Unlike last year, I’m not going to write a full rant about this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF). Due to work commitments I only went to one screening at BIFF this year, so I can hardly comment on the festival. The film I saw was the short film, Other People, produced by Vickie Gest and written and directed by Kieren Galvin. I helped out a bit with the sound on the film, and it was great to see it in front of an audience and on a 16mm film print. Remarkably, the print was taken directly from the PAL video edit and kine’d to a 16mm print, rather than going back to the original negative. I must say that the kine looked very good indeed, I found it very difficult to tell that it was a PAL video blow up and I’m usually pretty good at spotting that sort of thing (though the State Library doesn’t have a huge screen, and I’m sure being a black and white film hides a multitude of sins).
Other People was screening before a short experimental feature In the Beginning Was the Eye (ITBWTE). ITBWTE looked and sounded great, using all sorts of animation and camera techniques, as well as a great music soundtrack. It must have taken a lot of work, but the lack of plot made it unengaging for me. I like plot – a film can be as experimental as it wants to be as long as it tells me a story. But that’s just me.
I must have bad luck when it comes to BIFF, because it seems like whenever I go to a screening there is a technical hitch of some kind. This year was the same, even though I only went to one session! Other People had its screening marred by a problem with the soundtrack (all the characters sounded sped up, like chipmunks, yet the film seemed to be running at normal speed). The problem had not happened before at other festivals with the same print and Vickie, who was present, felt she had to apologise to the audience afterwards (though I wonder if anyone not involved in the film noticed?). The organisers were very apologetic and helpful, letting Vickie chat to the projectionist to track down the cause, so hopefully it didn’t happen at the film’s second screening.
As for BIFF itself, I’ve heard a couple of reports, both verbal ond online
, that attendence was down at this year’s festival despite the officially released statistic saying that numbers were up (old German statistician’s saying: never trust a statistic you haven’t fudged yourself). Despite me being quick to poke fault with BIFF last year, I for one really want BIFF to succeed – I enjoy festivals, and BIFF screens a lot of stuff that will never make it onto the big screen in Queensland otherwise. So I hope the smaller audiences this year, if true, is just a one-off glitch.
Where’s My Gold Pass Dammit?
Even though I couldn’t attend any other screenings, I was surprised to see no sign of a “Gold Pass” or similar this year – in previous years they were available, and last year it was possible to buy two (rather expensive) tickets that got you into just about every screening for each of the two weeks of the festival, but this year I could find no mention of any kind of mega-ticket that one could buy in order to see all the films. The programme only mentioned books of tickets (take-5, take-10 etc). I hope that decision is not repeated next year – or maybe I’m the only one who likes the idea of buying a single “gold pass” that gets me into everything? Ah well.