Understory Film Festival

We are pleased to announce the 6th annual Understory Film Festival will be held at Cairns' leading performing arts venue, Cairns Performing Arts Centre, on Saturday 23 November 2019.

Film submissions are now open and will close at 4pm Friday 11 October 2019.

Please note: If you are entering the High School Student Category your film must be submitted via a Teacher Liaison or Head of Department, at your school by Tuesday 8 October 2019.

Download the Application Form here. ( DOC, 0.4 MB )

Open to short films of any genre, last year's Festival attracted 47 entries across various disciplines from documentaries and narratives, to experimental film, music videos and animations.

Mayor Bob Manning said the calibre of films being produced for the competition showed the film industry is alive and well in the Far North.

“If the last 5 years are anything to go by, the judges are going to have a really tough time coming to a decision,” Cr Manning said.

“We always celebrate when a big-name star or production house announces they will film in the far north, but it’s pretty clear that we have plenty of exceptional talent right here.”

Councillor Linda Cooper said the awards provided a springboard for existing and emerging film makers to share their stories with a broader audience.

“I’m certain that there are hundreds of residents out there who have a movie idea but haven’t had the chance, or the conviction, to commit it to film,” Cr Cooper said.

“The short-film format, just 8 minutes, is a perfect starting point for those who have a story to tell.”

The duration of films can be a maximum of 8 minutes or less, including credits.

Shortlisted entries will be shown and the winners announced, with the final category, the People’s Choice Award, to be determined by the audience on the night.

Tickets for the awards night will go on sale in late September via Ticketlink.


WHEN: Applications are open now and will close on 11 October 2019 and 8 October 2019 for filmmakers entering the High School Student Category.

THE EVENT: Saturday 23 November 2019, Cairns Performing Arts Centre, 7pm.

Tickets on sale now via www.ticketlink.com.au

Understory Film Festival is presented by Cairns Regional Council’s Cultural Services.


Understory Film Festival, Cultural Services

P (07) 4032 6656

E cp@cairns.qld.gov.au


Cultural Services Publicity

P 0484 689 546

E publicity@cairns.qld.gov.au

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In 2018 the Understory Film Festival received a staggering 47 film submissions from film makers all over the Far North, showing a marked increase in both first time and student submissions as well as entries from long-standing Understory participants who have continued to support the festival over its 5-year history.

Luring primarily narrative shorts, the festival also attracted music videos, documentaries, experimental and animations. Ten awards were up for grabs which were decided by a panel of industry professionals. The awards included Best Film, Best Emerging Talent and two new award categories Best Screenplay and Best Use of Location, providing our regions filmmakers with further opportunity to be acknowledged for their work.

The Screening and Awards Night was held at Tanks Arts Centre on Saturday 13 October and was hosted by film and television industry heavy weights Aaron Fa’aoso (Lonestar Productions) and Douglas Watkin (Screen Queensland). Admission was free and all festival attendees were invited to vote for their favourite film in the People’s Choice award.

Prior to the evening’s festivities, a free Screen Industry Forum was held, where guest speakers Douglas Watkin, (Screen Queensland) and Aaron Fa’aoso (Lonestar Pictures) discussed their pathways in creating a sustainable career within the film industry. An informal networking event followed the forum.

See a full Awards List below:

Understory Film Festival is proudly presented by Cairns Regional Council, and acknowledges financial support from Screen Queensland through their Screen Culture Program, James Cook University, CQUniversity, GRMPA and Kite Fish Film.

Last updated: 16 September 2019