The Brisbane International Film Festival will return to cinemas in October this year, making it one of the first major cinematic events [CinefestOZ and Vision Splendid are scheduled to take place prior] to unfold in the COVID-19 era. Presented by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) through its Australian Cinémathèque, and in partnership with venues across Brisbane, BIFF 2020 will boast its usual selection of new release features and documentaries, special events, a short film competition, and much more, from 1 to 11 October. In a major coup, the festival has announced local industry legends Jack Thompson and editor Jill Billcock as patrons, and will showcase Stephen Maxwell Johnson’s Australian drama, High Ground, as its opening night film.
Amanda Slack-Smith, the Festival’s Artistic Director and Curatorial Manager, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA, called the film “a moving story set in the early twentieth century, inspired by Australia’s untold history, exploring family and legacy as it grapples with the country’s past. Starring Simon Baker, Jacob Junior Nayinggul, Jack Thompson, Aaron Pedersen, Witiyana Marika, Caren Pistorius, Esmerelda Marimowa and Sean Mununggurr, it is the second feature film from Stephen Maxwell Johnson, director of Yolgnu Boy. Set in the extraordinary Northern Territory, High Ground tells of a terrible crime covered up until twelve years later when those involved are forced to reckon with the devastation it caused.”
BIFF 2020 will close on 11 October with the world premiere of Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra, a compelling and vivid documentary about the evolution of Bangarra Dance Theatre and its Artistic Director Stephen Page. Directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Top End Wedding) and Nel Minchen (Matilda & Me), Firestarter interweaves moving interviews with Bangarra dancers and Stephen, Russell and David Page with vibrant home movie footage of the Page family growing up in Brisbane. It’s an insightful portrait of one of Australia’s most dynamic and successful arts organisations and celebrates the transformative importance of the arts.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said BIFF 2020 was a major highlight in the state’s calendar of must-do arts and cultural events. “The Queensland Government and Screen Queensland are proud supporters of BIFF 2020 and, with COVID-19 precautions in place, we are thrilled to be one of the first major film festival in Australia welcoming audiences back to theatres for an unmissable 11 days of cinema,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.
For further information, head to The Brisbane International Film Festival.