Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MIFF 2007 Programme Launch

[All MIFF-related posts]
I attended my first MIFF programme launch tonight and didn't glean a lot of information, though I did get to meet Festival Chair Claire Dobbin and Festival Director Richard Moore. I got to offer some positive feedback, expressing my appreciation for securing some major films from the recent Cannes Film Festival.

Richard announced that:
  • MIFF will be screening 387 films
  • 268 of these are feature films
  • 170 of them are Australian premieres
  • 9 of them are world premieres
  • He's not about changing everything. Most things are maintained as they were, some old features (like Backbeats) have returned, some features have name changes (check the website for details) and some things will be new.
  • Next Gen is a new feature: films for the family. Family tickets (two adults + 2 children) will be a mere $30. This is excellent innovation. I have often voiced disappointment that film festivals don't cater for children. This important art and cultural form should be available for all ages, at the discretion of parents. (Gee these classification regulations really leave a lot to be desired. I agree with one MFB reader who posted on At The Movies today about being against all censorship). Oops, I'm ranting.
  • There will be a Forbidden Pleasures section of the festival with sexual and provocative content, including a film called Teeth. Richard described it as a "female revenge fantasy" involving "vaginal dentata".
  • There will be three retrospectives:
    • Magnum in Motion
    • Shohei Imamura
    • Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • The opening night film is Michael Moore's Sicko
  • The closing night film is Shane Meadows' This is England
  • Richard pointed out that breaking with tradition, neither of these films is Australia
Unfortunately, I still have no confirmation of times or dates. It was revealed that the ten films from Cannes will all get a screening on the final day of the festival, kind of a mini-Cannes film festival. Those films are listed on a previous post. Some of those films may have individual screenings as well, though I didn't get a clear answer on that.

Speaking with the above-mentioned persons as well as publicist Asha Holmes, I received conflicting information about when more information will be available. Claire said she will look into getting the times and dates online ASAP. I mentioned I know of people from Sydney who are keen to see some of the films 'from Cannes' and are awaiting dates, so hopefully some of the readers here may have some answers soon. So, despite previous assurances, I don't know any more than what's on the MIFF website and awaiting updates myself.

In the last fifteen minutes a release from MIFF came into my In-box and I post it as is. Basically it's a summary of what Richard had to say at the launch this evening. We also saw about twenty minutes of clips from the following films:
  • Ils
  • Night
  • Beaufort
  • The Train
  • Animalia
  • Sicko

Hot off the press from MIFF:



MELBOURNE, Wednesday 20 June, 2007 - The 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival will open on July 25th with much lauded and always debated Michael Moore's latest offering Sicko, which had its world premiere at last month's Cannes Film Festival. "Sicko proves the power of documentary to place important issues on the social and political agenda - I can't say I've always agreed with him, particularly the ethics of that scene with Charlton Heston, but this is Mike Moore in vintage form. Sicko is brilliant in its execution, full of humour and intelligence", said Executive Director Richard Moore.
The festival will draw to a close on August 12th with the poetic and powerful This Is England from filmmaker Shane Meadows. Set against the braces and boots of Maggie Thatcher's Britain, This is England rolls out over the long weeks of summer school holidays, based on filmmaker Shane Meadows' own life story.
The 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival will screen over 300 films, including 9 World Premieres and a number of prize-winning films from World-Class festivals. The programme will once again feature the work of world-renowned filmmakers, and more than a couple of unknown gems, in its popular Homegrown and Neighbourhood Watch, Jaguar International Panorama, Backbeat, Animation Gallery, and Documentaries, as well as the most highly regarded short film competition in the Asia Pacific, BigPond best MIFF shorts screens approximately 100 short films, competing for a prize money of AUD$35,000.
New program strands this year include:
• AFRICA! AFRICA! - MIFF continues its tradition of exploring unchartered waters by presenting an array of features and documentaries from Africa.
• STARS OF DAVID - Israeli cinema has undergone a renaissance in the last few years, both with domestic audiences and on the international festival circuit.
• WORLD STORIES - Indigneous peoples from around the world tell their own stories in their own way.
• FULL MOON FEVER - Recoil in horror from these things that go bump in the night. Warning: Not for the squeamish.
• FORBIDDEN PLEASURES - The temptations of the flesh (and other titillations) are explored through this provocative selection.
• EURO DEBUT - A selection of the most highly acclaimed debut features of the year - the defining works of the new cinema of Europe.
• RETROSPECT ON SHOHEI IMAMURA - MIFF will screen eight films by filmmaker Imamura, one of the most important and idiosyncratic filmmakers in the history of Japanese cinema.
• RETROSEPCT ON HIROKAZU KORE-EDA - In this special filmmaker spotlight, MIFF salutes Kore-eda's career as a writer, director and editor of highly challenging, independent Japanese cinema largely examining issues of memory, loss and death.
• NEXT GEN - MIFF is recruiting for a new generation of festival goers in the Next Gen spotlight. Films from many different cultures and languages make up the program for ages 6-10 and for the 14+.
• MAGNUM IN MOTION - Started by the duo of Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Capa, the MAGNUM photographic agency became known for its social conscience.


Matt Riviera said...

Interesting that both retrospectives should focus on Japanese filmmakers... but great choices.

The early films of Kore-Eda really opened my eyes to Japanese cinema, especially Maborosi and Afterlife: it'll be great to see these again on the big screen! His latest, Hana, recently played at the Sydney Film Festival and is quite a departure from the intimacy and subtlety of his first features.

As for Imamura, whose later films I discovered not long before his death - it could be a great opportunity to catch up on the earlier classics, including the much-lauded Ballad of Narayama, which I've ever seen.

Here's hoping the Cannes titles are not all on the last day - I won't be staying that long...

Paul Martin said...

Matt, I'm not familiar with either of those Japanese directors, though it sounds like they look like they're worth checking out. I'm afraid the only Japanese directors I can think of are Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike.

I don't have any confirmation, but I get the sense that the Cannes films might be scattered throughout the festival as well. Here's hoping.

Richard Moore told me that there's always some crossover between both Sydney and Melbourne festivals, and I know from my involvement in Melbourne Cinematheque that legally, logistically and financially, it's a big thing to put on a festival, particularly one with a large number of prints. Consider: 268 features (ignoring shorts) - that rights and costs that have to be negotiated, as well as organising the logistics of securing the physical print, of which there may only be a very small number. I'm sure you're aware of this Matt, from your involvement with The Festivalists.

So Melbourne Cinematheque will occasionally share the burden by running films that might be screening elsewhere in the region. It just makes sense for the different festivals to collaborate and coordinate some of their activities.

marty said...

My fave Japanese director is Yasijuro Ozu who made these terrific social dramas in the 1940s andn 1950s. Really sublime and beautiful films.