‘H is for Happiness’.
Seven films supported by the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund will make their premiere at this year’s iteration, including Maziar Lahooti’s Below and Paul Ireland’s Measure for Measure.
The Premiere Fund provides minority co-financing to new Australian quality theatrical (narrative and documentary) feature films that then premiere at MIFF, and over its history, has invested in more than 70 projects.
The seven films include:
- Director John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness, which as previously announced, will form the festival’s Family Gala. The film tells the story of a relentlessly optimistic and hilariously forthright girl who hatches a variety of outlandish schemes to make her fractured family happy again. This charming adaptation of award-winning novel My Life as an Alphabet stars Miriam Margolyes (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Emma Booth (Hounds of Love), Richard Roxburgh (Rake), Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires) and Joel Jackson (Jungle) alongside newcomers Daisy Axon and Wesley Patten.
- Maziar Lahooti’s black comedy Below, a provocativetake on Australia’s controversial asylum-seeker detention system, starring Ryan Corr (Holding the Man) and Anthony LaPaglia (Balibo) star alongside Phoenix Raei (The Heights), Alison Whyte (The Kettering Incident), Morgana O’Reilly (Offspring) and Zenia Star (The Merger)
- Jayden Stevens’ A Family, an offbeat comedy shot in Ukraine that ventures into the home of a lonely man who hires actors to play his parents, brother and sister.
- Director Paul Ireland and his co-writer, the late Damian Hill’s reimagining of Measure for Measure, Shakespeare’s play about morality, mercy and justice, into a topical, multi-cultural tale of love and loyalty. It stars Hugo Weaving (The Dressmaker), Harrison Gilbertson (Hounds of Love), Megan Hajjar (Breath), Fayssal Bazzi (The Merger) and Daniel Henshall (Acute Misfortune).
- Hylton Shaw and Samantha Dinning’s No Time For Quiet, which joins a group of girls and gender-diverse youths as they discover the empowering strength of music through a GIRLS ROCK! camp in Melbourne, and features appearances fromCourtney Barnett, local punk trio Cable Ties and Sikh-Australian slam poet Sukhjit Khalsa.
- Serge Ou’s Iron Fists & Kung Fu Kicks, a sweeping kick of action-packed moviemaking mayhem that uncovers how Kung Fu movies spread from Hong Kong to Hollywood, and spanned Five Fingers of Death to The Matrix. Featuring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Cheng Pei-pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Cynthia Rothrock (China O’Brien), Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones) and Australian stuntman Richard Norton (Mad Max: Fury Road),
- Rodd Rathjen’s Buoyancy has its international premiere at MIFF following its world premiere at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival where it was hailed a “terse minimalist thriller” for its portrayal of a Cambodian boy’s enslavement on a Thai fishing trawler.
“The Premiere Fund champions stories that need telling and we are so proud of this year’s slate of wonderfully diverse and inclusive premieres,” said MIFF Premiere Fund executive producer Mark Woods.
“With a record number of films on the slate this year, we take our hats off to the talented filmmakers that we have the privilege of working with and we look forward to the Fund continuing to play its part in supporting quality new Australian cinema.”
The 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival runs August 1-18.