Australian Film Festivals Guide 2023

Film Festivals are happening just about every month in every capital city of Australia - and we've got the ultimate 2023 guide.

It’s a new year, which means a new festival calendar! Film festivals across the nation are gearing up for a jam-packed 2023 program, both in-person and online. Below we’ve got a bumper calendar list of what to watch out for.

In terms of major Australian film festivals, we kick things off in Sydney with its main film festival (SFF) in June, before heading to Canberra (CIFF) and Melbourne (MIFF) in August, Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF) in September, before the Adelaide (AFF) and Brisbane (BIFF) film festivals in October.

Aside from the big six, there’s a festival on almost every fortnight in any given corner of the continent. Films from Japan, or Taiwan, films from France, or Germany, Queer films, short films made on phones, animated films, films projected exclusively in a dome-shape… you name it, we’ve got it.

If you are interested in submitting your film project to a festival, Film Freeway lists the opportunities currently open in Australia, such as MIFF (deadline 31 January) and many more.

Do note that not all festivals listed here have confirmed their 2023 dates, or whether they will take place in an in-person or online format (or hybrid). We will aim to update the listings as the year goes on.

Jump to:


‘Luxembourg, Luxembourg’ is showing at the Europa! Europa Film Festival in 2023. Image: ForeFilms/Celluloid Dreams.

Bangalow Film Festival

Bangalow, Byron Bay NSW: 12-23 January

-A wide range of diverse and inclusive screenings along with an immersive program of art exhibitions, panels, music and plenty more.

Capricorn Film Festival

Yeppoon, Queensland: 18-21 January

-Feature film, documentary and short film premieres, performance and visual art experiences and networking.


Bondi, NSW: 20-29 January

-Short films with a focus on local talent. Australia’s only Academy® Qualifying & BAFTA Qualifying short film festival.

Screen Presence 23 – Chinese New Year Film Festival

Melbourne: 27 January

-Chinese, Australian and Chinese-Australian films to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Dome Under Film Festival at the Planetarium

Melbourne: 4-5 February

-Large-scale art and science films presented in the Melbourne Planetarium dome.

Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival

Sydney: 15 February-2 March

-LGBTQIA+ films relating to theme ‘Awaken your Senses’, and the 30th anniversary of the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Europa! Europa

Melbourne and Sydney: 16 February-7 March

-The latest and greatest films made in Europe and by European directors.

WA Made Film Festival

Perth: 17-26 February

-Western Australia’s biggest, independently operated film festival featuring only WA-made films

Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF)

Melbourne: 23-27 February

-Feature-length and short films made by and for women, trans and non-binary folk.

Melbourne Science Fiction Film Festival

Melbourne: 23-26 February

-Science fiction features and short films, from Australia and abroad

Antenna Documentary Festival

Sydney: Unconfirmed dates, usually takes place in February

-Feature-length and short documentaries from around the world.

Transitions Film Festival

Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney: Unconfirmed dates, usually takes place in February

-Feature films and documentaries with a focus on the future

ReelGood Film Festival

Melbourne: Unconfirmed, usually March

-Australian short films in a fun day of music, drinks and film

Stellar Short Film Festival

Langwarrin, Victoria: 4 March

-A carefully curated fusion of film, food and beverages, art and entertainment, at the McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery

Alliance Française French Film Festival

Sydney: 1 March – 6 April
Melbourne: 3 March – 17 April
Canberra: 2 March – 17 April
Perth: 9 March – 10 April
Brisbane: 16 March – 13 April
Adelaide: 24 March – 26 April
Byron Bay: 10 April – 20 April
Victor Harbour: 4 April – 11 April
Hobart: 9 March – 20 March

-The latest and greatest in French films and films by French directors.

Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC)

Melbourne: 5-8 March

-Documentaries that focus on the theme ‘Agents of Change’, as part of a wider forum on documentary filmmaking.

Perth Queer Film Festival

Perth: 8-14 March

-LGBTQIA+ films and filmmakers.

Travelling Film Festival Ulladulla

Ulladulla: 10-12 March

South Asian Film Festival in Australia (SAFFA)

Sydney: March 17-19

-A film festival celebrating South East Asian cinema and creatives across the diaspora.

Birrarangga Film Festival

Naarm/Melbourne: 23-28 March

-A celebration of Indigenous filmmakers from across the globe, showcasing their unique stories.

