The Screenwave International Film Festival is held each Summer in Coffs Harbour and Bellingen with over 100 film sessions showcasing screen culture from around the world.  The Film Festival, held each Summer on the Coffs Coast, has announced its fifth program – and it’s stacked.

A record seventy different feature films are set to draw thousands of film lovers again into Coffs Harbour and Bellingen from all over Australia between 9 and 24 January 2020, heralding in a new decade with directors, producers, actors, and writers flowing into the region to present their films.

Together with lead sponsor Ashton Designs, SWIFF 2020 will present over 100 feature film sessions, along with the festival’s signature SWIFF Live events program combining live performance with projection. Audiences will be able to see light-bending live music projection art performances by Alon Ilsar, a world first arctic surf film live soundtrack event performed by Headland, and kicking off the festival on January 9th Opening Night will be Taika Waititi’s new anti-hate Nazi satire, Jojo Rabbit.

The Summer film fest’s line-up is broken down into themed sub-strands (for easier consumption!). Audiences will be able to delight in World Cinema, International Documentaries, a 100th birthday retrospective of Federico Fellini called I Dream of Fellini, an addictive cult program called Let’s Talk About Sects, Australian Cinema, Music & The Makers, Ireland Calling, and the Wild Sides genre film program.

To round out the line-up, SWIFF will present a number of special events including the Nextwave Youth Film Awards, National Theatre Live: Fleabag, SWIFF Industry Connect filmmaker networking session, and a 40th Anniversary interactive screening of Flying High (Airplane!) called Surely You Can’t Be Serious.

SWIFF is produced by Screenwave and over 30 sponsors on the Coffs Coast, New South Wales, Australia.

2020 Headliner films announced

Festival guests include APSA and AACTA-winning director Rodd Rathjen (pictured left, Buoyancy), SXSW Grand Jury-prize winning director Josephine MacKerras (Alice), Partho Sen Gupta & Rachel Blake (Slam), and Sydney Film Prize-winning documentarian Sascha Ettinger-Epstein (Life After The Oasis).

Key film highlights

The southern fried Mark Twain buddy wrestling film The Peanut Butter Falcon, award magnet French character drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire, stirring Balkan sustainability documentary Honeyland, Palme d’Or-nominated Ken Loach film Sorry We Missed You, Palme d’Or winning alumni Hirokazu Kore-eda’s star-studded French language debut The Truth, along with one of the first screenings in Australia of master filmmaker Terrence Mallick’s new German film A Hidden Life.

Comedies Films

This year comedies include The Art of Self Defense (including a career-best performance by Jesse Eisenberg),

To round out the line-up, SWIFF will present a number of special events including the Nextwave Youth Film Awards, National Theatre Live: Fleabag, SWIFF Industry Connect filmmaker networking session, and a 40th Anniversary interactive screening of Flying High (Airplane!) called Surely You Can’t Be Serious

Red Carpet premieres

The line-up also includes the Australian Premieres of Cumar: A Galway Rhapsody, Always In Season, and Gaspar Noe’s newly released cut of Irreversible: Inversion Integrale, along with the World Premiere of Bellingen-based documentarian Ryan Jasper Walsh’s debut feature film Monks of the Sacred Valley – a controversial doco shot in Tibet, uncovering the demolition of Tibetan monks’ homes – the victim of China’s push towards modernisation.


Film Pass Picks – Kate Howat

“I’m actually overwhelmed by the choice of films on offer for the 2020 program. I’m pressed to select just 12, but here goes…

“There are some films in the festival that walk to their own beat – films that are unique, unconventional and challenging – but all command to be seen on the big screen. Here’s my pick for my first 12 pass (because one 12 Pass just won’t do!)”

  • In Fabric
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • The Art of Self Defense
  • Beats
  • Buoyancy
  • The Nightingale
  • Slam
  • Honeyland
  • Monos
  • Dark Whispers Vol. 1
  • For Sama
  • Midsommar: Directors Cut


The full SWIFF 2020 program is available at, down load the App or pick up a printed festival program.

Film passes are a great way to save dollars.  Click here to buy your film pass.