Australia's three major east coast festivals - Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne - will each present a prize under the FIPRESCI banner from this year. The Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) instigated the move and has begun recruiting the local component of the three three-person international juries.
The Melbourne International Film Festival's (July 23-August 11) FIPRESCI jury will award the prize to an Asian filmmaker with a first- second- or third film. A citation for an Australian feature will also be given.
The Brisbane International Film Festival (July 9-21) has also chosen Asian cinema as the category to be honoured. It will continue to give out a NetPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award, introduced last year.
The Sydney Film Festival's (June 7-21) long-standing interest in documentary means it will host a jury to judge this category of filmmaking. Its recent decision to become a competitive festival from next year, with eligibility being confined to new directors of any nationality, was also an influence according to director Gayle Lake.