MIFF declared Winter Masterpiece
[release from Limelight PR]
The 57th Melbourne International Film Festival has come to a close with a “collective screaming” of Spanish horror film, [REC] after 17 days, 280 feature films, 10 World Premieres, 81 short films, 51 international guests and 67 Australian guests.
2008 witnessed a 6% increase in box office. A greater number of available opening and closing night tickets contributed to the box office increase as well as a record number of mini passes purchased, which sold out by the first week of the festival. Demand was so great, that the Box Office had to create another allotment. Overall, attendances were up by 1.5%, totalling 185,000.
“I’d like to thank the Melbourne community for coming out again in such substantial numbers this year – its heart warming to see such support particularly in the context of an uncertain economic climate and faced with major opposition like the Olympics. As a cultural icon MIFF has firmly established itself as a true Winter Masterpiece“ said Executive Director Richard Moore.
Highlights from this year’s festival include; industry members thought they were watching a ghost on opening night when Not Quite Hollywood guest Roger Ward walked the red carpet – the reason? Someone had started a rumour that he had passed away several years earlier. Now that they know he is alive, Roger is being actively considered for film roles.
50+ zombies in full blood and gore attending the Australian premiere of Diary of the Dead. Festival guest George A Romero was almost in the wrong place at the wrong time when one zombie who suffered motion sickness during the premiere, threw up over the balcony at the Capitol Theatre.
Other memorable moments include Serge Bozon (La France) cranking up the dance floor at the Festival Lounge with his DJing skills; Morgan Spurlock leading a chant of Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi during his introduction for Where in the Word is Osama Bin Laden?; Lionel Rose receiving a 2-minute standing ovation and bringing the audience to tears; new MIFF ambassador , Fred Schepisi offering his views on thirty year olds in film funding bodies giving him advice on "narrative structure" in a conversation with MIFF patron Geoffrey Rush, and at the Q and A for Three Blind Mice, Bert Newton asked the director, Matt, whether he would have considered a younger, 60 year-old actor for the role Bud Tingwell played.
Out of 464 sessions, 91 sold out – up by 37 sessions from last year. Four of the MIFF Premiere Fund Films sold out – Not Quite Hollywood, Rock’N’Roll Nerd, Celebrity and Bastardy. One of the more popular program strands was Next Gen – in its sophomore year audiences nearly trebled. The new membership benefits program was a huge success, almost quadrupling MIFF members.
The Wackness won the audience award for most popular feature and MIFF International Ambassador Morgan Spurlock’s Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden won the audience award for best documentary.
Following on from The Wackness, came Persepolis, Otto; Or Up With Dead People, Boy A, Lorna’s Silence, In Bruges, The Wave, Waltz With Bashir, Son of Rambow and Katyn. In the documentaries after Where in The World Is Osama Bin Laden came Encounters At The End of the World, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, Rock’n’Roll Nerd, Bastardy, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S Thompson; Respect Yourself: Stax Records, Celebrity- Takes of Dominic Dunne, In My Father’s Country and MIFF Footy Shorts.