Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Brisbane International Film Festival

I’ve been surrounded by sick people all winter, and have avoided getting sick myself – I’ve really tried to keep healthy and not kiss the sickies. I knew that this week was going to be a big week of premieres and preview screenings for LOOK BOTH WAYS, and I was looking forward to it.

On Friday (August 5) I felt sick, but thought, I’ll just stay home and take care of myself, so when I go to Brisbane tomorrow, for the screening of LOOK BOTH WAYS in the Brisbane International Film Festival, I’ll be OK.

Late afternoon, the phone rang. Anne Demy-Geroe, the director of the Brisbane Film Festival was suggesting, mysteriously – and rather hysterically – that it would be in my interest to get to Brisbane by 11am. And how could she get hold of the actors who were going to travel with me – Andrew Gilbert and Tony Hayes. Too bad about the yoga class I’d arranged to do before flying. Too bad about breakfast.

The festival’s FIPRESCI jury had decided to award LOOK BOTH WAYS its prize, which was a very welcome surprise (our first award!). The ceremony was held on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, and we all stood quietly and thought of peace, beside the beautiful Nepalese Peace Pagoda by the river in Brisbane. It seemed such a fitting tranquil place for a collection of eminent film critics to meet and to share the spirit of what cinema can be, globally. We took photographs of each other, swapped cards and went our separate ways; me to call Sarah, in Byron Bay for the Writers’ Festival, and tell her about the award.

That evening, LOOK BOTH WAYS screened in the film festival. I’ve sat in screenings where the applause is spontaneous and overwhelming. This screening was not like that. It felt more reflective, and I wondered whether it was a respectful response rather than an enthusiastic one. But then we read that the film has been voted the audience favourite of the festival, another unexpected surprise. And now I go back to bed, sicker than before.

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