As Brisbane International Film Festival launches its ten day run with a screening of The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, the imaginary interstate visitor would feel like they had entered some alternate universe. COVID is barely evident, except for masks in pockets and a certain suspicion of strangers. The imprint of the pandemic can be found only in the missing visitors, and the difficult journey to put together a program in dangerous times.
Allowed to fill cinemas to capacity, they have even sold out sessions. It is fair to say that the organisation of BIFF has been a travelling mess for the last ten years, as we have documented extensively. By tendering out the festival, and reducing budgets, the government has ensured that the thing has no stable base.