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Melbourne International Film Festival

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Melbourne, Australia

No. of films
300 (approx.)


Official website

2017 Melbourne International Film Festival

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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 2013, the festival's Artistic Director is Michelle Carey.


Melbourne International Film Festival Melbourne International Film Festival 28 July 14 August 2016

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Melbourne International Film Festival Melbourne International Film Festival Unveils First Taste of 2016

Melbourne is a significant city in the history of film: The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), the world's first full-length feature film, was filmed in the city.

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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.


Melbourne International Film Festival Melbourne International Film Festival FilmFest

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.

As of 2013, the festival's CEO is Maria Amato, Carey is the Artistic Director and Mark Woods is MIFF's Industry Director/Executive Producer.


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
  • Documentaries
  • 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
  • Animation
  • 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
  • Venues

    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.

    37ºSouth Market

    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.

    Film Competitions

    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.

    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 Dalai Lama also sent a message of support via Michael Danby, the Member of the Parliament of Australia for Melbourne Ports:

    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.


    Melbourne International Film Festival Wikipedia

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