Melbourne asserts itself

City gets a pat on the back

MELBOURNE – The Premier of Victoria, Steven Bracks, opened the 53rd Melbourne Intl. Film Festival July 21 with a snappy speech, for which guests were grateful.

“Welcome to the best film festival in Australia. I can say that, can’t I? I just did!” he boasted to the capacity crowd in the huge Regent Theater, at the heart of Australia’s second city.

MIFF has in recent years asserted itself as Oz’s premier film event at the expense of the Sydney Film Festival, which has had financial struggles and eroded goodwill within the industry.

Opening-night feature was “Somersault,” tyro helmer Cate Shortland‘s moody coming-of-age drama. On hand: fest exec director James Hewison and the “Somersault” team including exec producer Jan Chapman and producer Anthony Anderson.

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