Inaugural Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival will, in part, serve as the judging platform for the eighth APSAs.
The first Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF) will have its opening night on Nov 29 and will, in part, serve as the judging platform for the eighth Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSAs) to be held on Dec 11.
Whether the old Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) swallowed the APSAs or the APSAs swallowed BIFF depends on who is telling the story but combining the two has been a very long time coming.
Underpinning the latest behind-the-scenes machinations has been a strong wish to continue to position the state of Queensland and its capital Brisbane as important within the Asian region, economically, culturally and as a tourist destination.
“The Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival will be a high-calibre film event showcasing the filmmakers, films and documentaries of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards,” Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said today, confirming expectations.
About 60 films are expected to be programmed over the 16 days up to the Dec 14 closing night.
Recently BIFF has been held under the banner of state film development and investment agency Screen Queensland.
Under new arrangements BAPFF will be run by economic development board Brisbane Marketing, which is part of the Brisbane City Council, with the help of US$659,000 (A$700,000) over three years from Screen Queensland’s cultural funds. (Australia has three levels of government: Australian, state and local.)
Popular BIFF head programmer Kiki Fung will move to Brisbane Marketing.
The office of the chief executive of Screen Queensland has been a revolving door in recent years, in part reflecting the state’s political instability. Those who have gone through that door include Bryan Lowe and Jennie Hughes, who last year was also BIFF director.
In no other states do screen agencies run a city’s major film festival.
Tracey Vieira, former LA-based executive vice president of international production for Australian marketing body Ausfilm, has been CEO of Screen Queensland since February.
Earlier this month – around the time it was announced that Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi would preside over the 2014 international jury – she said that she had consulted widely with the industry and the community and found support for a festival but little support for Screen Queensland managing the event.
Founding director Anne Demy-Geroe ran BIFF for many years and put considerable emphasis on films from the Asian region. Richard Moore has also held the baton for a couple of years.
Today it was emphasized that BAPFF would be an international event with a curatorial emphasis on the works of filmmakers from the vast Asia Pacific region.
APSA held screenings of nominated films last year for the first time but they were hardly sell-out sessions. Seventy countries producing half the world’s film output are eligible for APSA Awards.
Brisbane already houses the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and the Australian Performing Arts Market and the Asia Pacific Triennial, and it hosts the G20 Leaders Summit in November.
APSA executive chair Michael Hawkins and Brisbane Marketing CEO John Aitken also made statements today, signifying the unity of purpose.
In March this year, Des Power, the driving force behind the APSAs and one-time head of Queensland Events Corporation for more than a decade, was recently honoured by the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington.