Last Chance To Catch Flotsam Festival's Pixel Party Wave

Flotsam Festival’s two-week long surf film and photography pixel party rolls into its final weekend, with only three days left to catch the festival’s exhibitions and photo trail.

Events still to come include Flotsam Lightwaves ’23. In conjunction with the Surf Film Archive, step into a surf film x music experience with the classic A Winter’s Tale, photo projections, short edits and clips for a night of wall to wall surf imagery and live tunes with experimental five piece Luja Murfi. Phil Sheppard’s epic 1974 A Winter’s Tale will take you to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Hawaii and features a famous and not-so-famous cast of thousands.

Also on Friday, Flotsam’s International Surf Flick Fest will feature a dozen short films including the premiere of the much-lauded Hail Mary featuring Balaram Stack by Ben Gulliver. Other highlights include Yama by Lucy Small and Maddie Meddings, and global wave explorer Dylan Graves dropping by to deliver his highly-anticipated edit from his recent trip to the Bono or7 Ghosts', a wave in Indonesia created by a rare tidal phenomenon during a full moon. Chasing it comes with a long list of dangerous challenges – but also gifted Dylan a 5-minute ride that allowed 40+ turns and a couple of airs.

On Saturday, join Flotsam for an all-out double whammy retrospective of one of the Gold Coast’s most iconic surf film makers, Justin Gane, for a 20th Anniversary screening of Wanderjahr and the QLD Premiere of RE-PULSE . RE-PULSE was released when border lockdown were a thing, stopping the film from migratingover the border for the showing it deserves. Join Justin and a panel of surfers, collaborators and instigators as we travel back in time with some of his greatest masterpieces to discover the stories and influences behind both films. Gather your crew an experience these films as they were meant to be experienced – big screen, beverage in hand, and hooting alongside a crowd of mates.

On Sunday, the closing party of Flotsam Festival will be staged at Burleigh Barrels, when everything we love about home explodes on the big screen in a creative tsunami of film, photo and live tunes. Flotsam will be screening the finalists and crowning the winners of our Flotsam Surf Clip Comp, enjoying visuals for the region’s finest lensfolk, and announcing the winners of two major photography contests held in conjunction with Surfers 4 Climate and Art Roll drawing on the creme of the local creative crop. Over $5.5K in cash and prizes including a holiday with Bali Retreats, plus live music on the Blank Street Press Stage with Amy John Roberts.


The weekend will also be your last chance to catch internationally-acclaimed artist Craig Walsh’s collaboration with Flotsam called DRIFT. This new site-specific digital sculpture is responsive to environmental elements affecting the southern Gold Coast’s surf conditions like wave data and wind data in real time. For this early incarnation, the digital artwork takes the form of an abstract kinetic 3D sculpture which appears as sand particles moving around a defined architectural space as influenced by live data feeds.

Each evening of the festival at nightfall, the beachside of Coolangatta SLSC  hosts a portal into the DRIFT experience for audiences to freely view, no ticket required. Shifting and shaping in time to data feeds informed by bouys offshore, DRIFT reflects the unique environmental factors that contribute to the southern Gold Coast region’s infamous surf to create an evolving artwork that quite literally reflects and responds to place.

A new edition of Flotsam's Focal Point exhibition includes fenceline images, joining the exhisting series of spectacular photo installations that form a walkable outdoor gallery starting from Kirra groin and traversing Coolangatta beachfront, Greenmount headland, Rainbow Bay, Snapper Rocks and Point Danger. Informative captions tell the stories behind the images, with scannable QR codes for extra content. Focal Point’s 2023 fenceline component refresh includes a slew of images reproduced to appear as transparency mounts.

Images for both the installations and fence line component span across the eras, with featured surfers including an honour roll of some of the region’s finest like Stephanie Gilmore, Joel Parkinson, Pete Townend, Jason Buttonshaw, Bede Durbidge, Michael Peterson, Macey Callinan, Dimity Stoyle, Wayne Deane, Sam Yoon, Mia Francis, Sheldon Simkus, and Mick Fanning. The ever-illusive empty Gold Coast wave also features heavily, alongside several archival images of prominent landmarks. Focal Point will run for the duration of the Flotsam Festival.

Coolangatta’s iconic The Pink Hotel also plays host to a fence line exhibition If Walls Could Talk. Curated by Solua Middleton, the exhibition features famed filmmaker and water photographer Dick Hoole’s classic Gold Coast imagery. QR codes allow viewers to hear Dick’s commentary of each image, with the collection including images of Wayne Rabbit Bartholemew, Michael Peterson, Wayne Deane, and even a young Mick Fanning alongside an array of scenes from the region’s past.

Catch these exhibitions and more as Flotsam Festival draws curtains on a monumental 2023 program of surf film and photography.


