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Australia’s shotgun wedding lines up guests

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and Brisbane’s film festival have secured their futures via a marriage of convenience that sees the festival reshaped as the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF). Now the first line-up is out.

Toa Fraser’s The Dead Lands gets a gala screening at BAPFF, but is the only NZ title in the programme. The Dark Horse, for which Cliff Curtis has NZ’s sole nomination for the APSA awards, is not programmed in BAPFF as it already has an Australian release.

Critics of APSA have long held that the event leans too heavily towards European arthouse sensibilities to reasonably claim an APAC identity, if such a thing actually exists. Films selected in competition have included many titles that arguably are European (including one that also won at the European Film Awards).

By contrast, the inaugural BAPFF leans more towards the eastern end of the region, although the Pacific representation is Australian with one exception. The festival has programmed 80 titles, a quarter of that number being films competing at APSA. Those 20 represent a little over half the 35 titles in competition, and answer a criticism that’s been levelled at APSA since its inception – that there is no opportunity for anyone other than the jury to see the competing films.

It’s hard to drum up interest in an event when it effectively takes place behind closed doors so, one hopes, there’ll be good support at BAPFF this year for the titles competing at APSA.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards run on 11 December. The inaugural Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival runs 29 November – 14 December.