Canberra’s International Film Festival has kicked off with a spy thriller amid unprecedented security.
Organisers managed to secure the Naomi Watts and Sean Penn movie Fair Game for the opening night, ahead of the film’s international release.
It has been another coup for the event which last year featured the world premiere of Oscar winner The Hurt Locker.
Festival director Simon Weaving says the screening prompted tighter security.
“There is so many concerns about piracy these days. We just gave an undertaking that we would make sure that no one took mobile phones and cameras into the screening,” he said.
The festival will showcase 53 feature films and documentaries from 26 countries.
“It’s a really eclectic program which is what a film festival should be, from various parts of the world and all sorts of styles and genres,” said film critic David Stratton.
He says one film that is sure to impress audiences is Ajami, a production with an unconventional alliance behind it.
“Ajami is a film set in Jaffa and it’s co-directed and co-written by an Israeli director and a Palestinian director,” he said.
“You’ll come out of that film I think, absolutely stunned.”
As the festival enters its 14th year, new digital formats are posing some challenges.
“Digital cinema is a fabulous way to go. It makes filmmaking more accessible for everybody. It makes it easier and safer to distribute but there are a lot of challenges in managing,” Mr Weaving said.
“We have 50 films coming from all over the world in different boxes and shapes and sizes and we have to make sure we can screen all of those different formats.”
The 12 day festival runs until November 7.