Werewolf.

Saturday 23rd November

The OPEN-AIR SHORT FILM FESTIVAL event is taking place on Saturday 23rd November on the Sanctuary Cove Village Green. The red carpet arrivals begin at 5.30pm and the judges selection of short films will be screened on the huge outdoor screen, before the official 2019 awards ceremony.

Live entertainment is featured throughout the evening.

General admission to the event is FREE for all ages. For those wanting to rub shoulders with industry heavyweights, a limited all-inclusive VIP package is available including gourmet food and premium beverages

Sunday 24th November

The closing night FEATURE FILM FESTIVAL event is taking place at the Village Theatre on Sunday 24th November. The event features film screenings including:

THE YEAR THAT CHANGED MY LIFE. Screening at 2:00pm. A documentary directed by Alison Black about six overseas students that arrive in Sydney to study at university in a year that will change their lives forever. Are they cash cows or the generation who will make the world a better place?

LIAM GALAGHER: AS IT WAS. Screening at 4:15pm. Directed by Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald, this documentary film tells the honest and emotional story of how one of the most electrifying rock’n’roll frontmen went from the dizzying heights of his champagne supernova years in Oasis to living on the edge, ostracised and lost in the musical wilderness of booze, notoriety and bitter legal battles. Starting again alone, stripped bare and with nowhere to hide, Liam risks everything to make the greatest comeback of all time.

WHALING. Screening at 6:00pm. Directed by Sean McEwen, written by Sean McEwen and Tammin Sursok, starring Tammin Sursok, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tom Felton, David Koechner. A dysfunctional brother and sister are forced to come to terms with each other and themselves over their recently deceased mother’s final wish.

BEAST NO MORE. Screening at 8:00pm. Directed by Aaron Warwick, written by Jennifer Van Gessel and Matthew J. Schelle and starring Jessica Tovey, Dan Ewing, Roy Billing. A young biologist suffering the loss of a child escapes suburbia in favour of the Australian bush. Amidst her grief she is offered the chance to be a mother again, only it comes at a cost.

The Sanctuary Cove Film Festival is held from the 21st to the 24th of November and is proudly sponsored by Screen Queensland and the Queensland Government.


Damien Beebe

Damien Beebe

Cinematographer (Edge of Tomorrow, Mary Poppins)

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Damien has directed and operated camera across a myriad of highly successful and award-winning projects in Australia and worldwide, working with Oscar winners and renowned professionals like Michael Bay, Dion Beebe, Tom Cruise, Doug Liman, Penelope Cruz , Emily Blunt to name a few.

His most recent work includes the acclaimed remake of 'Mary Poppins Returns', '13 Hours', 'Edge of Tomorrow', 'Into the Woods' as well as the cinematographic direction of Australian features 'Aiyai: Wrathful Soul' and 'Black Water: Abyss'. Damien constantly explores his technical brilliance to capture the true essence of the story with his cinematic creativity, camera angles and movements which are spectacular and entertaining.

Mark Toia

Mark Toia

Director (Monsters of Men)

Originating from a very successful career as an advertising photographer 20 years ago, Toia was coerced into directing TV commercials by his clients. They desired to bring his exceptional photographic eye to the small screen and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Toia is now one of the most sought after international directors in the advertising.

Toia is now become hot property after the release of his successful, self funded debut feature film 'Monsters of Man’ Proving that he can deliver huge production value at a very high quality, within very ambitious budgets. Mainly due to his combined skills as Director/DOP & Visual effects artist.

Toia’s main passion is to capture an image that compels and speaks without words. His legendary cinematography skills, vast post-production experience, coupled with this ever evolving mind and machine like work ethics make him the perfect choice for any project. This combination puts him squarely at the fore front of today’s film & television industry.


John Walton

John Walton

Director / Stunt Performer - (The Matrix Reloaded, Mad Max)

John Walton has directed and performed action and stunts for over 32 years, working on major productions both in Australia and across the globe. He is a true Aussie stunt legend with an impressive resume with highlights including ‘Mad Max’, ‘Elvis’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Ghosts in the Shell’, and many more.

His recent directorial debut for feature film, ‘The Last Zombie’, is set to deliver an action-packed comedy utilizing his range of expertise in stunts including horse trick riding, fire stunts and car/ motorcycle stunts.

Alex Kessel

Alex Kessel

Showrunner (Londongrad, Better Than Us)

Producer Alex Kessel founded Sputnik Vostok Production in 2010. The company creates a high quality series, TV shows, documentaries and feature films for the leading broadcasters and OTT-platforms.

They are the first Russian production that has landed at both an Amazon Prime and Netflix Original. The company’s creative portfolio includes original titles BETTER THAN US (Netflix Original, Channel One), THE COUNTED (Start.ru), LONDONGRAD (Amazon Prime, CTC Network), DOCTOR’S DIARY (CTC Network), LAST COP (Channel 5) and others.

Shirley Pierce

Shirley Pierce

Writer (The Saddle Club, Meet the Robinsons)

One of the top grossing writers in Australia, Shirley Pierce has worked as a Professional Screenwriter for the past three decades. Her work has had a cumulative box office gross of over a quarter of a billion US dollars. Among her countless works she has developed projects for MGM Studios, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures, where she worked on projects ranging from the Holocaust drama Misha to the animated films Dinosaur, Home on the Range and Meet the Robinsons.

Shirley has also worked on John Henry, which has won international film festivals and was a finalist in its category for an Academy Award nomination, as well as on an adaption of the opera Aida. Her magnificent work on Aida was the source material for Elton John's successful Broadway production.


Shiva Nassab

Shiva Nassab

Weed Road Pictures (Startrek)

Shiva Nassab is a Creative Executive at Weed Road Pictures, an MGM-based film and TV production company, founded by Academy-Award winning writer/producer, Akiva Goldsman (whose credits include A BEAUTIFUL MIND, I AM LEGEND and STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS.

Prior to Weed Road, she served as a member of Lionsgate's Motion Picture Development and Production team on films such as THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT starring Nicolas Cage, SHOTGUN WEDDING starring Jennifer Lopez and Eli Roth’s BORDERLAND’S starring Cate Blanchett and Kevin Hart.

An Australian native, Shiva grew up in Brisbane where she attended the Queensland University of Technology.

Kaylene Butler

Kaylene Butler

First Nations Producer (Black Snow)


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