It's not every day that a city gets a new film festival — and yet, in just the last year, Brisbane has opened its doors to two. When the death of the long-running Brisbane International Film Festival saw the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival pop up as a replacement, it also inspired the Queensland Film Festival.
In fact, QFF aims to help fill the void left by BIFF's cancellation, and to showcase the kind of international movie gems that no longer make it to Brisbane. The festival's full inaugural program is filled with films that will never, ever show in a multiplex near you. That includes documentaries about land-locked fisherman to comedies about submission and domination. You know the types of flicks we're talking about.
Festival co-directors Dr Huw Walmsley-Evans and John Edmond are starting small, with 12 features, two shorts and three free discussion panels — including four Australian premieres — largely concentrated over a three-day period in one venue. Of course, it's quality, not quantity that matters. Given the movies on offer from July 24 to 26 at New Farm Cinemas, there's plenty of the former.
Academy Award nominee and Cesar winner Timbuktu opens the festival, kicking things off with a powerful portrait of life under jihadist rule. At the other end of the spectrum, both in terms of QFF's schedule and in tone, the previously announced The Forbidden Room brings everything to a close with a delightfully unhinged love letter to the very medium of film.
In between, Brisbane cinephiles can feast on features such as The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, a freak-out horror movie that ravishes the senses and then some in its Australian premiere. There's also the Viggo Mortensen-starring colonialist Argentinian western Jauja, minimalist gem The Strange Little Cat, blockbuster French TV miniseries P’tit Quinquin, and a restoration of the landmark The Colour of Pomegranates.
For movie fans that just can't wait for QFF to get started, a free screening of the otherworldly The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga precedes the festival. And for those keen on chatting and contemplating as well as watching, two discussions about film criticism talk the talk about analysing movies.
Yes, it sounds like a film festival all right, as well as an ideal way to spend a cold July weekend. That's when BIFF once used to run, those with long memories might recall. Hopefully QFF can follow in its footsteps for years to come.
The Queensland Film Festival runs from July 24 to 26 at New Farm Cinemas. Check out the festival website for more details.