Single Day Events Still To Come:


12 May Flotsam: International Surf Flick Marathon Scouring the planet for the best releases of ’23 for a multi-hour movie fest, this year’s lineup includes Hail Mary, Yama, a brand new edit from Dylan Graves, and many more. Tom Atkin Hall, Tugun (Ticketed)


12 May – Flotsam: Lightwaves Epic footage from Surf Film Archive, including the seminal A Winter’s Tale, and a lineup of atmospheric, soundtrack-worthy live sounds with experimental five piece, Luja Murfi. Tom Atkin Hall, Tugun, (Ticketed)


13 May - Surfrider x Flotsam Beach Cleanup Greenmount Beach (Free) 

13 May - Mobile Photography Photo Walk Media lecturer Rob Layton hosts a free walking photo workshop to learn skills to apply immediately while traversing the Flotsam Focal Point exhibition, Greenmount (Free) 

13 May – (Partner Event) Museum on Wheels surfboard display and archival images, Greenmount (Free) 

13 May - Justin Gane Retrospective: 20th Anniversary of Wanderjahr + Re-Pulse QLD Premiere, Coolangatta Hotel (Ticketed) 


14 May - Flotsam Homegrown Supporting emerging film-makers, showcasing local talent, and telling authentic local stories. The top ten finalists of the Flotsam surf clip comp will scoop the pool of cash + prizes. The evening will also feature photo comps with

Surfers 4 Climate and Art Roll.  Live music by Amy John Roberts.

Burleigh Barrels (Ticketed)

Multi Day Events:


1-14 May - Flotsam Focal Point Exhibition Outdoor photo exhibition that captures peak moments by top surf photographers and places them back in the vantage points they were taken from. Curated by Tim Baker, this series of installations tell the stories behind the images through informative captions and scanable QR codes for extra multimedia content. The photo trail traverses Kirra point, Coolangatta beachfront, Greenmount headland, Rainbow Bay, Snapper Rocks and Point Danger lookout. Featuring images from Simon Williams, Marty Tullemans, Andrew Shield, Fran Miller, Joli, Mal Sutherland, Ted Grambeau, Albe Falzon, and Tony Harrington, with fresh inclusions. Various beachside locations (Free)


1-14 May - Flotsam: DRIFT Devised by internationally-acclaimed artist Craig Walsh, DRIFT is a world first site-specific digital sculpture responsive to environmental elements affecting the southern Gold Coast’s surf conditions like wave data, wind direction and sand flow - in real time. The film projection digital artwork will take the form of abstract kinetic 3D sculpture made to appear as transient sand particles that physically occupy and move around a defined architectural space. Coolangatta SLSC (Free)


1-14 May - Trent Mitchell x Mysa Trent Mitchell’s black and white series/outdoor fenceline exhibition travels to a fresh new location, The Mysa Hotel (Free)


1- 14 May - If These Walls Could Talk  A site takeover of Coolangatta’s iconic Pink Hotel’s fenceline with a giant series of historic Gold Coast images from lens lord Dick Hoole. Hit the QR code, hear the banter. Pink Hotel, Coolangatta (Free)


1- 12 May - Flotsam ‘Now And Then’ Group Exhibition: Travel through time to see images from local surfing past and present. Featuring Mal Sutherland, Joli, Andrew Shield, Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre (Free)


1-14 May - Light Experiment Volume 3: Clementine Bourke exhibition, Love Street Café, Kirra  (Free)


1-14 May - Just Too Curious: Ella Tubman, Fizz HQ, Burleigh (Free)


1-14 May - She: Franziska Link Exhibition with water photography and projection from waterwoman, surfer, sailor and DOP Franziska Link, 4Pines Coolangatta (Free)


1-14 May - Element: Shell Bankier Barefoot Barista Palm Beach (Free)


1-14 May - Flotsam: Shades Black + White exhibition featuring Fiona Pyke, Tristam Evison, Jordan Keir/ Nugget Studios, Burleigh Barrels (Free)


1-14 May - Joe Larkin Retrospective Exhibition featuring handcrafted vintage surfboards, film footage & images celebrating Joe Larkin, one of Australia's pioneering surfboard makers. RBR Holidays, Rainbow Bay (Free)


1-14 May - Ted Grambeau’s Waves of Consequence The latest dispatch of awe-inspiring images from global explorer Grambeau, Dust Temple, Currumbin (Free)


1-14 May - Inner Atlas: Trent Mitchell explores man’s primordial relationship with the rhythms of the sea, and in a broader sense sunlight and water, our essential life bloods. Dust Temple, Currumbin (Free)


3-13 May - Ian & Erick Regnards Floating Bits With Floating Bits, Ian and Erick won International Photographers of the Year in New York at the International Photography Awards Special Category and numerous awards around the world since. The twin brothers achieved the (almost) impossible in 2007 by taking photos underwater whilst using a specially adapted large format 4×5 Polaroid film and medium format 6×6 film cameras, where only one shot could be taken at a time. Floating Bits has previously exhibited in Perth and Brisbane to great acclaim, and the unique, underwater format pioneered by Ian and Erick has featured in National Geographic. Art-Work Studios (Free)


For the full 2023 program visit:








DRIFT, Ted Grambeau’s Waves of Consequence, and Flotsam’s Focal Point exhibitions are supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. 

About Flotsam Arts

Flotsam Festival is a multi-site film and photography celebration inspired by surf culture. The third annual Flotsam Festival will run from Wednesday 1st May to Sunday 12th May, 2024. Flotsam Festival is presented by Flotsam Arts Inc., a not for profit association formed to create pivotal events that showcase the Gold Coast’s iconic surf culture through photo and film, and to create opportunities for photographic artists to extend their practice through mentorships, workshops and exhibition opportunities.

Flotsam Festival is supported by the City of Gold Coast, Experience Gold Coast, and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

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