Broome’s Film Festivals and Outdoor Screenings


Broome locals will likely share stories about their early memories at Sun Pictures theatre in Broome. Old black and white photographs depict floodwaters coming right up to its doors before a levee bank was constructed in 1974.

Roebuck Bay, Broome and Kimberley Region in Western Australia boast extraordinary biodiversity; we aim to raise global awareness and take actions for conservation through film screenings of feature-length and short films.

Sun Pictures

Sun Pictures pioneered outdoor movie viewing long before drive-ins or beanbag-heavy moonlight cinemas could even exist. Since opening on 9 December 1916, its picture garden attracted locals and visitors eager to relax in deck chairs beneath an illuminated night sky and watch movies accompanied by silent film classics complete with pianist accompaniment. Sun Pictures became an essential meeting place for pearlers; many romances took place here before marriages were formed here.

In 1924, ownership changed hands but continued as a cinema until Japanese Zero bombers struck Broome two days before in March 1942. At that point, it was sold off and bought by Alfred Morgan and Ruby Morgan who kept it family owned until 1982 when Lord Alistair McAlpine bought it outright.

Today, it is listed on the Western Australian State Heritage Register and continues to function as a purpose-built picture garden. Current owners Marisa Ferraz and Ross de Wit are passionate about keeping it an integral part of their community, and actively pursue ways to preserve this unique Australian icon while keeping it operational as part of life in Western Australia.

Mangrove Hotel provides an idyllic backdrop for screening short films by local filmmakers about Roebuck Bay’s unique natural and cultural values. Offering six categories to select from, the 2023 Mud and Saltwater Short Film Fest seeks to raise worldwide awareness of Roebuck Bay (an international Ramsar site), Broome, and Kimberley as areas with rich biodiversity.

On Friday June 2nd, the winning entries will be featured at the Festival’s premiere event and judged by Neil Turner of Pilbara and Kimberley Aboriginal Media; Paul Bell owner of Feral Films; and Wajarri/Yawuru multidisciplinary storyteller Ngaire Pigram (pronouns she/they).

Mangrove Hotel provides multiple screenings each night (unlike most outdoor cinemas which only show one), making this experience perfect for getting together with friends, unwinding under the stars, and enjoying snacks or wine with other attendees. Be sure to arrive early so as to secure a spot under their canopy or park bench seating area!

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Roebuck Bay Screenings

This 2021 festival commemorates Roebuck Bay, Broome and Kimberley WA through short films and features. Timed to coincide with World Environment Day, its goal is to build worldwide awareness of these unique places through cinematic storytelling. Filmmakers of all levels are welcome to share their vision of its natural, cultural and heritage assets through this festival.

At this premiere event, local filmmakers get to witness their films for the first time on a big screen and share inspiration with one another. Winners will be announced at the end of the night; genres range from documentaries about Staircase to Moon to romantic comedies set at local bars.

Sun Pictures in Broome’s Chinatown is an exquisite corrugated iron building with louvred verandahs that opened on 9 December 1916 and quickly became the center of entertainment in Broome. Featuring marble soda fountain, confectionery bar, cane & deck chair seating as well as silent movies complete with piano accompaniment; Sun Pictures quickly became the go-to spot for entertainment in Broome during that era of silent movies.

As an unforgettable way to experience this breathtaking event, VIP passes offer unparalleled access to this experience. They include event entry and access to the Floating Lantern Matsuri VIP lounge featuring unobstructed sunset views as well as a Paspaley floating lantern kit from Paspaley – as well as unlimited drinks during the event and Pica’s Kitchen Japanese canapes served throughout. However, tickets tend to sell quickly so be sure to secure them early! This experience always sells out fast so secure your tickets now to avoid missing out!

As the full moon illuminates the floats, there will be live music performances. For an extra splash, dress in brightly-colored costumes and join the dance party. Don’t miss the Shinju Matsuri Arts Awards either; these exciting events celebrate Broome’s culture, history, and people against a stunning backdrop of crystal-white sands and turquoise waters – as well as viewing an exciting camel conga line along picture-perfect Cable Beach or discovering ancient dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point!

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South of Perth lies a boutique film festival which showcases Australian films in local venues. Boasting Australia’s largest film prize at $100,000, as well as screenings, events, discussions with filmmakers and discussions between audiences and filmmakers, its audience has expanded significantly since 2008. Visitors flock to Western Australia’s spectacular beaches, forests and cave systems while enjoying exquisite local cuisine and wines at this spectacular destination event.

The festival offers an engaging program, catering to audiences of all types with laugh-out-loud comedies and gripping dramas that span laugh-out-loud comedies to dramas that keep audiences on edge, topical social and environmental issues and celebrating Indigenous stories. Premieres for films such as Loveland and We Are Still Here will take place as well as short films being showcased, In Conversation dining events as well as free industry, school and community workshops and screenings.

IndigifestOZ is an integral component of the festival, featuring some of the finest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmaking. The goal is to support and foster new Australian filmmakers. Over its history, IndigifestOZ has helped numerous Australian filmmakers become successful film-makers while changing how people view Aboriginal culture.

As part of the festival, a short film competition is hosted, with winning films being shown at the Premiere. Judged by professional filmmakers, winners are announced at this point – providing young filmmakers an invaluable opportunity to take part and gain exposure through participation.

Film Festival of Broome also hosts the Mud and Saltwater Short Film Fest, showcasing short films about Roebuck Bay and Kimberley region. Films will be screened at Mangrove Hotel with stunning views of Roebuck Bay; run by Mud and Saltwater Short Film Society which is an all-volunteer organisation located at Pearl Farm and Museum in Broome.

At its tenth edition, this festival will commemorate Australia’s vibrant filmmaking legacy across Western Australia with premieres and events held across cinemas, wineries, small bars and galleries across Western Australia. Additionally, Goolarri Media (which is wholly Aboriginal-owned) also makes appearances during this exciting film event! The prize for best film awarded at this festival stands at $100,000; further enhancing its impressive reputation.

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Broome Fringe Festival

The Broome Fringe Festival is an annual event celebrating local talent in music, theater, comedy and visual art. Additionally it hosts various community events like art trails, cabarets and workshops to provide participants with an opportunity to get acquainted with Broome community members.

The Festival offers an eclectic blend of indigenous experiences, music extravaganzas, unique delicacies and film festivals – perfect for culture vultures. Fringe Festival brings together cultures ranging from Aboriginal traditions and Asian influences through early settler heritage all set against stunning landscapes – an absolute must-visit when visiting Broome in June!

This year’s program boasts several exciting new events, such as the premier of the 2023 Mud and Saltwater Short Film Fest. This festival will showcase 21 entertaining short films shot around Broome, Roebuck Bay, Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley region. This exciting premiere will take place at Mangrove Hotel with seating capacity for 800 people for an exciting viewing experience seated alongside Roebuck Bay itself – perfect for an under the stars viewing experience seated beside one of Roebuck Bay’s world renowned beaches!

Broome Fringe Festival, with performances by local and international artists, is an irresistible treat for culture enthusiasts. As an event that honours grassroots creativity, it marks the start of dry season for Broome residents while supporting sustainable cultural economies across Australia.

Broome’s famous mudflats host an extraordinary natural phenomenon known as the “Staircase to the Moon.” This occurs when a full moon rises over exposed mudflats during low tide, creating the magnificent optical illusion of a staircase leading up to it and must-see experience for visitors of Broome.

Broome Festival runs annually between April and October and is an unforgettable spectacle, drawing in thousands of visitors from all around the globe. View it best from an ideal viewing spot such as the town beach or golf course; additional attractions may also include local markets or food stalls.