At any film festival the closing film is as important as the opening night offering.

You want to finish on a high and it seems certain this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) will do just that with its finale, New Zealand filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi’s new comedy sports film Next Goal Wins which will screen at BIFF November 5.

Waititi, 48, is one of the hottest directors on the planet right now with a diverse range of films in his quiver including the 2016 Hunt for the Wilderpeople and two Marvel classics Thor: Ragnarök (2017) and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), among others.

BIFF head of programming Sasha Close says she is thrilled to have secured the Australian premiere of Waititi’s Next Goal Wins for closing night.

“I started having conversations about that film months ago, and it was just fantastic that we landed the Australian premiere,” Close says. “Taika Waititi is a highly revered, well-known filmmaker and who wouldn’t want to close their festival with the Australian premiere of his latest film.

“I’m very pleased that we secured that and it will be an amazing closing night.”

More than 40 feature films from around the world will have their Queensland Premieres over two weeks from October 26 at BIFF with the New Zealand film Uproar to set the tone at a glittering opening night at Reading Cinemas Newmarket.

Sasha Close says securing Queensland premieres of hotly contested works such as Uproar is the most challenging part of her job, but crucial to give BIFF an edge.

“We open with Uproar, which premiered at Toronto recently,” Close says. “It stars Julian Denison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople and the amazing Minnie Driver.

“As soon as I saw this film, I knew we’d found our opening night film because it was uplifting and had universal messages but is a very personal story. I loved it and I really hope audiences do too.”

Also on the program is the highly anticipated film Saltburn from Academy Award winning director Emerald Fennell, which has already made waves on the global stage after premiering at Telluride in Colorado and Toronto.

Special program highlights include Halloween screenings and meet-the-filmmaker events.

“We have a film called Late night with The Devil from two great Australian directors, Cam and Colin Cairnes,” Close says. “It’s perfect timing if anyone’s looking for a film to go and see on Halloween because it’s actually set around Halloween in the 1970s. Without giving too much away, they recreate this late-night show that invites a medium to come and conjure up the devil and chaos ensues.

“We’re also screening the remastered version of Rabbit Proof Fence and hosting director Philip Noyce to talk about the film and his process of making it 20 years ago.

“We’re at a moment in time that I’m acutely aware of, about who tells stories and whose story it is to tell. But I think a film like Rabbit Proof Fence probably wouldn’t have been made if it wasn’t for a director like Philip Noyce.”

This is Close’s third year at the programming helm for BIFF and she’s proud of what’s on offer.

“One absolute gem is a film called Ama Gloria, a French film about a young girl and the bond that she has with her nanny,” she says. “It’s probably one of the most exceptional performances by a child actor that I’ve seen in many years. I just love that film. So, anyone who likes quality French cinema, I would highly encourage them to go and see that.

“Another of my favourites is an amazing award-winning documentary called Beyond Utopia, which follows the high-stakes journey that various individuals take as they attempt to flee North Korea. It will literally have audience members on the edge of their seats.

“And in terms of Australian films there’s an amazing documentary called Bromley: Light After Dark, which follows the life and art and true love of Australian artist David Bromley. We are welcoming David and his wife Yuge to the festival for a special event on the first weekend.

Close has watched the festival evolve since it started 29 years ago opening with Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom and says she’s pleased to see how it has grown and become more well known internationally.

“When I travelled to Cannes earlier in the year there was definitely an awareness of the key capital city film festivals, including BIFF,” she says.

BIFF is on from October 26 to November 5 in venues all around Brisbane, including Angelika Film Centre, Dendy Coorparoo and Dendy Portside, New Farm Cinemas and Reading Cinemas Newmarket.

Make a comment View comment guidelines

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard