Melbourne International Film Festival
The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is an annual film festival held over three weeks in Melbourne, Australia. It was founded in 1952 and is one of the oldest film festivals in the world. MIFF is one of Melbourne's four major film festivals, in addition to the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF), Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) and Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). As of 2017, the festival's Artistic Director is Michelle Carey.
|Location||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|No. of films||300 (approx.)|
Established in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and has become the most notable screen event in Australia. An iconic Melbourne event, the festival takes place annually in various theatres in the Melbourne CBD, presenting an acclaimed screening program including films from local and international filmmakers, alongside industry events.
MIFF is the largest film festival in both Australia and the southern hemisphere, and is Australia's largest showcase of new Australian cinema. The 2012 festival generated A$8 million for the Victorian economy.
As of 2013, the festival is accredited by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Australian Film Institute and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
In 2013, the festival program consisted of the following categories:
- International Panorama - a handpicked selection of world cinema
- TeleScope – curated program of 12 new films from 12 European Union countries
- Australian Showcase – new Australian cinema
- NextGen - a program of films aimed at younger audiences
- Accent on Asia - showcase of films from Asia-Pacific region
- Inside the DPRK - two film exploring life within North Korea
- Juche Showtime: Films of the DPRK - North Korean cinema
- Defying the Times: Activism on Film – films on political activism
- A League of Their Own: New Arabic Cinema – films from the pan-Arabic world
- States of Play: American Independents – independent cinema from the United States
- Masters and Restorations – documentaries on filmmaking and film restorations
- Backbeat – music films
- Shining Violence: Italian Giallo – films of the Italian 'giallo' subgenre
- Night Shift – thriller, horror and gore movies
- This Sporting Life – sporting films
- Short Film Packages – short film category that features the Accelerator programs (emerging filmmakers), Best MIFF Shorts Screening (best short films of the festival selected by the MIFF Shorts Awards Jury) and the MIFF Shorts Awards Ceremony (see: #Competition)
- Pre-Feature Shorts – short films featured prior to feature film screenings
- Special Events – includes the opening night feature film and a screening at the Melbourne Planetarium
- Talking Pictures – discussion and Q&A events with the festival's filmmakers and personalities
- MIFF Premiere Fund – Australian films supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund
- 37ºSouth - see: #37ºSouth Market
The festival is conducted across various venues located in Melbourne and in 2013 the following venues were used: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Forum Theatre, Greater Union Cinemas, Mandala Festival Wine Bar, Hoyts Melbourne Central, the Arts Centre Melbourne, Kino Cinemas, Wheeler Centre, Village Roadshow Theatrette, and Speakeasy Cinema.
The 37ºSouth Market is the only international film financing marketplace to take place during a film festival in Australia or New Zealand (NZ). The event occurs during the opening days of the festival and is a forum for around 45 invited sales agents/distributors to meet with up to 100 pre-selected Australian and NZ producers who are seeking co-financing support. As of 2013, the 37ºSouth Market is also the exclusive partner of the London's Production Finance Market (PFM) for Australia and NZ. As of 2013, the 37ºSouth Market has attracted companies such as: Studio Canal, Wild Bunch, Paramount Pictures, BBC Films, HanWay, Independent, Miramax Films, Visit, Bankside, The Works, eOne, Cargo, West End, Aver, Level K.
Since 1962, MIFF has staged a short film competition, as well as numerous feature film award categories. It also presents audience popularity awards for feature film and documentary. The festival's inaugural award was 'Best Short Film', but the title was changed to 'Grand Prix for Best Short Film' in 1965. From 1985 onwards, the Grand Prix has been officially presented by the City of Melbourne.
Feature film awards
- People's Choice Award for Best Feature
- People's Choice Award for Best Documentary
- TeleScope Best European Feature Award
- The Age Critics' Award (presented by The Age newspaper)
Short film awards
- City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film (A$10,000)
- Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film (A$7,000)
- Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker (A$5,000)
- Cinema Nova Award for Best Fiction Short Film (A$5,000)
- Holmesglen Award for Best Animation Short Film (A$5,000)
- BBC Knowledge Award for Best Documentary Short Film (A$5,000)
- The Astor Theatre Award for Best Experimental Short Film (A$5,000)
- Jury Special Mention
As of 2013, the MIFF short film awards are accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), and winners in the Best Short, Best Fiction, Best Animation and Best Documentary categories are eligible to submit their films for Academy Award consideration. The judges for the 2013 MIFF short film awards were Lorin Clarke, Michael Matrenza and Ramona Telecican.
