Brisbane International Film Festival to return

13 June, 2017 by Jackie Keast

Following on from the discontinuation of Brisbane Asia-Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF) earlier this year, the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) is set to return. 

BIFF, which began in 1992, was replaced by BAPFF  which ran in tandem with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards – back in 2014. When the latter was cancelled in April this year, there were fears among the industry that Brisbane would be left without a major international festival.


However, the Queensland budget has seen the state government award $882,000 to Screen Queensland to support seven Brisbane-based festivals and events, including a rebooted BIFF. The funding will also support two more years of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards' industry and screening program. 

The brand new BIFF will run August 17 to September 3, with support from industry partner Palace Cinemas. The 2017 program is expected to screen around 60 international and Australian films, and will include collaborations with the APSA as well as a Queensland Short Film Competition, a free family event, national and international guests, talks, panels and seminars.

Palace will host BIFF at its two Brisbane locations and will also provide infrastructure support.

Richard Sowada and Maxine Williamson, former BAPFF and APSA film and artistic director, have been appointed co-directors.  

“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,” said Sowada in a statement. 

“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.” 

Williamson added: “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. 

“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.” 

The co-directors said the event would be a forerunner for one that would build in years to come, and Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira added that BIFF was envisioned to be an annual event. 

“It is wonderful to see a flagship international film festival once again taking place in Brisbane,” said Vieria.