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Brisbane International Film Festival Has Unveiled the First Four Movies From Its 2021 Program

Now organised by Film Fantastic, which also runs the Gold Coast Film Festival, this year's BIFF will open with phenomenal Australian drama 'The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson'.
By Sarah Ward
September 16, 2021
By Sarah Ward
September 16, 2021

For some of Australia's major film festivals, this year hasn't turned out quite as they'd hoped. Sydney Film Festival was forced to postpone its event until November due to Sydney's lockdown, while the Melbourne International Film Festival had to ditch its in-cinema plans and run as a solely online fest for the second year running. But when the end of October rolls around, the Brisbane International Film Festival will be hoping to roll out its red carpet — and to screen a sizeable lineup of movies to Brisbanites on the city's big screens.

This year's BIFF is set to take over New Farm Cinemas, The Elizabeth Picture Theatre, Reading Newmarket, Dendy Coorparoo, Palace James Street and GOMA's Australian Cinémathèque, all between Thursday, October 21–Sunday, October 31. And, the 11-day event will launch with one of the best Australian films of the year, with the Leah Purcell-starring and -directed The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson kicking off this year's festival.

The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson was initially meant to do the same honours at MIFF, until that fest jumped online. Now, it leads a BIFF program that's also just announced three of its other big highlights. So, as well as looking forward to the Aussie drama — which sees Purcell continue to interrogate Henry Lawson's iconic story after previously bringing her version to the stage and page — Brisbane cinephiles will be able to see The Worst Person in the World, the Norwegian comedy-drama that picked the Best Actress prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and Compartment Number 6, a Russian flick about strangers meeting on a train that nabbed two awards at Cannes. And, there's also Petite Maman, the eagerly anticipated new film from Portrait of a Lady on Fire's Céline Sciamma.

The rest of the fest's lineup will be announced on Friday, October 1, and will mark the first program under BIFF's new setup. The festival has been through more than a few iterations over the years, after it was unceremoniously cancelled after its 2013 fest in favour of the short-lived Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival, then revived by Palace Cinemas in 2017, and then run by the Gallery of Modern Art from 2018–20.

Now, it sits under Film Fantastic, who also organise the Gold Coast Film Festival, with the organisation winning a three-year tender for the 2021–23 events. Under Film Fantastic CEO Josh Martin and BIFF Program Manager Sasha Close, BIFF 2021 will screen a range of both Queensland and Australian premieres, and a lineup that Close says "has been carefully curated by the programming team and is diverse, fresh and entertaining."

The 2021 Brisbane International Film Festival will run between Thursday, October 21–Sunday, October 31. Check out the event's just-announced titles by heading to the festival website — and we'll bring you details of its full program on Friday, October 1.

Published on September 16, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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