Australia Womens Film Festival (AWFF)

Sydney: Unconfirmed dates, usually takes place around February to March

-Films with a female focus that pass the Bechdel Test.

Persian Film Festival

Sydney: Unconfirmed, usually March to April

-Films in the Persian language and by Persian filmmakers.

Inner West Film Fest

Inner West Sydney: 31 March – 2 April

 -Local and international films, special events and filmmaker talks 


The Gold Coast Film Festival will take place from 19 April 2023. Image: GCFF.

Fantastic Film Festival Australia (FFFA)

Melbourne & Sydney: April

-Showing the latest and greatest in cult, genre and arthouse cinema.

International Multicultural Film Festival

Melbourne, Sydney and Perth: 5-31 April

-Films made by anyone telling stories about Australia’s rich diversity

Gold Coast Film Festival

Gold Coast: 19-30 April

-Feature films, shorts and panels for Gold Coast movie lovers.

Geelong Pride Film Festival

Geelong: 20-30 April

-LGBTQIA+ films.

Melbourne Short Film Festival

Melbourne: April/May

-Short films, both local and international.

Screenwave International Film Festival

Coffs Harbour & Bellingen: 20 April – 5 May

-Feature films and documentaries.

Southwest Asian and North African Film Festival (SWANA)

Sydney: 28 – 30 April

 -Showcasing 20 unique films from Southwest Asia and North Africa

Moro Spanish Film Festival

Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Byron Bay: Unconfirmed, usually April/May

-The best cinema from Spain and Latin America.

Sydney World Film Festival

Sydney: Unconfirmed, usually May

-The best of world independent cinema

Melbourne International Animation Festival

Melbourne: 7-14 May

-Animated films for kids and adults.

Setting Sun Film Festival

Yarraville, VIC: 11-21 May

-The premier international film festival in Melbourne’s West and one of the largest short film festivals in Melbourne.

Very Short Film Festival

Tasmania: 26 May

-Two to five-minute films relating to the theme ‘chip’.

South African Film Festival

Australia & New Zealand: May

-South African films, and films by South African directors.

World Monologue Film Festival

Online only: May

-Films featuring only one-take monologues.

Children’s International Film Festival (CHIFF)

Melbourne and Sydney: May/June

-CHIFF brings a curated selection of feature and short local and international cinema dedicated to the youngest film buffs.

German Film Festival

Various cities:

Sydney: 24 May – 19 June
Canberra: 25 May – 19 June
Melbourne: 25 May – 19 June
Brisbane: 1 – 22 June
Adelaide: 2 – 22 June
Perth: 2 – 22 June
Byron Bay: 3 – 19 June

-The latest and greatest German films and films by German directors.

St Kilda Film Festival

St Kilda (Vic): 1-11 June

-New, locally-made and international short films.

Sydney Film Festival (SFF)

Sydney: 7-18 June

-Major film festival showcasing features, shorts, documentaries and guest speakers from all over the world.

Castlemaine Documentary Festival

Castlemaine (VIC): 16-19 June.

-Held at Castlemaine’s iconic Theatre Royal, the festival offers a curated program of superb Australian and international non-fiction films.

The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival

Winton (Qld): 23 June-1 July

-Australian Outback-inspired films by locals, and with a focus on First Nations storytellers.


MIFF is coming back to the iconic Forum and other classic venues in 2023. Image: MIFF archives.

Carlsberg Scandinavian Film Festival

Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Byron Bay: Unconfirmed, usually July

-The best films from Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland).

Revelation Perth International Film Festival

Perth: 12-16 July

-Independent films, both local and from all over the world.

Taiwan Film Festival in Australia

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra: 20 July-20 August

-Feature films and shorts from Taiwan and by Taiwanese directors.

Canberra International Film Festival

Canberra: Unconfirmed, usually August

-Major film festival showcasing features, shorts, documentaries and guest speakers from all over the world.

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)

Melbourne: 3-20 August

-Major film festival showcasing features, shorts, documentaries and guest speakers from all over the world.

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM)

Melbourne: 12-20 August

-The best of Indian cinema.

Far South Film Festival

Merimbula, NSW: August 19-27

-Showcases stories told by regional and remote filmmakers from around Australia.

CinefestOZ Film Festival

Margaret River (WA): 29 August-3 September

-The latest and greatest Australian films.

Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA)

Sydney: 24 August-16 September

-The latest and greatest Korean films, from Korea and by Korean directors.

Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA)

Launceston: 1-3 September

-A place-based festival showing world films in cinema, historic houses and unusual venues.

Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF)

Sydney: 7-10 September

-A not-for-profit festival that screens underrepresented features, documentaries and shorts.

Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF)

Darwin: from 14 September

-Major film festival showcasing features, shorts, documentaries and guest speakers from all over the world.

The (new) Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF)

Melbourne: 25-26 September

-Films that are strange, daring, experimental, avant-garde and indefinable, radical, subversive, transgressive, unorthodox and weird.

St. Ali Italian Film Festival

Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Byron Bay: 21 September-18 October

-The best of Italian cinema, from Italy and by Italian directors.

A Night of Horror International Film Festival

Newton, NSW: 28 September – 1 October

-Australia’s longest running showcase of horror and dark genre cinema, A Night of Horror International Film Festival is back for its 15th year this September.

Read: A Night of Horror Film Festival: a chat with fest director Bryn Tilly

Japanese Film Festival (JFFA)

Sydney: 30 September – 31 October

-The latest and greatest Japanese films, from Japan and by Japanese directors.


The Adelaide Film Festival returns to cinemas from 18 October 2023. Image: AFF.

Irish Film Festival Australia

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra: 5 October – 5 November

-The best in film from Ireland and in the Irish language.

Read: Irish Film Festival Australia launches 2023 program

SXSW Sydney – Screen Festival

Sydney: 15-22 October

-One jam-packed week where innovation, music, screen, tech, and gaming converge for unexpected discoveries.

Read: SXSW Sydney screen festival line-up

Byron Bay Film Festival

Byron Bay, NSW: 20-29 October

-Major international and local features, docos and more

Read: Miriam Margolyes named Byron Bay Film Festival judge

Czech and Slovak Film Festival

Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Online: 5-8 October

-Modern Czech and Slovak live-action features and animated films

Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival

Gympie, QLD: 6-8 October

-International short films, Q&A’s and masterclasses in the heart of Gympie

Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Melbourne & Sydney: Unconfirmed, usually October

-A short program of Russian films, from Russia and by Russian directors.

Monster Fest

Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane: 12-22 October

-New films that fall under the genres of horror, science fiction, fantasy, dark drama and black comedy.

Adelaide Independent Film Festival (AIFF)

Adelaide: 14 October

-Over a dozen short films from local, national and international filmmakers 

Adelaide Film Festival (AFF)

Adelaide: 18-29 October

-Major film festival showcasing features, shorts, documentaries and guest speakers from all over the world.

Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF)

Brisbane: Unconfirmed, usually October, November

-Major film festival showcasing features, shorts, documentaries and guest speakers from all over the world.

Jewish International Film Festival

Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth: 23 Oct – 6 Dec

-The latest Jewish films, made by and for people with Jewish heritage.

Environmental Film Festival of Australia

Melbourne: Unconfirmed, usually October/November

-Features, documentaries, short films and experimental cinema that focuses on the environment and/or climate change.

Veterans Film Festival

Sydney: Unconfirmed, usually November

-Recent works by veterans or with veterans’ themes including films, masterclasses, art exhibitions, filmmaker Q&As and other events.

Cunard British Film Festival

Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth: 1 – 29 November

Brisbane, Canberra, Byron Bay: 2 – 29 November.

-British feature films and shorts that celebrate the UK’s filmmakers and actors. 

Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF)

Melbourne: 9-19 November

-LGBTQIA+ films.

Sydney Women’s International Film Festival

Sydney: 27-29 November

-A film festival for women created by women where female filmmakers are supported and celebrated.

Understory Film Festival

Cairns: Unconfirmed, usually November

-Cairns’ very own locally produced short film festival.

Made in the West

Western Sydney (NSW): November

-Dedicated to screening Western Sydney films on the big screen.

SmartFone Flick Fest (SF3)

Sydney and online: November

-Short films made entirely on smartphones.

Palestinian Film Festival of Australia

Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Brisbane: Unconfirmed, usually November

-Showcases a selection of Palestinian films from around the world.

Sydney Lift-Off Film Festival

Sydney: Unconfirmed, usually November/December

-A global showcase for filmmakers looking to have their work acquired by distributors.

TBA for 2023

These festivals may or may not be on hold for the year, but do check back to see if any updates have been announced.