Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival is the biggest short film festival in rural Australia with 140 short films, masterclasses, events and panels over 4 days in Gympie, Queensland.

Celebrated as ‘triumphant’ by Australia’s ScreenHub, our festival is dedicated to inspiring and connecting audiences through short films that champion the richness of the human spirit. The small town of Gympie comes alive with film lovers from far and wide every October in a joyous celebration of storytelling.

The festival glows with a widely-renowned mix of country hospitality and global ideas—offering homestays and transport for visiting filmmakers, engaging conversations with interviewers and locals, and plenty of opportunity to party late with filmmakers, speakers, hosts and locals at the festival’s own Golden Bar. See the thoughts of some of our previous filmmakers in the reviews below.

In 2020 Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival offers a prize pool of $5000 AUD value; selected shorts compete for a range of jury awards, including Best Short Film, Best Australian Short Film, Best Student Short Film, Best Cinematography and Best Script.

Our unique selection process involves submitted films being viewed by multiple screener groups across Queensland, who feedback their thoughts and shortlist a selection for the Festival Director. This inclusive process catches niche gems and represents a broader spectrum of film taste.

‘Heart of Gold is a rare festival, in that its remit is focused but also their quality of content that they screen is stellar.’ (Festival Formula)

Heart of Gold lovingly curates sessions of short films from all genres that best capture our vision to screen films that are heart-warming, thought-provoking and entertaining. The films can be edgy, they can be groundbreaking and they can be downright hilarious – as long as they beat with a good, strong heart. The film festival's four-day program includes up to 30 sessions of brilliant short films, acclaimed features, parties, live music, filmmaker Q+A’s, interactive masterclasses and hearty discussions with delicious food and wine.

In 2020 Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival are offering a prize pool of $5000 AUD value; selected shorts compete for a range of jury awards, which this year include but is not limited to: Best Short Film, Best Australian Short Film, Best Student Short Film, Best Cinematography and Best Script.

1. Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival is open to all film genres and films from all countries. However, film content should be in line with the festival’s ethos and vision. We are seeking films that are: positive, hilarious, witty, whimsical, nourishing, well-crafted, inspiring, thought-provoking, entertaining, joyous, uplifting, quirky, enlightening, ground breaking.

If you are unsure of eligibility, please contact program@heartofgold.com.au

2. The producer grants the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival the rights to:
(a) Exhibit the film at the 2020 Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival.
(b) Exhibit the film at any tour, screening or event which is organised by or affiliated with Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival in the six months prior to and the twelve months subsequent to the 2020 Festival.
(c) Reproduce the film for inclusion as part of a compilation.
(d) Exhibit the film either in part or in total for promotional purposes.

Please contact program@heartofgold.com.au should you wish to discuss these terms further. Some flexibility is possible depending on circumstances.

3. The producer warrants to the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival that they have obtained all the necessary permissions to enter this film and that the film does not infringe the rights, including copyright, of any third party. This includes the use of music and literary material (i.e. if your film is based on a novel or poem).

4. Entries will not be considered valid until the entry fee has been paid in full. The entry fee is non-refundable.

5. Entries cannot be withdrawn after submission.

6. If your film is selected for the competition you will be sent a letter of confirmation from no later than Friday 28 August, 2020. Digital master files must be received by 14 September 2020.

7. Materials submitted in the initial entry process will not be returned.

8. Films in languages other than English must be supplied with English subtitles.

9. The Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival will only screen productions finished As a high-resolution Apple ProRes, H.264 or MP4 digital file (the following codecs will NOT be accepted FLV, WMV, AVI, or any low res files). Please also ensure your films are supplied with a stereo mix only and not a Dolby 5.1 mix) To ensure your entry is screened correctly, you must also include ratio details (e.g. 1920 x 1080). Unfortunately we cannot screen DCPs.

10. Please do not send a DVD directly to the festival.

Please note: ENTERING A FILM IN THIS FESTIVAL IMPLIES THE ACCEPTANCE OF THESE REGULATIONS. Contact program@heartofgold.com.au with any concerns.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Annabel Vine

    I was gutted that I could not attend this film festival as it looked like an inspiring and intelligent program set in a wonderful location. I was so happy that my film Granbad was selected.

    May 2020
  • Danielle Hastie

    I loved attending this festival! The organisers and locals were absolutely brilliant in making sure filmmakers were looked after. I didn't take advantage of the opportunity to do a home-stay and I wish I had - next time! It's an authentic and intimate film festival in that it's run by hospitable locals and its all about talking about the stories we love (rather than the awards or red carpet). Awards are great but it's a 'people' festival - with heart. Really down to earth and fun.

    November 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Hi Danielle :) thanks for your review, I am thrilled that you had the experience we were hoping to give to filmmakers. I'll pass this onto the team and looking forward to seeing you and another Heart of Gold festival.

  • This was a great film festival. I was proud and humbled to be selected with the quality of the films in the program.

    I flew up from Melbourne and was picked up by one of the volunteers who was super friendly and made it a great drive up.

    I overdosed on five sessions of short films and three workshops. As an official selection I was given a Gold Pass that gained me free admission to all of these.

    Great networking with a bunch of other filmmakers, great communication and great hospitality from the organisers.

    I hope I'll have something for them next year.

    I rated them five stars in everything!! A great lot of fun.

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you Tom, our festival is delighted you were able to attend. One of the key focuses of our festival is providing a great welcome and ongoing hospitality to our filmmakers, so we love that you have found it to be just so. Thanks for taking the time to let us know. Tom, we look forward to viewing your next submission. :) . Paula Jayne

  • Jane Hampson

    Such a great festival. So organised, a real party atmosphere. Loved being part of a great program of films.

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Jane, I am glad that you had a brilliant time. We did build on the social networking elements at this festival from previous years and will continue to do so for the future. ' Thanks for your review :) See you in 2020. Paula Jayne

  • Matthew Young

    I am so glad that I flew up from Sydney and raced back in time having just been overseas attending another festival in Germany only days before the Heart of Gold festival dates. I am absolutely mind-blown by the value I received by attending the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival. Not only was I treated like a VIP in the town, but I made a large number of meaningful connections with not only other filmmakers from around Australia (ranging from WA to Melbourne to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and even my home Sydney) but also having gotten to know countless Gympie locals and volunteers and guests of the festival who come from around the region. I now feel obliged to visit the town and the region (including Brisbane), literally just to keep up the brilliant friendships, conversations and ideas that formed over the 4 festival days together. I'm even motivated to set one of my next projects in the region, as an opportunity to continue my relationships with this festival's wide-reaching community beyond the scope of the festival. Of course, I most certainly hope to be selected again with future projects, and I will definitely attend again if so! Filmmakers who don't attend this one, are really missing out!

    I did experience some trouble when corresponding with this festival, when trying to organise my travel plans and also so that I could pass on clear and concrete information about my film's screening(s) to my team. As a result, I had to book my flights rather blindly (think I booked the last seat on the plane available too) without concrete information as to my screening dates which changed from 2 to 1. As a result, I could only provide my project team with concrete information rather late in the piece which would have been quite complicated for them to organise whether they could also attend the festival. I also cancelled my airport to Gympie shuttle transfer, because the festival organised a free pick up from the airport (which was really nice of them!!).

    I'm so glad to now be part of the Heart of Gold community, the home-stay was amazing and I felt really taken in by the whole community.

    October 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Hi Matthew, thanks for your generosity in providing the time to review our festival. We can then tweak our systems to ensure smooth running for 2020. :)