Coast Up in Lights for Sunny Coast Showdown

Image source: Photographer Katja Anton

Tarantino, Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg – all household names. Getting started appears easier than ever however getting noticed is a whole other story. John Caruso meets the rock star who’s keen to develop a film and television industry on the Sunshine Coast.  

He kept the band ‘in time’ for over two decades as a member of Powderfinger. Now, as a proud Sunshine Coaster Jon ‘Coggsy’ Coghill believes it’s time for talented locals and aspiring film makers to get together and drum up some noise for the region. It was an idea he spit-balled with former Nambour High schoolmate Dan Munday, a Noosa Heads bloke who delivered reality productions, most notably the global Survivor series for Mark Burnett in the United States and around the world. 

“I stupidly thought it would be easy to make a short film,” says Jon. “My idea was to get people to send us scripts and we’d simply shoot them on our DSLRs. That idea was quickly shot down.”

The Sunshine Coast Screen Collective is a group of screen professionals, living locally, who’d worked in the industry in various roles, in all corners of the world.

“They pooled their skills and knowledge, advocating for a film and television industry on the coast so Dan and I attended a few of their get-togethers and thought they’d be great to partner with,” explains Jon.

The suggestion from the Screen Collective was that any foray into developing and nurturing the next Campion, Edgerton or Weir should be delivered with a degree of professionalism. 

“That’s how Dan and I came up the Sunny Coast Showdown,” says Jon.

Entrants can submit a short film script, unscripted idea (such as a reality TV concept) or a pitch for a documentary or reality shows with submissions opening on Monday 23 January 2023.

“We’re also looking for submissions of treatments for music film clips,” Jon explains. “Six winners will be selected across those categories and their ideas will go into production, which means we’ll work with them to shoot and produce them over a three-month period and then screen them at a showcase festival at the end of June. 

“The winners in each category will be mentored by professionals who’ve had experience in those specific areas. For example, Dan has had extensive experience with reality shows, so he’ll take the lead in that category, and I’ll guide the winner with the music film clip,” explains Jon.

Powderfinger has donated two songs from their Vulture Street album, namely Rockin’ Rocks and A Song Called Everything. 

“If you want to enter the music film clip category, then you’ll be submitting a treatment for one of those two songs and if you’re successful, then we’ll produce that clip for you. The band won’t appear in it, however it’s a great way for aspiring talent to demonstrate their creative chops,” says Coggsy.

Last year was the inaugural Sunny Coast Showdown with 115 entrants, well beyond Jon and Dan’s expectations. 

“One of the new categories this time is the Indigenous Project with local Kabi Kabi elder Brian Warner helping as a production assistant, mentor, and guide in this category,” says Jon.

“As the name indicates, competitors should ideally be filmmakers who live locally, have team members that live in the region, or can demonstrate a connection to the coast. We’re not going to be ridiculously strict, however the idea is to incubate and encourage the local talent that’s already here.”

Submissions open 23 January 2023 and will culminate with the Sunny Coast Showdown Showcase Festival next June.

“We want the showcase to be a celebration of what we can make on the coast and the showcase is where we’ll be screening the completed projects, and that’ll be open to the public,” Coggsy proudly explains.

Sunny Coast Showdown is continuing into its second year because of volunteers and supporters, like Jon, Dan and the Screen Collective, patrons and sponsors who want to see a film and television industry develop and take off.

A nice future problem to have might be deciding whether the SUNNYWOOD sign would look better on Main Beach or the side of Mt Cooroora.


Submissions open: 23 January 2023
Submissions close: 20 February 2023
Entry Fee: $50

Scripted short films
Local indigenous project
Powderfinger music video
Unscripted projects

For more information on criteria, view previous showreels or register to be part of the cast and crew visit


You’re invited to the Rolls-Royce & Sunny Coast Showdown Cocktail Party!

In association with Rolls-Royce, Noosa Waterfront, Saturate, Hot 91, In Noosa Magazine & the Sunshine Coast Screen Collective.

Featuring: Showdown Co-Founders, Powderfinger’s Jon Coghill and US Survivor Producer Dan Munday, short films, auctions and fun.

This is your opportunity to become a Patron and Executive Producer of The Sunny Coast Showdown, a not-for-profit talent and idea incubator where successful local applicants receive funding, support and mentoring to develop and produce screen projects on the Sunshine Coast.

KICK-OFF: 5.30pm

Chat, champagne and sustainable canapés


Short Films

Mission Man – 7 pm

The Recipe Collector – 7:10 pm

AUCTION: 7.30pm 

1. A portrait of Australian surfer Mick Fanning as featured in the National Portrait Gallery by celebrity photographer Andrew Maccoll.

2. Prop paddle from the 2008 Survivor: Fans vs Favourites in Palau, Micronesia. Set in a recycled silky oak and hard wood frame and backed with original contestant buffs from 7 different seasons, the piece is signed by Jeff Probst. Truly one of a kind.

3. Powderfinger 2x platinum record plaque for album Golden Rule. Features artwork by Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath) and one of five platinum LPs of Golden Rule.

4. A private dining experience with Noosa Waterfront Head Chef Andrea Ravezzani. Three courses with matching wine for six people at your home.

WHERE: Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar, 142 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville
WHEN: Saturday 11 February, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
COST: $150 per person + BF

About the Author /

After 30 years in radio, John now runs the Conversations IN Noosa podcast and in between being our writer, sanity checker, accounts manager, event MC, and delivery boy; he spends time with his first love, recording a daily Drive program for regional radio from home (often in his pyjamas); and presenting Saturday mornings on Hot 91.1. He has previously worked for FoxFM Melbourne, Triple M Brisbane and SeaFM, as well as managing and presenting on ABC Sunshine Coast.

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