Winners of Grand Prix for Best Short Film
|1965||La gazza ladra||Giulio Giannini, Emanuele Luzzati||Italy|
|1966||The Inheritance||Harold Mayer||United States|
|1967||Petrol-Carburant-Kraftstoff||Hugo Niebeling||West Germany|
|1968||You're Human Like the Rest of Them||B. S. Johnson||UK|
|1969||Pas de deux||Norman McLaren||Canada|
|1973||Street Musique||Ryan Larkin||Canada|
|1974||Edward Burra||Peter K. Smith||UK|
|1975||Last Grave at Dimbaza||Nana Mahamo||South Africa|
|1977||Corralejas de Sincelejo||Mario Mitrotti||Colombia|
|1978||Manimals||Robin Lehman||United States|
|1981||New York Story||Jackie Raynal||United States|
|1983||Douglas Mawson: The Survivor||David Parer||Australia|
|1984||Aquí se lo halla||Lee Sokol||United States|
|1985||In Heaven There Is No Beer?||Les Blank||United States|
|1986||My Life Without Steve||Gillian Leahy||Australia|
|1987||Panya shugeki||Naoto Yamakawa||Japan|
|1988||The Critical Years||Gérard L'Ecuyer||Canada/United States|
|1989||Twilight City||Reece Auguiste||UK|
|1991||Sink or Swim||Su Friedrich||United States|
|1992||The Writing in the Sand||Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen||UK|
|1993||Lektionen in Finsternis||Werner Herzog||Germany|
|1994||Only the Brave (film)||Ana Kokkinos||Australia|
|1997||At Sea (film)||Penny Fowler-Smith||Australia|
|1998||The Storekeeper||Gavin Hood||South Africa|
|1999||So-poong||Song Il-gon||South Korea|
|2000||Wildlife||Kate de Pury||UK|
|2002||Palace II||Kátia Lund, Fernando Meirelles||Brazil|
|2004||Talking with Angels||Yousaf Ali Khan||UK|
|2005||Silent Companion||Elham Hosseinzadeh||Iran|
|2007||Blood Sisters||Louise N.D. Friedberg||Denmark|
|2009||Next Floor||Denis Villeneuve, Phoebe Greenberg||Canada|
|2010||The Lost Thing||Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann||Australia|
|2011||A Fine Young Man||Kevan Funk||Canada|
|2012||It’s Not A Cowboy Movie||Benjamin Parent||France|
|2013||Pandas||Matúš Vizár||Czech Republic|
|2014||The Queen||Benjamin Parent||Argentina|
|2015||Everything Will Be OK||Patrick Vollrath||Germany|
|2016||Mrs Metro||Aggelos Papantoniou||Australia|
Rebiya Kadeer film controversy
During the 58th festival in 2009, the controversial film The 10 Conditions of Love (2009), which documents the life of the exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, was screened despite many attempts by the Government of China (which labels her a terrorist) to have the film withdrawn from the festival.
Chinese filmmakers withdrew their films from the festival two days before it opened on 24 July 2009. Former MIFF director Richard Moore refused to remove the film from the festival program, despite the hacking of the festival website and attempts to hack its online ticketing system from IP addresses of Chinese origin. Later, both pro-Chinese and pro-Uyghur activists attempted to disrupt ticketing due to the media coverage. The festival website was hacked soon after the launch of its 2009 program, with information replaced with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans. Victoria Police was placed on alert during the screening of the film and Pro-Uighur demonstrators also gathered outside the Melbourne Town Hall.
The Government of China attempted to have the film withdrawn from the festival, going to the extent of contacting Robert Doyle, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne. Doyle, however, refused to intervene. Australia's Ambassador to China Geoff Raby was summoned by China's Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun to express displeasure about Kadeer's attendance at MIFF.
Looking for Eric controversy
In June 2009, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty (writer) and Rebecca O'Brien (producer) pulled their film Looking for Eric from the festival because the Israeli Embassy was a sponsor and the festival declined to withdraw their sponsorship. Moore compared Loach's tactics to blackmail, stating that "we will not participate in a boycott against the State of Israel, just as we would not contemplate boycotting films from China or other nations involved in difficult long-standing historical disputes."
Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF)
In 2000, MIFF's rejection of a feature film written and directed by Richard Wolstencroft led him to form the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). In subsequent years, MUFF has attracted controversy by criticising the content of MIFF, as well as its management, specifically the leadership of former directors. MUFF prioritises and declares that he has a mandate, as a space for exciting and edgy Australian cinema that may not be played at MIFF.
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- Richard Wolstencroft (2 August 2013). "The Opening Night of the 14th MUFF. Jugular by JJ DeCeglie. Discovering exciting and edgy new Australian Cinema. That's how we roll. That's what we prioritise. That is our mandate. www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDhJclDF3hU&feature=player_embedded". MUFF on Facebook. Facebook. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
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