29/4/2010: ANNE DEMY-GEROE DEPARTS BRISBANE FILM FEST
The longest continuously serving film festival director in Australia, Anne Demy-Geroe
has resigned from the Brisbane International Film festival after 18 years – and
has been farewelled with tributes and acclaim for her outstanding work with the
Demy-Geroe will now complete her PhD in Iranian cinema.
Andrew L. Urban & Anne Demy-Geroe cross Christmas holiday paths in Salzburg. Photo: Louise Keller
Demy-Geroe’s personal highlights from her 18 festivals:
The petite Agnès Varda, who initially thought I might be related to Jaques,
standing over the cinema manager to effect daily changes of the cinema hoardings
for the films in her retrospective.
Premières of The Puppet Master, The Blue Kite, The Wedding Banquet, and Rebels
of the Neon God, courtesy of Tony Rayns, then programming for BIFF.
Our first Indigenous programme with films from Australia, the USA, and Canada,
including Michael Apted's Incident at Oglala and Errol Morris's The Dark Wind.
Living legends of Australian avant-garde cinema, Corinne and Arthur Cantrill,
presenting Projected Light, a two-screen work with live narration.
The 800 Heroes, then newly re-discovered, made in China in 1938 about the Fall
of Shanghai. Sound had been suspended. We screened it as intended, with the
25-piece Chinese Orchestra. Regrettably, the audience was not much larger, but
many of those who were present still consider it a BIFF highlight.
A tribute to Oscar-winning animator, Faith Hubley, whose favourite BIFF memory
was of the jellyfish she saw on a daytrip to Stradbroke Island.
The new prints that we had struck of several of Kubrick's black and white films,
but that was not enough. On the Friday before the screening, Stanley's assistant
called Alan Finney, then at Roadshow, to check on our cinemas and projectors.
All those rumours were true....
Tony Rayns's Japanese Independent Filmmakers' spotlight, including Sogo Ishii,
Tsukamoto Shinya, and Hiroki Ryuichi. David Helfgott dispensing hugs at BIFF for
the screening of Shine.
Riding up the mall in a 200-strong Harley cavalcade to celebrate the Dennis
Hopper retrospective; bustling Maggie Cheung down the fire escape to escape the
fans; sending Kevin Spacey to the airport with a police motorcycle escort to
ensure he made the flight; the standing ovation for Eddie Mabo.
Rolf de Heer receiving the Chauvel Award, giving us the rare chance to see
Incident at Raven's Gate; a screening of the 1935 two-colour Technicolor Legong,
Dance of the Virgins, shot in Bali; endless phonecalls to Melvin van Peebles
over Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, part of a blaxploitation retro.
A great Surrealist retro inspired and assisted by Adrian Martin, featuring A
Page of Madness through to Borowczyk and more than a nod to Buñuel. The one that
defied us was Rose Hobart, placed two years later on the US National Film
Registry and now available on YouTube; Larry Cohen presenting 10 of his films,
including the It's Alive trilogy; B Ruby Rich introducing us to Daisies and
A Lens on the Beat Generation. The obsessed audience that came out to see some
of these films. Robert Frank's continued reference to me as ‘the Antipodean' in
correspondence with the British distributor; and an era when films had titles
such as We're talking Vulva and Can I be your Bratwurst?!
My big Variety moment with Tippi Hedren here for a screening of The Birds and
BIFF patron George Miller.
Shoot shoot shoot curated by Mark Webber. Who'd have thought Brisbane could draw
a growing audience for eight programmes of London Filmmakers Co-op films? The
highlight for me and many others was the famous Line describing a Cone.
1001 Voices-a massive 24 features from the Middle East, before film had had time
to inflect the events of September 11.
The 13 film strong Ozu retrospective, especially the silent I was born, but
accompanied by shakuhachi and cello in the 1200-seat city hall.
Finally getting James Benning to BIFF to present his films; a season of classic
Czech Gothic horror films; and Shimizu Hiroshi.
A comprehensive retrospective of Malayalam cinema, in co-operation with the
Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; a tingle up the spine presenting Zainap (Coca) Gashaeva
at her film, Coca: The Dove from Chechnya; the suspense as David Stratton took a
call from Margaret Pomeranz in the middle of the Chauvel presentation to
determine whether Greg Araki's Mysterious Skin, which had screened the previous
night, would be banned.
Eighty-something-year-old animator, Kawamoto Kihachiro, demonstrating his
puppets on-stage before the screening of his superb films; Unveiling Islam, 18
films comparing Turkish and Iranian women as filmmakers and on screen.
Tsitsi Dangarembga, from Zimbabwe, and her extraordinary cannibalistic musical,
Mother's Day, based on an old Shona folk tale.
Spotlights on Malaysia and Estonia, Africa and China; Buddhism and Buñuel
Presenting David Stratton with the Chauvel Award for his distinguished
contribution to the industry in general and his wonderful support of BIFF. And,
of course, the terrific private ‘David-and-Margaret' show that we all received.
A meaty retrospective, Resistance and Terrorism in post WWII Europe
The lamp-lighting ceremony and full houses honouring Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who
finally made it to BIFF.
And last year... the disappointment of Amitabh Bachchan cancelling his BIFF
appearance in protest at the violence towards Indian students. At least I did
get to meet him at the famous Mehboob Studios.
But amply made up for by the very cute 1959 open-top Morris Minor, themed for An
Education, which took me to opening night with Carey Mulligan and Leah Purcell.
The Great Deadbate with the Spierig Brothers and Andrew Leavold, moderated by
BIFFster Coreen Haddad.
Ivan Sen at the world premiere of his film Dreamland, informing me and the
audience that we were about to see a whole different film from what I had
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Dr George Miller, Tippi Hedren and Anne Démy-Geroe