The 22nd Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) wrapped on Sunday 23 November 2013 with the Australian Premiere of 12 Years A Slave drawing the curtain on 12 days of films, special events and industry sessions culminating in a successful festival with the highest box office revenue in five years.
BIFF Festival Director and COO of Screen Queensland, Jennie Hughes said today, “I am delighted to announce that this year’s BIFF saw a 15% increase in revenue on BIFF 2012 and the highest Box Office achieved in five years.
“Our chief objective for my first year as Festival Director was to open up the film festival to all sectors of the community and screen something for everyone. We showcased 137 feature films, including 32 documentaries from the best of contemporary world cinema plus 45 short films and presented to the Brisbane audience 45 Australian premieres over 237 sessions.”
BIFF screened sessions to sold-out crowds including its Closing Night film, 12 Years A Slave with over 800 people attending over four cinemas at Palace Barracks and applauding as the closing credits rolled plus the two screenings of the 2013 Palme d’Or winner and Australian premiere of Blue Is The Warmest Colour. Other sell-out sessions included Only Lovers Left Alive, Filth, Don Jon, White Lies, the Queensland Short film screenings plus the second screening of Bringing Tibet Home that received a standing ovation with the filmmaker, Tenzin Choklay, musician Tenzin Choegyal and artist, Tenzin Rigdol all in attendance at the screening. Other films receiving the same audience treatment included a very special screening of the 1922 silent masterpiece The Loves of The Pharaoh with its beautiful, live music accompaniment by Mauro Colombis plus BIFF’s Opening Night film, The Railway Man as attended by director Jonathan Teplitzky, Queensland producer Chris Brown and Patti Lomax. Some of the audience were brought to tears when Patti Lomax, widow of Eric Lomax whose memoir the film was based upon, was introduced. The Railway Man was co-funded by Screen Queensland and partially shot in Queensland.
“In 2013 we endeavoured to deliver to the Brisbane audience the opportunity to see the best films from Australia and around the globe and to meet local and international filmmakers and screen professionals,” said Jennie Hughes.
A certain highlight for this year’s BIFF has been the amount of special guests that have attended the festival. BIFF welcomed 65 guests this year including The Railway Man and Bringing Tibet Home special guests plus: Fred Schepisi and Ian Baker and Merchant Ivory’s Paul Bradley whose works were celebrated with some special retrospective screenings and Q&As; Warwick Thornton for the screening of his latest film The Darkside with producer Kath Shelper and cast Deborah Mailman and Sacha Horler also in attendance for the film’s screening and special Q&A; Anthony Chen for Ilo Ilo; Queensland-based director Darren Paul Fisher for the Australian premiere of his film, OXV: The Manual; plus Mark Hartley whose two screenings of Patrick satisfied the BIFF audience’s appetite for old-school genre films.
“Our immediate plan is to cement BIFF as one of the top cultural events on the Brisbane and Australian calendar. We anticipate audiences to continue to grow in 2014 with new foundations laid this year including a renewed program of films and special events designed to enhance and increase audience excitement and involvement plus our increasing venues expanding on audience reach and accessibility to the Brisbane people,” stated Ms Hughes.
With a strong focus on development of local industry practitioners 46 industry guests were involved in the newly created SQ Emerging – Factual and Documentary Conference as well as the BIFF industry program, Behind The Screen in association with the Walkley Awards, Australian Cinematographers Society, Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, Australian Screen Editors Guild, the Australian Writers Guild, the Australian Directors Guild and Griffith Film School. With 29 Industry sessions, the Industry program featured a line-up of Australian and international guest speakers giving film practitioners and the general audience the opportunity to meet the people ‘behind the screen’ and to gain a better understanding of the filmmaking world.
BIFF will host a handful of special event screenings throughout the year with its BIFF Satellite program of screenings and BIFF Film Club screenings. For more information and to become a part of the reinvigorated BIFF membership program, please visit www.biff.com.au