‘NEXT GOAL WINS’ ANNOUNCED AS BIFF 2023 CLOSING NIGHT FILM!

Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF), presented by MINI, announces the 2023 program with an incredible line-up featuring the Australian premiere on Closing Night of Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins starring Michael Fassbender.

BIFF’s program is brimming with Queensland premieres of new films from acclaimed and visionary filmmakers including Yorgos Lanthimos Poor Things starring Emma Stone, the highly anticipated May December from Todd Haynes with Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore; the Palme d’Or Winning film from Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall and Kitty Green’s dramatic thriller The Royal Hotel starring Julia Garner. 

Set to take place from October 26 to November 5 at selected Dendy, Reading and Five Star cinema locations across Brisbane, BIFF presented by MINI delivers two World Premieres, two Australian Premieres, 38 Queensland Premieres and 18 short films along with two incredible Industry Days. 

Brisbane cinema lovers will have so much to choose from with key galas and strands set to inspire and delight from Opening Night to Closing Night and here is a snapshot of the 2023 program.

Opening Night: Uproar (Queensland Premiere)

Starring Julian Dennison (Hunt For The Wilderpeople) and Academy Award Nominee Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting), Uproar is a funny, inspirational, and heartwarming story of connection and finding your place in the world. Based on a true story, Uproar is presented direct from a World Premiere at Toronto.

Closing Night: Next Goal Wins (Australian Premiere)

From Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok) and based on a true story, Next Goal Wins follows the American Samoa soccer team, infamous for their brutal 31-0 FIFA loss to Australia in 2001. With the World Cup Qualifiers approaching, the team hires down-on-his-luck, maverick coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) hoping he will turn the world’s worst soccer team around.

Within the Special Presentation Strand are a selection of highly anticipated films including Award winners, audience favourites and critical darlings such as:

Poor Things – Winner of the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, Yorgos Lanthimos’ boldly beautiful Poor Things stars Emma Stone in a career-best performance.

All Of Us Strangers – Direct from international festivals, a beautiful fantasy romance starring Paul Mescal (Aftersun).

Anatomy of A Fall – Winner of the Palme d’Or and a gripping dramatic thriller of a woman who finds her husband dead at the base of their chalet.

May December – From Todd Haynes (Carol) and starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in powerhouse performances.

Monster – From acclaimed director Kore-eda Hirokazu (Shoplifters, Broker) and Winner of best screenplay at Cannes is a beautiful drama showcasing family and friendship. 

Perfect Days – A glorious film from revered director Wim Wenders and Winner Best Actor at Cannes 2023.

Strange Way Of Life – Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers) is arguably Spain’s most esteemed director. Strange Way of Life is his second English-language production, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal.

The Royal Hotel – Direct from Toronto and directed by Kitty Green (The Assistant) and starring Julia Garner (Ozark), The Royal Hotel is a tense dramatic thriller set in outback Australia.

Australian stories are incredibly important, and Australian Highlights give audiences the opportunity to experience the diversity of Australian stories and uniqueness of Australian experiences within feature films and documentaries including:

Bring Him To Me – From director Luke Sparke is an adrenaline-fueled mob thriller starring Sam Neill and Barry Pepper.

Bromley: Light After Dark – is a story of art, true love, and triumph over darkness featuring prolific Australian artist David Bromley, best known for his paintings and sculptures.

Kindred – A visual journey about the complexities of two close friends, both Aboriginal, being adopted into a white world. This autobiographical story is also a celebration of friendship and unconditional love as they connect back with their bloodline families.

The Rooster – Starring Hugo Weaving and from director Mark Leonard Winter.

You Should Have Been Here Yesterday – Featuring lovingly restored and never-before-seen footage, an experiential journey through the birth of Australian surfing and youth culture.

Within the International Highlights are films that capture stories and experiences from distinct, diverse places with bold, beautiful, and brave stories from unique places and exceptional storytellers including:

Ama Gloria – A superb French film about the special bond between a young French girl and her nanny with stunning central performances.

Beyond Utopia – An award-winning documentary following the high-stakes journey various individuals take as they attempt to flee North Korea.

Earth Mama – From director Savanah Leaf and studio A24.

Housekeeping for Beginners – From director Goran Stolevski (Of An Age) and direct from Venice.

Mars Express – A stylish and smart futuristic animation.

Shortcomings – The directorial debut of Randall Park (Veep, Fresh Off the Boat) is a biting comedy about three friends as they try to navigate life and love.

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood – The first documentary by an Estonian director to compete and win at Sundance.

Tiger Stripes – Cannes Award winner from Malaysia.

BIFF is celebrating emerging Australian directors within the strand called New Wave which includes:

A Savage Christmas – The story of a chaotic Christmas Day from director Madeleine Dyer.

Birdeater – Winner of the audience award at Sydney Film Festival is a psychological thriller from directing duo Jack Clark and Jim Weir.

Sunflower – A queer coming of age story and festival favourite from director Gabriel Carruba.

Cinema lovers will be taken on a passage to some of the year’s craziest genre films within our WTF strand. Each film is incredibly chilling and strange and includes: 

Late Night With The Devil – An Australian Film that the master of horror Stephen King loves. A festival favourite.

You’ll Never Find Me – A home-grown unpredictable horror that premiered at Tribeca.

birth/rebirth – A modern-day female Frankenstein story.

Audiences will rediscover remastered classics on the big screen within BIFF with three incredible features; 

Contempt (1963) – Remastered and presented at Cannes from director Jean-Luc Godard and featuring one of cinema’s most celebrated stars, Brigitte Bardot.

The Munekata Sisters (1950) – Presented at Cannes and from Yasujiro Ozu.

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) – the restored and remastered Australian film from Philip Noyce portrays the true story of Molly Craig.

There is absolutely something for everyone with two family cinema masterpieces with: 

Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back – World Premiere of the family animation feature film produced in Brisbane.

Robot Dreams – A charming animated film for the whole family.

BIFF will also deliver two shorts programs to explore with Shorts from Home and Shorts from Afar rounding out the extraordinary cinematic journey, featuring director Pedro Almodovar’s short, Strange Way of Life, starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke.

Sasha Close, BIFF Head Of Programming says “The 2023 BIFF program showcases a diverse array of extraordinary and exciting films from Australia and across the globe.” 

Bookended by two remarkable, heartwarming films that recently debuted at the Toronto film festival, the full program has something for everyone with delightful comedies, captivating documentaries, and dramatic thrillers, along with a dedicated program day on the first weekend showcasing incredible Brisbane talent and a special selection for the young and young heart.” she proudly adds.

Luke Wheatley, BIFF CEO says “Our film festival brings a diverse perspective from filmmakers all around the world, and we are proud to be able to showcase these voices and their stories. This program is ambitious and has a strong vision of stories that will make you think and perhaps look at the world in a different way. These are films from emerging and established filmmakers at their best and I cannot wait to sit in the cinema and share these.”

“BIFF would not be possible without our incredible partners Screen Queensland and Screen Australia, and we are proud to have MINI on board this year.   I would like to thank all of our valued sponsors, and of course, our hardworking team that have spent countless hours building BIFF to this point.” he adds.

BIFF is supported by the Queensland Government through Founding and Principal Sponsor Screen Queensland, together with Screen Australia.

Tickets are now on sale for these incredible films and you can explore the full program at  https://biff.com.au/

Media release provided by BIFF and PJ Marketing and Media.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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