SUMMER on the Coffs Coast is synonymous with SWIFF - the Screenwave International Film Festival.
Wednesday the festival begins with a packed schedule of 90+ screenings between Coffs and Bellingen, special guests, film industry workshops and a public art spectacle.
Created by locals Dave Horsley and Kate Howat, SWIFF has grown to be one of the biggest film festivals in NSW outside of Sydney.
HERE are a few festival stand-outs. Check out the full program at swiff.com.au.
Cannes-winning art attack
Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, The Square is compulsive viewing for those who like their comedy darker than a long black. Featuring scene-stealers Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale and Mad Men) and Dominic West (The Wire), it focuses on a self-centred art museum curator who is beset by a host of troubles - including a less-than-successful online marketing campaign, a performance piece gone horribly awry, and a mugging. Written and directed by the mercilessly talented Swedish director Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure).
January 12, Jetty Theatre
The Go-Betweens star in town
A real treat for Go-Betweens fans and music-lovers, with the band's drummer Lindy Morrison attending both screenings for an audience Q&A. Robert Foster and Grant McLennan were literary singer-songwriters in the age of punk and, while loved by critics, ask any Go-Betweens fan and they'll tell you that they never saw the recognition they deserved. The Go-Betweens: Right Here tells the band's stories in their own words over more than three decades, with all the included successes, failures, romances, break-ups, betrayals, triumphs and tragedies.
4.30pm January 20 at Jetty Theatre; January 21, Bellingen Memorial
Live surf band double-act makes waves
Combining a surf documentary and a live surfie band playing the soundtrack, this is a summer film festival treat. For one-show only, this special screening of Men Of Wood And Foam is accompanied by a live soundtrack especially written for the film. Filled with archival footage and hilarious interviews, the film tells the story of the Brookvale Six - six NSW friends from the golden decade of surfing; pioneers who shaped not just boards but the history of surfing in Australia in the 70s and 80s, including Coffs's own surfing legend Scotty Dillon. The film's producer, veteran surf journo Phil Jarratt, will be at the screening for a live audience Q&A.
6.30pm Saturday, January 20, Jetty Theatre
Real-life heroes and drama
THE festival's documentary program offers the year's most provocative factual films.
Highlights include personal stories of discovery and growth in films such as Dina, It's Not Yet Dark and The Last Goldfish (filmmaker Su Goldfish will be in attendance), and against-the-odds triumphs with Bending the Arc and The Staging Post (with guest Muzafar Ali).
Meanwhile, The Work offers an extraordinary insight into a controversial group therapy program at Folsom State Prison, while Namatjira Project follows the battle of the descendants of one of Australia's most outstanding artists, Albert Namatjira, over the rights to his legacy.
Producer Sophia Marino will attend for an audience Q&A.
All-ages family cinema magic
Festival fun isn't just for grown-ups.
Family Animation films include April and the Extraordinary World, which will have curious minds racing as they follow scientist April and her talking cat through a steampunk sci-fi Paris.
Meanwhile, Oscar-nominated French directors will whisk imaginations away to high-tech New York for a classic tale of cops and robbers with the fantastical Phantom Boy.
For the high-school aged, My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea follows outsider high school newspaper journalists as they escape exactly what the title suggests.
Wolf Creek director double whammy
For two consecutive nights, Aussie director Greg McLean features at the Jetty Theatre with two very different films.
In a departure from his international renown as a fright master with Wolf Creek, McLean changes pace and goes into uncharted territory with Jungle, SWIFF's opening night
film, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
It tells the true survival story of a 22-year-old backpacker who becomes separated from his trekking group in the Bolivian jungle and is forced to stay alive alone for three weeks.
The following night, McLean takes the idea of a bad day at the office to a whole new level with The Belko Experiment.
Opening night Wednesday January 10; Thursday January 11, at Jetty Theatre
TO MAKE the festival easier to navigate, the SWIFF team has launched a new version of the festival app (available on both iPhone and Android), an e-ticketing system and festival program in your pocket.
To curb queues and as a courtesy to fellow film fans, as well as to enjoy savings, the team recommends buying multi-ticket passes ahead of the festival, and to check classifications before booking tickets.