Brisbane fest wraps up

'Festival' opens event, 'Insomnia' wraps it up

SYDNEY — The 2002 Brisbane Intl. Film Festival wrapped July 21 with attendance up 11% — to 30,000 — roughly in line with the additional sessions afforded by the expanded 13-day program (up from 11 days in 2001).

The event, which unfurled July 9 with Henry Jaglom’s “Festival in Cannes” and shuttered with Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia,” was light on international guests due to cost cuts and lack of airline sponsor.

Variety critic David Stratton officiated at a session honoring vet producer Jan Chapman (“Lantana”), recipient of the Chauvel Award for outstanding contribution to Oz film. Docu about indigenous women called “Black Chicks Talking,” directed by “Lantana” thesp Leah Purcell, was voted aud favorite.

The inaugural Fipresci prize for the best Asian film went to vet Japanese director Suzuki Seijun’s hitman thriller “Pistol Opera” and special mention to Oz helmer Tony Ayres’ feature debut “Walking on Water.”

BIFF’s inaugural Children’s Festival met with mixed success. Local feature “Hildegarde” and “A Children’s Midsummer Night’s Dream” (performed by kids) both sold well, twice over. Least popular was “The Magic Pearl,” a Hindi children’s film presented subtitled and with a live English translator — a personal favorite of BIFF director Anne Demy-Geroe, who nevertheless conceded it was always going to be a difficult sell.

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