It’s official — Brisbane is bringing back the BIFF.
The popular Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) was held every year from 1992 until it was replaced by the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF) in 2014.
BAPFF, with its region-specific focus, was never able to generate quite the same buzz as BIFF, and when it was announced in April that BAPFF wouldn’t be going ahead this year, it left Brisbane cinephiles in a state of confusion.
But it looks like we’ve got the best possible outcome, with confirmation that BIFF will return this August.
The reinvigorated program will be supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland, with help from industry partner Palace Cinemas, who will host the festival at their two Brisbane locations.
The 2017 program, billed as a forerunner of an event that will continue to build in the years to come, will screen around 60 international and Australian films.
The festival will include collaborations with existing Queensland screen culture organisations (including the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA)), a Queensland Short Competition, a free family event, national and international guests, talks, panels and seminars.
The festival will be co-directed by experienced film curator Richard Sowada and Brisbane’s Maxine Williamson, previously the film director of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival.
“I haven’t seen a period of more change, excitement and challenge in the film industry than in the last 18 months,” says Sowada.
“A breaking down of creative and business territoriality and a real sense of political and artistic immediacy has changed the face of what a festival needs to be and what audiences expect from cinema. Being part of the new BIFF team and bringing that freshness, excitement and creative propulsion to Brisbane in a reinvigorated event is thrilling for me — and I hope for audiences.”
Co-director Maxine Williamson says the BIFF revival will bring back everything audiences loved about the festival.
“I am so happy we are ‘rebooting the BIFF’, Brisbane’s iconic and popular world film festival with an international reputation for showcasing new and emergent talent, award-winners from the circuit and crowd-pleasers from across the globe,” she says.
“We will continue BIFF’s long legacy of presenting films that expand our hearts and minds, that educate us about our region and closest neighbours, that comment on what cinema is and can be. The 23rd edition of BIFF provides an important platform for filmmakers to present their artistic responses to what is happening in their worlds.
“I look forward to engaging with industry in a meaningful way and to contribute to the growth of this vibrant creative arts sector. As a Brissie girl I am happy to play a part in this celebratory reboot.”
Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira says the new itertation of BIFF will take pride of place on the state’s calendar of film festivals.
“It is wonderful to see a flagship international film festival once again taking place in Brisbane,” she says.
“It is envisioned that the new BIFF will be an annual event. Screen Queensland’s investment, along with the festival’s solid partnership with Palace Cinemas, will help to ensure the 2017 event is a success, and will pave the way for future BIFFs.”
Palace Cinemas founder Antonio Zeccola says a festival like BIFF is a must for a city like Brisbane.
“It’s a great honour for Palace Cinemas to be associated with such an important and highly regarded event as BIFF and play host to their screening program as a principle partner,” he says.
“For a city the size and sophistication of Brisbane, an international film festival is an essential element in the cultural mix and we’re keen to do what we can to facilitate and explore these great cinematic possibilities.”
The Brisbane International Film Festival will be held from Thursday 17 August to Sunday 3 September at Palace Centro and Palace Barracks. For more info, visit biff.net.au.