With actor Bill Hunter sidelined by a car accident on his way to Sydney airport - and
so unable to help launch the Festival - the white Mustang convertible that delivered the
dignitaries to the Queen Street Mall rotunda had room for newly installed Arts Minister
Matt Foley, Sir Llew Edwards and Anne Demy-Geroe, while The Mint Patties belted out a
cheerful a capella version of Petula Clark's Colour My World.
Wearing beehive hairdos, green polka dot dresses and fluffy white jerkin jackets, the
three girls (Holly Wood, Betty Ford and Ginger rats) segued into Be My baby and Please Mr
Postman before the speeches started, but not before champagne was handed round.
The media launch attracted hundreds of mall pedestrians and rounds of applause greeted
the news that Rolf de Heer had been awarded the Chauvel Award for his contribution to
Australian cinema. (See NEWS story) Sir Llew, chairman of the Pacific Film and TV
Commission which operates the festival, and Minister Foley expressed strong support for
arts funding, before Demy-Geroe outlined in broad brush strokes, her 1998 festival
With over 200 films screening, she wanted to create the Colour Your World theme and
said she hoped the extra venue would help ease the queues which had developed last year
when the festival enjoyed a 25% boom in attendance, to some 20,000 patrons. "I hope
we will at least equal that this year," she said.
Having outgrown its 400 seater cinema auditorium at the Hoyts Regents Theatre complex,
the BIFF expands its programme to two cinemas this year, with the addition of a 740
seater, which will screen the more widely popular films.
As a cosmopolitan celebration of film, this year’s event is enhanced by a program
of out-of-cinema experiences at Brisbane restaurants, cafes and bars.
"Where everyday stresses take the colour out of our
lives, the Festival will put it back in" – Anne Demy-Geroe
Festival director Anne Demy-Geroe says the 180 or so feature films, documentaries, and
shorts selected, "offer a myriad of experiences and sensations to cinema-goers. Where
everyday stresses take the colour out of our lives, the Festival will put it back in.
Notable films include Neil Jordan's new drama Butcher Boy; Pedro Almodovar's Live Flesh;
Bob Gosse's Niagara, Niagara; the sexy new film from Tom Di Cillo, The Real Blonde; the
winner of Best Director at Cannes, Wong Kar-Wai's Happy Together and the Australian Cannes
Competition entry, Dance Me to My Song, by Rolf de Heer.
The new Australian romantic comedy, Dead Letter Office, directed by John Ruane and
starring Barry Otto, Miranda Otto and George del Hoyo, will open the Festival. Ruane and
del Hoyo are expected to attend the Brisbane screening.
Other Australian films to be screened include Robert Carter's Sugar Factory, Nadia
Tass's Amy, and James Bogle's In the Winter Dark (which opened the Sydney Film Festival).
Gummo, the controversial film by Kids author Harmony Korine is also on the schedule, as
is Pianese Nunzio - 14 In May, a rather frank and courageous film by Antonio Capuano.
For 70s fans, late night blaxploitation sessions, featuring such hits as Cooley High,
Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss, have been scheduled. Special screenings of gay
pride films will be held at the Tivoli Club in Fortitude Valley and some enthralling
documentaries will be screened at the State Library theatrettes, including some films on
famous filmmakers, such as Frank Capra, Billy Wilder and Ken Loach.
"We want to feed, satisfy and celebrate the desire in
people to see good film." – Anne Demy-Geroe
The signature event of the Festival, the Chauvel Awards, will become a public event
this year, with the Lord Mayor, Cr Jim Soorley again making the presentation.
A Festival highlight for families will be the free public screening on Sunday, 2
August, at the Brisbane City Hall, of the 1927 Australian silent classic, The Kid Stakes,
accompanied by a musical score written by Brisbane composer Kent Farbach.
"We want to feed, satisfy and celebrate the desire in people to see good
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