The recent announcement that a brand new Queensland Film Festival will be staged in July this year will no doubt go some way to placating those still lamenting the loss of the Brisbane International Film Festival. Replaced by the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival, BIFF was by far the most significant film event in Brisbane each year and its demise has left a considerable void with regard to opportunities for audiences to see quality independent and international films, short films, classics, retrospectives, themed programs and Q&A sessions. With the BAPFC focussing, obviously, on films and filmmakers from the Asia-Pacific region, productions emanating from other parts of the world no longer had an outlet through which they secure access to Queensland audiences. There are tremendously good films produced each year within the Asia-Pacific and the BAPFC is certainly a significant event for Brisbane, but it is very much limited in its scope given its affiliation with the annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
With the newly announced Queensland Film Festival dedicated, according to its website, “to screening the best of contemporary international cinema,” local film fanatics can hopefully look forward to again seeing some of the best films produced each year in all regions of the world.
Announcing the event, festival organisers have declared that the Queensland Film Festival will be “an annual international festival championing excellence and variety in cinema” that will “showcase the very best in film from around the world” and “offer a truly immersive festival experience”. Furthermore, “screenings will be supplemented by events and conversations that take the love of film beyond the cinema, including panel discussions and in-foyer chats with local and visiting critics, scholars, and filmmakers.” It certainly sounds very exciting and it will very interesting to see how it all unfolds in the weeks ahead.
Scheduled to run from July 24 to 26, the Queensland Film Festival will be hosted at the refurbished New Farm Six Cinemas, with more than a dozen feature films on the inaugural program, along with a selection of short films. Films already announced include Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy, Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy, and The Forbidden Room from Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson.
Film critic and cultural icon David Stratton is the QFF patron, which certainly lends the festival considerable credibility long before the projectors start rolling. Of course, whether the QFF can ever reach the heights of the BIFF remains to be seen, but hopefully the 2015 event will be the starting point for growth into something significant and influential.