When I get a chance I will write about my memories of the Brisbane International Film Festival. BIFF returned this year and was a joy to have back. On the last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the screening of Australia Day to do a film review for Scenestr. To be on assignment for Scenestr was a special treat for me.
Not every film I saw at BIFF wowed me so it’s a delight to report that Australia Day was one of my favourites. There was a Q&A afterwards with the director Kriv Stenders, the producers and two of the actors. Unlike previous Q&As I’ve attended at BIFF in the past there wasn’t many questions from the audience, the times seems to fly by but there were many illuminating stories from the sessions. The producers and directors are Brisbane boys and have made a film in their hometown.
This holds a special delight for us locals, I was astonished to find a road I walk on my way to work featured in the movie and there was an early scene near a train station that I once travelled through and thought this would make a great place to shoot a scene. Locations were around the CBD, Darra and Rocklea. I believe its just coincidence but these were places I went to that were heavily affected by the 2011 Brisbane floods.
The first feature film from Hoodlum, they chose discerningly the script by Stephen M. Irwin wanting to make a splash and getting Kriv Stenders hot off the success of Red Dog to direct and casting Bryan Brown alongside an exciting group of newcomers. Reviews have been mild at other publications, complaints of not enough sub in the subtext and a certain flair in the cinematography for the sake of style rather than substance. All I can say is I was riveted from beginning to end and think its one of the best Australian films of the year. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/australia-day-review-20170904
My wife and I attended a nearby restaurant Libertines after the screening, as I left the bar I not to go to our table I noticed the producers at another table with some cast. One had his suit jacket off standing up on the edge of the table listening and gesturing. Was he ordering drinks? Sharing congratulations? I don’t know but he was beaming with a wonderful smile. I went to my table and seated myself with my back to them not wanting to pry. Libertines specialise in Asian cuisine with a colonial French influence. Karen and I make a point of ordering entrees rather than main meals. Goat curry in lettuce cups are what first turned us on to the place, sand crab sliders are the popular favourites, duck crepes were missing in action so we were advised to try the pork spring rolls which were great. We discussed the merits of the film not 20 metres from the men who made it possible. An hour passed and I paid our bill.
On the way out I noticed the party had fallen to the producers and their partners I assume. Australia Day’s premiere at BIFF had followed triumphant screenings at the Sydney Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. Now it will be about the money. A limited run at Dendy cinemas will begun nationally September 20 before the film moves to screening on Australian cable provider Foxtel who were a funding partner of the film. On the night of September 2nd though, two young lads from Brisbane screened their first feature film with in front of an approving rapturous audience. In the wee small hours they enjoyed a delicious meal with loved ones content in one victory. The victory to create art that you can be proud of and put it out into the world and have it be enjoyed by others. They are dreamers living the dream. It made me smile to see that.
Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. The magazine is focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.