This time of year is always exciting for Queensland film buffs with the Brisbane International Film Festival about to get underway. The festival has grown in stature with every year and the program of films and special events on offer this year is, once again, exceptional. From the much anticipated Queensland premiere of the controversy-laden Palme d’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour to Don Jon, the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to an array of features, shorts, documentaries and retrospectives from around the world, there should be something to please even the most fickle film fanatic.


Whilst there are a few pre-festival screenings scheduled from Monday, including Filth, the latest adaptation of an Irvine Welsh novel, the festival proper kicks off next Wednesday (November 13), with opening night film The Railway Man, the Australia/UK co-production directed by Jonathan Teplitzky (Getting’ Square, Burning Man) and starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.

Over 100 Films from throughout Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East will feature over the 10 days of the festival, along with the very best of contemporary cinema from throughout the region in the A Taste of Asia program. As always, there is a strong documentary component that, whilst covering topical subject matter such as Lance Armstrong, Pussy Riot and the Occupy Movement, will also explore a diverse range of people, places and events from across the globe.

The retrospectives will celebrate the careers of Russian master Andrey Tarkovsky, the Academy Award-winning director/producer team of James Ivory and Ishmael Merchant, and Australia’s own quiet achiever in Fred Schepisi. In fact, a program of Schepisi’s early short films will be followed by an in-conversation session with the man himself at the State Library.

Other special events scheduled for the festival include Open Air Cinema screenings at Southbank, the Walk-in Cinema program in conjunction with the Containerval Festival at Hamilton, an evening with Linda Blair to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist, the BIFF Factual and Documentary Conference and the Behind the Screen industry program of seminars and in-conversation sessions with filmmakers and industry professionals.

The Cinema Je T’aime program will feature a series of films that examine filmmakers and filmmaking and the way in which cinema shapes our experiences, with the likes of Michael Haneke and Bernardo Bertolucci amongst those profiled. For those seeking something a little different, Expanding Boundaries and The Late Shift have got you covered, while short film devotees will have five sessions to choose from featuring the best films from Queensland, Australia and around the world.

12 Years A Slave

The 2013 Brisbane International Film Festival runs from November 13 to November 24 and the closing night film on November 23 will be Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Screenings and events will take place at various venues around Brisbane including, for the first time, the Cinemateque at the Gallery of Modern Art. For more information about the festival, including the full schedule of events, click here to visit the BIFF website.