The Brisbane International Film Festival returns after a three-year hiatus to Palace Cinemas’s two Brisbane locations from Thursday, 17 August to Sunday, 3 September.

The Festival will be co-directed by experienced film curator Richard Sowada and Brisbane’s own Maxine Williamson, previous film director of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival.

Sowada explained that the past 18 months has been challenging but incredibly rewarding for everyone involved in the festival process.

“I haven’t seen a period of more change, excitement, and challenge in the film industry than in the last 18 months,” said Sowada.

“A breaking down of creative and business territoriality and a real sense of political and artistic immediacy has changed the face of what a festival needs to be and what audiences expect from cinema.”

“Being part of the new BIFF team and bringing that freshness, excitement and

creative propulsion to Brisbane in a reinvigorated event is thrilling for me – and I hope for audiences,” he said.

Williamson further explained that the team will continue the festival’s legacy of presenting films that expand viewers’ minds and educate us through cinema.

“I am so happy we are ‘rebooting the BIFF,’ Brisbane’s iconic and popular world film festival with an international reputation for showcasing new and emergent talent, award-winners from the circuit and crowd-pleasers from across the globe,” said Williamson.

“We will continue BIFF’s long legacy of presenting films that expand our hearts and minds, that educate us about our region and closest neighbours, that comment on what cinema is and can be.”

“The 23rd edition of BIFF provides an important platform for filmmakers to present their artistic responses to what is happening in their worlds. I look forward to engaging with industry in a meaningful way and to contribute to the growth of this

vibrant creative arts sector. As a Brissie girl, I am happy to play a part in this celebratory reboot,” she said.

Palace Cinemas founder Antonio Zeccola said that the company is honoured to host such a highly regarded event and that the city deserves an international film festival in its cultural repertoire.

“It’s a great honour for Palace Cinemas to be associated with such an important and highly regarded event as BIFF and play host to their screening program as a principle partner,” said Zeccola.

“For a city the size and sophistication of Brisbane, an international film festival is an essential element in the cultural mix and we’re keen to do what we can to facilitate and explore these great cinematic possibilities.”

The 2017 Festival is expected to be the forerunner of a continuous, annual event in the years to come. This year’s program will screen around 60 international and Australian films, a Queensland Short Film Competition, a free family event, national and international guests, talks, panels, and seminars.

See socials from the Spanish Film Festival opening night here.