With pressing needs in health and education, it seems obvious to me that there is little public benefit from supporting film festivals, whether in the form of the former Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) or its replacement, the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF). Hence I’m mostly unmoved by former BIFF Director Richard Moore’s opinion piece in the Brisbane Times Death of BIFF a mortal blow to Brisbane’s film community, although at least he is right to avoid an economic justification for supporting BIFF, instead focussing on its cultural benefits.
In an article on film industry assistance published in Policy last year, Moochers Making Movies, I argued the only possible legitimate reason to support the film industry is to promote the development of Australian content that helps tell the Australian story. So Richard Moore might have a point, in that BIFF was more likely to provide public benefits than BAPFF will be, given that BAPFF appears less focussed on local filmmakers and more on filmmakers from elsewhere in the Asia Pacific. However, I’d much rather re-direct the money now going to BAPFF to health, education or tax cuts, which I think would yield greater public benefits.
Also see my ABC Drum article on the film industry: