Brisbane film fans rejoice! After a longer than usual fourteen month wait between outings, it is again time to gather in masses, watch movies and be merry during the city’s annual celebration of all things film, the Brisbane International Film Festival 2010. Moving from its traditional July to August home to a summery November slot on the events calendar (November 4 – 14 to be exact) in its nineteenth year, the 2010 festival marks the first under incoming director Richard Moore (taking on the role after overseeing the 2010 Melbourne offering, and the three prior), as well as the first away from the now sadly defunct and greatly missed Regent cinemas. So what lies in store for Queensland cinephiles throughout ten glorious days of the best that international cinema has to offer? Fresh from the fantastic launch event (featuring a pitch perfect presentation by Moore), we bring you the highlights of the 2010 program, as well as a promise to keep the BIFF news and reviews coming throughout the duration of the festival.
As always, there is truly something for everyone in the extensive and eclectic BIFF 2010 program. From 3D cane toads on opening night (Cane Toads: The Conquest) to John Woo kung fu to close the program (Reign Of Assassins), possibly the world’s first ‘womantic’ feature (the Brisbane-based comedy Jucy) to the utterly indescribable (Tommy Wiseau cult phenomenon The Room), the new look festival – in a new timeslot and new venues (Palace Centro and Barracks cinemas, and Tribal Theatre) – has assembled an amazing line-up, with films for young (well, 18 and over for the most part, given the severing of links between BIFF and Cine Sparks) and old.
For fans of big-name cinema, look no further than the Australian premiere of Sophia Coppola’s Venice Golden Lion-winning Somewhere (a coup so recent that it is not even listed in the official printed program), or the George Clooney-starring, Anton Corbijn-directed The American. Add Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Doug Liman’s Fair Game, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in Sundance Grand Jury entrant Blue Valentine, Gotham award nominee Winter’s Bone and the animated adventure Megamind for the kids, and the more commercial-leaning contingent of entries is well and truly covered, with Welcome To The Rileys (starring James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo and Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart) and Brit caper comedy Wild Target rounding out the mix.
Award winners also feature prominently in 2010, with the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or recipient Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives likely to attract significant interest. Juliette Binoche’s acclaimed turn in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy continues the Cannes flavour, whilst 2009 Golden Lion winner Lebanon joins the above-mentioned Somewhere in representing the best of Venice. The recipient of the highest accolade at the recent Sydney Film Festival also makes the list, with Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats joining his debut piece I Killed My Mother alongside other Sydney and Melbourne screeners (I Love You Phillip Morris, Howl, Brotherhood, Life During Wartime, Little Sparrows, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, and The Illusionist) as content familiar from other festivals.
In the Australian corner, the “Local Heroes” crop includes Guy Pearce and Miranda Otto in first-time filmmaker Simone North’s thriller I Am You, Bill Bennett’s Uninhabited, Jaws (also screening in a dive-in cinema special event alongside Deep Blue Sea) meets Open Water in The Reef, and True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten in Red Hill. North, Bennett and Kwanten have also been announced as guests of the festival, with the latter certain to draw a crowd. Red Hill also forms part of the “Shock Corridor” section, with Gregg Araki’s Kaboom (described as Twin Peaks, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Donnie Darko combined), absurdist road movie Rubber and Mexican cannibal flick We Are What We Are also on the bill.
Finally, the documentary section has received a boost, with Bill Cunningham New York, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work and the Adrian Grenier-helmed Teenage Paparazzo among the best known pieces. Topical HBO production and Sundance Special Jury prize winner Gasland ranks among the highlights the section (with director Josh Fox slated to be in attendance), whilst other offerings such as Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors (part of the “Beatbox” music program), William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, Machete Maidens Unleashed! and Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story also noteworthy alongside fellow Sundance winner Restrepo, Last Train Home, Google Baby, Freakonomics and more.
Of course, the above is a mere taste of what is on offer amongst the twenty-three Australian premieres, three world firsts, and more films than you can poke a stick at, with South Korean effort The Actresses, French comedy Copacabana, the five and a half hour Carlos the Jackal epic Carlos, the beautifully named Mother Teresa Of Cats and even Jim Henson’s first non-Muppet film The Dark Crystal all screening. With Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void, Michael Rowe’s Camera d’Or winner Leap Year, UK indie apocalypse film Monsters, Aussie rom-com The Wedding Party and a four feature tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff (including Hitchcock goes Down Under in Under Capricorn), BIFF 2010 has, as Moore so eloquently put it, “snap, crackle, pop, kick, bite and relevance”. What more could one want from a film festival?
Tickets for the 19th St. George Bank Brisbane International Film Festival are on sale today, with the festival running from November 4 – 14, 2010.