MIFF unveils full program, ‘Gurrumul Elcho Dreaming’ to close the fest
Australian films are set to bookend this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), with Paul Williams’ Gurrumul Elcho Dreaming announced as the festival’s closing night film.
The documentary about the life and music of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is among the many Aussie highlights in this year’s MIFF lineup, which also includes Greg McLean’s Jungle as the opening night film and Ben Elton’s Three Summers as the festival centrepiece.
The 66th MIFF will see more than 350 films screen, among them 251 features, 88 shorts, 17 VR experiences. There are 31 world premieres and 135 Australian premieres.
The festival will have a showcase entitled Australian Film, which will include David Wenham’s directorial feature debut Ellipsis, the world premiere of Dan Jones and Marcus Cobbledick’s All For One, and an exclusive preview of the second season of Matchbox Pictures’ Glitch.
The Pioneering Women sidebar will put the spotlight on Aussie films from the 80s and early 90s directed by women, and will include a digitally-restored screening of Ann Turner’s Celia, Gillian Armstrong’s Starstruck, Tracey Moffatt’s BeDevil, Nadia Tass’ The Big Steal and Clara Law’s Floating Life.
Other Aussie features set to screen include Hope Road, Roller Dreams, Bloodlands, Rabbit, The Butterfly Tree, Have You Seen The Listers?, Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy, The Song Keepers, The Silent Eye, The Go-Betweens – Right Here, Australia Day, Ali’s Wedding, Mountain and That’s Not Me.
To mark 10 years of the MIFF Premiere Fund, the festival will also screen three retrospectives: the 2009 opening night film, Robert Connelly’s Balibo; Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s portrait of Jack Charles, Bastardy; and Ana Kokkinos’ all-star ensemble Blessed.
Aussies also dominate MIFF’s VR program this year. Lucas Taylors’ Inside Manus, which takes audiences behind the walls of the detention centre’s razor wire and lets them meet asylum seekers, will make its world premiere. There’s also Lester Francois’ Rone, a portrait of the Melbourne street artist, and Khoa Do and Piers Mussared’s The Extraction. There’s also Christopher Bailey’s Across, and Ben Smith’s The Hunt For The Yidaki, the companion piece to the MIFF 2017 Premiere-fund supported Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy.
Guest of the festival include Jane Campion, whose Top of the Lake: China Girl is set for its Australian premiere; star of The Butterfly Tree Melissa George; Loving Pia director Daniel Borgman, and Spookers-helmer Florian Habicht.
Campion will discuss Top of the Lake with Gerard Lee and Ariel Kleiman as part of the MIFF Talks program. Ben Elton and David Wenham will also appear to discuss Three Summers and Ellipsis respectively.
Fourteen emerging Australian and New Zealand directors will have their shorts premiere via MIFF’s Accelerator program. They are W.A.M (Bill) Bleakley; Nina Buxton; Kate Lefoe; Frank Magree; Zoe McIntosh; Victoria McIntyre; Greta Nash; Tin Pang; Simon Portus; Nikki Richardson; Rachel Ross; John Sheedy; Nick Waterman; and Dave Whitehead. All 14 will also get to participate in the Accelerator Lab, a workshop to assist directors to move from shorts to features.
MIFF runs August 3 to 20.