Brisbane’s arts and culture scene has been rapidly changing over the last few years, with expanded programs and new festivals launching every year across the city. These festivals are becoming more and more a part of Brisbane’s identity, and there’s now a variety of places to experience film from both Australia and abroad.
The beautiful weather in the Queensland capital might make it tough to choose to spend sunny days inside a darkened cinema, but if you’re a true film-lover, you won’t need much convincing. Take a study break and you could meet like-minded people who love (and want to talk about) film as much as you do. Here are some of the best film festivals that you can enjoy in Brisbane.
Brisbane International Film Festival
After several years away from the scene, the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) returned to Brisbane cinemas in 2017 for its 23rd year. The largest film festival in Brisbane features a strong line-up of international movies with an emphasis on reflecting Brisbane’s multicultural audience. Alongside 60 films, last year’s program featured a panel co-hosted by Multicultural Development Australia. The panel highlighted the ways filmmakers can bring their diverse histories to the screen. With a new home at the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), BIFF is here to entertain audiences for years to come.
BrisAsia is a showcase for traditional and contemporary Asian art and culture held in the early months of the year. Still very young, the festival features film, food, theatre, talks and panels. BrisAsia’s film program is always a highlight, screening some of the best Asian cinema in Brisbane’s finest locations. Academy Award-nominated Studio Ghibli film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, at Sunnybank; the manga adaptation of A Silent Voice at Brisbane Square Library; and thrilling anime Ancien and the Magic Tablet at the Amphitheatre at Roma Street Parkland are just some of the great film experiences on offer at BrisAsia.
Iranian Film Festival Australia
The Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) has its home in Brisbane, but also travels the country. This annual event is hosted at the New Farm Cinemas each November, with a dazzling array of films showing what the Middle East is capable of on screen. It’s even worth purchasing a ‘Pomegranate Pass’ to receive access to VIP events and offers.
Queensland Film Festival
Growing in reputation every year since it began in 2015, the Queensland Film Festival (QLDFF) has rapidly become one of the biggest and best events on the calendar. This young film festival allows Brisbane residents to engage with some of the best contemporary cinema over 10 days at multiple city venues including QAGOMA, the Institute of Modern Art, New Farm Cinemas, and the newly renovated Elizabeth Street Picture Theatre.
Greek Film Festival
The Greek film industry has surged in the last decade thanks to filmmakers like Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg, Chevalier). At the Greek Film Festival, you’ll get the chance to discover more about the talent emerging out of Greece.
QAGOMA is host to Australian Cinémathèque, a year-round film program that is the only place in Brisbane to routinely show classic cinema. It’s held on Wednesday nights and across the weekend, with occasional free screenings. This is a haven for movie-lovers, with rare movies, 35mm projections, and digital restorations on offer. A recent retrospective of Satyajit Ray, India’s biggest cinema legend, showed the sort of cultural events this organisation is capable of.
Palace International Film Festivals
The Palace Cinema chain continues to expand its selection of cultural film festivals that are held throughout the year at the multiple Palace Cinemas across the country. Showcasing film cultures from some of the most exciting countries for movie-lovers, Brisbane hosts seasons of Palace festivals including the Spanish Film Festival, German Film Festival, Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival, Lavazza Italian Film Festival and the British Film Festival.