The search for SWIFF’s next wave of regional filmmakers

Published on 04 June 2019

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The Screenwave International Film Festival’s youth development program, Nextwave, is on the search for the next wave of young regional filmmakers, including from the Snowy Valleys region.

Previously called REC Ya Shorts Youth Film Festival, Nextwave is host to Australia’s largest regional youth short film competition, now open to young creatives living outside a metro area.

Young filmmakers across regional Australia aged between 10 and 25 years old can create short films ranging from a variety of genres, including comedies, dramas, thrillers, animations, and lifestyle films and submit to the competition to win some amazing awards and prizes. Keen non-fiction creatives can also compete for the new Documentary Prize on offer, capturing real stories in their local communities.

Mayor James Hayes said Council is delighted to be working with Nextwave to inspire young people across the region to express their creativeness through short films, whilst developing new skills.

“Whether first-timers or budding film makers, I encourage all young people to get involved and take the opportunity to learn valuable insights from industry experts”, he said.  “With such diverse and creative youth across our region, I am eager to see what films our youth will create”.

The theme for 2019 is “DISCOVERY’ and the signature item to include is “GAME”. Films must also be under six minutes duration, including titles and credits and be PG or under. Submissions close September 23 at 11:59pm.

The top short film finalists will be selected to screen at the Nextwave Youth Film Awards at the Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) in Coffs Harbour in January 2020.

This year’s program will also see over 60 in-school filmmaking and mental health workshops come to schools throughout Regional NSW between May and August at high schools, universities, TAFEs, and youth centres, for students interested in learning what it’s all about behind the camera lens.

In 2018, a record 72 short films were created for the competition, with 20 finalists and winners reaching a wider audience at venues across regional Australia, as part of Youth Week 2019 celebrations.

“The creativity and originality in the films these young people produce is second-to-none. Many are first-timers or have a couple of short films under their belts. Over the years it has been a joy watching individual young filmmakers blossom and find their own creative voice,” said SWIFF Festival Director Dave Horsley.

Nextwave is co-presented by the Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) and Headspace Coffs Harbour, proudly supported by Southern Cross University, Create NSW, C.ex Group, Arts Mid North Coast, Snowy Valleys Council and the Regional Arts Fund, reaching thousands of young people around the country to find the next wave of Regional Australian filmmakers.

The 2019 Nextwave short film competition is now open, with entry information as well as workshops and youth weeks screenings at

For more media information contact Dave Horsley at [email protected] 

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