Screen Queensland announces end of BIFF as we know it

Screen Queensland has announced it is stepping back from running the Brisbane International Film Festival.

Despite rumours running rife for weeks that the Brisbane International Film Festival had been cancelled – for good – Screen Queensland has come out with the announcement the state’s screen agency is committing funding to economic development board Brisbane Marketing to stage a re-imagined Brisbane film festival from November this year.

“The feedback has been united in asking Screen Queensland to continue a film festival for Brisbane but not have the agency managing the festival,”  said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.

“We have therefore sought to find a model that will make a unique film festival for Brisbane with a clear point-of-difference that differentiates it from other capital cities on the Australian film festival calendar.”

Screen Queensland will provide $700 000 a year over three years to Brisbane Marketing as part of its Screen Culture funding program to stage the festival in November 2014, 2015 and 2016. It will also partner with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) advisory board to help achieve its aspiration of engaging culturally and economically with the Asia Pacific region.

(So basically… the Brisbane International Film Festival has, in fact, folded and in its place will be something completely different for Brisbane.)

Ms Vieira said Screen Queensland was the only screen agency in Australia to run a city’s major film festival.

“Screen Queensland recognises Brisbane Marketing’s expertise in successfully staging the market-driven APSA Awards last year and the role it has taken in bringing a critical mass of filmmaking talent and focus to our city,” said Ms Vieira.

“We’re thrilled to be supporting this exciting new direction and thank the industry and Queensland community for their input, dialogue and passion for screen culture and the screen industry as a whole in our state.”

Kiki Fung, head programmer for the Brisbane International Film Festival will be moving across to Brisbane Marketing to continue programming for the new-look film festival.

“Our decision to outsource the film festival is part of Screen Queensland’s three-year strategic plan and our efforts in revitalising the Queensland screen industry,” said Screen Queensland Chair, Professor Peter Little.

“Screen Queensland is focusing on its core business, which is to develop and support a creative, innovative and commercially-sustainable screen industry.

“Over 21 productions have occurred in Queensland over the last financial year, double the number of productions on previous year figures, and we aim to continue this trend.”

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Brisbane was on the cusp of a leap in international reputation as the host city of G20 in November and hosting a high calibre international film event fit perfectly with the city’s goals and aspirations.

Brisbane Marketing CEO John Aitken said Brisbane is positioning itself as a serious player in the Asia Pacific region economically and culturally.

“Our vision is to build a strong film-focused, major event in Brisbane’s annual calendar attracting the interstate and international screen industry,” Mr Aitken said.

“We aim to put Brisbane and by extension Queensland, on the world stage as an attractive film location and a cultural tourism hotspot.”

Further details will be announced in coming weeks by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

About Screen Queensland:

Screen Queensland is the Queensland Government screen agency based in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. Screen Queensland’s role is to develop and support a creative, innovative and commercially sustainable screen industry in Queensland, attract production to Queensland, and celebrate an active screen culture across the State.

About Brisbane Marketing:

As Brisbane’s economic development board, Brisbane Marketing helps position Brisbane as a great destination for investment, tourism, conventions, study and work. It showcases Brisbane on the world stage as a rising star in the Asia Pacific. Brisbane Marketing is owned by the Brisbane City Council and funded by the council and through various commercial memberships, precinct levies and partnerships.

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