So long, and thanks for all the BIFF

Richard Moore's contract as Brisbane International Film Festival director will not be renewed.
Richard Moore's contract as Brisbane International Film Festival director will not be renewed.

The director of the Brisbane International Film Festival has been dumped less than two weeks after its 21st event wrapped up.

Richard Moore confirmed his contract, which winds up at the end of January 2013, would not be renewed.

Mr Moore told film and TV industry website ScreenHub that he was informed on Friday he would not be reappointed as head of the screen culture department, which oversees BIFF and other Queensland festivals, as well as funding and award programs.

Mr Moore was appointed in 2010, and developed a reputation for iconoclastic programming, with a focus on low-budget and often controversial films.

“The festival has gone from strength to strength over the last three years,” he told ScreenHub. “We have been growing the audience, expanding the membership base, and developing a program to involve emerging filmmakers from Queensland.”

BIFF saw 20,000 admissions in 2010, increasing to 22,600 in 2011.

However, attendances were down during its 2012 festival, which ran November 14 to 25.

Mr Moore told ScreenHub torrential rain, hail and high winds in Brisbane across BIFF's first weekend contributed to fewer sales. Some screenings also had to be cancelled after problems with digital encoding and passwords.

Screen Queensland chief executive Bryan Lowe was unavailable for an interview, but said in a statement: “Richard has done a terrific job on BIFF and Screen Culture activities over the past three years, most recently with a successful 21st coming of age year for BIFF.

“He leaves Screen Queensland with our very best wishes.”

Mr Moore refused to weigh in on speculation his contract non-renewal was due to his bold and confronting programming style, which put pop culture ahead of high art.

In 2011, the then-Bligh government stood by his decision to screen macabre horror The Human Centipede 2 at BIFF.

But since the change of government, a new board has been appointed to Screen Queensland.

Mr Moore – who has split his time between Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as extensive overseas travelling for the role – told ScreenHub he has been most proud of his team.

"I had an opportunity to develop new production and curatorial voices. All those young people need encouragement and experience and a career path, or a way of developing outside the more official channels.”

This story So long, and thanks for all the BIFF first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.