You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Melbourne fest boasts style, substance

Event mixes far-reaching fare with top local pics

In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar.

Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and unspools more than 140 features. Annual admissions top 185,000.

After years of distinctly Asia-centric programming under former artistic director James Hewison, current fest topper Richard Moore has taken the fest in a different and broader direction. While still aware of its regional ties (via an Asian section cannily titled Neighborhood Watch), MIFF seems intended not only to serve as a showcase for innovative programming, both current and retro but to reflect the personalities and passions of its selectors.

This year it opens with Robert Connolly’s drama “Balibo”, starring Anthony LaPaglia. about the shooting of five Australian journalists during Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975.

“I’m not necessarily obliged to take a local film for the opening night,” says Moore, “and my natural predilection, to be honest, would be to open with something perhaps more upbeat and celebratory. But ‘Balibo’ is just an exceptionally strong drama — the best film Connolly’s made — and it’s also an important political statement, for Australians and for our region.”

In addition to LaPaglia, East Timorese president (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Jose Ramos-Horta will attend the premiere.

Moore also cites a new section called States of Dissent. Composed of documentaries of “a political or activist inclination, often filmed either clandestinely or under conditions of extreme duress,” Dissent’s offerings range from the Buddhist monks’ protests in Anders Ostergaard’s Sundance hit “Burma VJ,” to N.C. Heikin’s “Kimjongilia,” in which 13 North Korean defectors relate their experiences in the dictatorship, their testimonies set against a backdrop of state-sponsored propaganda imagery.

“There are lots of political talking points in this year’s festival, and I think it’s something our audience want,” Moore says. “They tend to be very political and cosmopolitan, very engaged in issues both inside and outside of Australia, and it’s what they expect of an arts event like this one right now.”

MELBOURNE INTL. FILM FESTIVAL

When: July 24-Aug. 9

Where: Melbourne, Australia

Web: melbournefilmfestival.com.au

More Film

  • PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT - In the

    How 'Incredibles' Became Animation's Hottest Franchise

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

  • Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom - Kelloggs

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Video Now Playing on Kellogg's Boxes

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

  • Korea Box Office: 'Accidental Detective 2'

    Korea Box Office: 'Accidental Detective 2' Holds off 'Oceans 8'

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

  • Young U.K. Entrepreneur Launches $4 Million

    U.K. Entrepreneur Launches ARC LDN Fund

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

  • Jason Blum-Donald Tang Hatch China Genre

    Jason Blum-Donald Tang Hatch Chinese Genre Film Production Pact

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

  • 'Billy Boy' Review

    Film Review: 'Billy Boy'

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

  • Claire (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD) and Owen

    China Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Opening Dominates Weekend

    In Australia’s self-proclaimed “cultural capital,” the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival occupies a significant place in the city’s artistic calendar. Part of it, admittedly, might be due to sheer size: Now in its 58th year, the fest runs a formidable 17 days — by some measure, the longest-running film fest in the Southern Hemisphere — and […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content