Melbourne announces world movies for a school audience

19 May, 2011 by IF

Press Release from Limelight PR

At the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), we believe films provide pleasure and enrich life. Learning to interpret, appreciate and evaluate them provides invaluable keys for young people to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active, informed citizens.


The Next Gen film program was developed in 2007 to provide opportunities for students to explore other representations of the world. Film assists viewers make connections across social, cultural and geographic divides; by watching them we gain perspective on the values of others, and gain an insight into our own. Cinema is a powerful tool for learning about the world around us – it fires our imaginations and, when at its best, brings us greater understanding of the human condition.

This year’s program provides ten world-class films catering to students from upper primary to upper Secondary year levels:

Primary, Junior and Middle Secondary students can see; Russia’s The Ugly Duckling in which the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale gets a glorious stop-motion makeover – meanwhile touching on bullying, kindness, fairness and acceptance; and On the Sly a Belgian/French co-production which won the Children’s Jury Award at the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival.

Junior and Middle Secondary Students will be able to attend; Winters Daughter, a touching story about a young girl determined to track down her biological father; and Africa United – a comedy that gives students the chance to explore African culture, geography, sport and friendship.

Themes get a bit more complex as we reach the strands suitable for Middle and Senior secondary students, with; Israeli film The Matchmaker, a lively coming-of-age story set in 1968, when the West’s ‘summer of love’ finally spilled into a socially conservative Israel; Under the Hawthorn Tree which portrays a story of youthful passion amid the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution of 70s China; Australian film Falling For Sahara by 2005 Young Australian of the Year Khoa Do, follows three young African refugees in Melbourne’s inner-west who find that love is never simple – especially when they all have eyes for the same girl; while family bonds, Asian culture and identity are explored in New Zealand’s My Wedding and Other Secrets.

Special weekend sessions have also been programmed to let kids from 8 years old and up enjoy films at MIFF with their family; see a series of six fairy tales lovingly animated in silhouetted 3D in French film Tales of the Night; and The Liverpool Goalie – a Norwegian coming of age comedy about the hardest lesson of high school – learning to take a risk.

Next Gen with the assistance of Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust provides students with free study guides for films in the program. . This provides a greater context for students to take issues back to the classroom to explore the themes and topics in the films.

The 2011 Festival will run from 21 July – 7 August. For further information visit

A first glance of the 2011 MIFF program will be available next Friday 27 May here.