Newly appointed this year, Maxine brings over two decades’ worth of experience to her role, most recently having spent the past ten years at the helm of the Asia-Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).
“Part of my role is to look at the holistic overview of the festival to create the right pitch and tone for it,” Maxine says. “When you can love a film but it may not fit and view as many titles as we can and create a festival that has got a film for everyone.
“You have to include films that are culturally and artistically interesting, films that may show examples of form and how directors are dealing with the moving image art form and how they’re playing with that in a different way.”
In programming this year’s festival, Maxine has drawn heavily on her previous experience to curate a fine selection of films that traverse the many wants and needs of Brisbane screen culture and the viewing public.
“If I look at my own career over the past two decades, the thing that’s defined me and what I want to do with film has really been about creating diversity on screen,” she says, “hearing other people's voices, disparate groups and other cultures so that people’s hearts and minds are expanded. Also not forgetting that we want to laugh, giggle and just have fun too.”
Brisbane International Film Festival 2017 runs for 16 days through August and September and its programme includes favourites from the 70th Cannes Film Festival, a retrospective, world cinema features, classic and much more.
This year, Maxine is particularly proud of the documentaries section of the festival. In addition to music docos like ‘The Go-Betweens: Right Here’, Maxine says it’s important for the festival to fulfil its educational remit of using film to educate and inform, as well as entertain.
“You also need to include documentaries or feature narratives that are dealing with problems in this troubled world,” she says. “We also have that kind of social responsibility to impart to audiences in Brisbane a sense of other and a sense of political understanding.
“Film is the most popular art form in the 21st century, and it is the most democratic and the most accessible. So we have a great opportunity with this medium to be able to potentially engender change. Not just that, also [to] entertain and entice and make people open their eyes to something they may not have considered before.”
Despite having to be brought together quickly in the wake of delayed funding, Brisbane International Film Festival 2017 will continue to be a shining cultural beacon for this city, with Maxine looking forward to a much bigger production next year.
“There is much we’ve achieved in a short period of time,” she says, “and that will give you the sense of what we can achieve next year when we’ve got the full baking time that it takes to do an international city festival.”