Melbourne International Film Festival

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Melbourne International Film Festival
MIFF logo
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
No. of films300 (approx.)
Website Official website

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. [1] 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. [2]



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. [1] [3] [4]

As of 2013, the festival is accredited by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, [5] the Australian Film Institute [6] and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. [5]

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. [7]


The MIFF Opening Night Gala and film screenings take place in the Arts Centre Melbourne's Hamer Hall Hamer Hall interior pano.jpg
The MIFF Opening Night Gala and film screenings take place in the Arts Centre Melbourne's Hamer Hall

In 2013, the festival program consisted of the following categories:


The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is a main venue for screenings and the 37oSouth Market Australian Centre for the Moving Image.jpg
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is a main venue for screenings and the 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. [9]

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. [10]

Film Competitions

Since 1962, MIFF has staged a short film competition, as well as numerous feature film award categories. [11] It also presents audience popularity awards for feature film and documentary. [11] The festival's inaugural award was 'Best Short Film', but the title was changed to 'Grand Prix for Best Short Film' in 1965. [11] From 1985 onwards, the Grand Prix has been officially presented by the City of Melbourne. [11]

The Forum Theatre is a main venue for the short film competition, as well as festival panels and lectures Forum Theatre Melbourne.jpg
The Forum Theatre is a main venue for the short film competition, as well as festival panels and lectures

Feature film awards

Short film awards

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. [12]

Winners of Grand Prix for Best Short Film

1965La gazza ladraGiulio Giannini, Emanuele Luzzati Italy
1966The InheritanceHarold MayerUnited States
1967Petrol-Carburant-KraftstoffHugo Niebeling West Germany
1968You're Human Like the Rest of Them B. S. Johnson UK
1969 Pas de deux Norman McLaren Canada
1970Calcutta Louis Malle France
1971Blake Bill Mason Canada
1972ScarabusGérald FrydmanBelgium
1973 Street Musique Ryan Larkin Canada
1974Edward BurraPeter K. SmithUK
1975 Last Grave at Dimbaza Nana Mahamo South Africa
1976Leisure Bruce Petty Australia
1977Corralejas de SincelejoMario Mitrotti Colombia
1978Manimals Robin Lehman United States
1979MaljAleksandar Ilic Yugoslavia
1980Interview Caroline Leaf Canada
1981New York StoryJackie RaynalUnited States
1982ShadowsRoyden IrvineAustralia
1983Douglas Mawson: The Survivor David Parer Australia
1984Aquí se lo hallaLee SokolUnited States
1985In Heaven There Is No Beer? Les Blank United States
1986My Life Without SteveGillian LeahyAustralia
1987Panya shugekiNaoto YamakawaJapan
1988The Critical YearsGérard L'EcuyerCanada/United States
1989Twilight CityReece AuguisteUK
1990SwimmingBelinda ChaykoAustralia
1991Sink or Swim Su Friedrich United States
1992The Writing in the Sand Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen UK
1993Lektionen in Finsternis Werner Herzog Germany
1994 Only the Brave (film) Ana Kokkinos Australia
1995Twilight Tengai Amano Japan
1996BakaThierry KnauffBelgium
1997 At Sea Penny Fowler-SmithAustralia
1998The Storekeeper Gavin Hood South Africa
1999So-poong Song Il-gon South Korea
2000WildlifeKate de PuryUK
2001MuakahHadar FriedlichIsrael
2002Palace II Kátia Lund, Fernando Meirelles Brazil
2003DestinoDominique MonferyFrance
2004Talking with AngelsYousaf Ali KhanUK
2005Silent CompanionElham Hosseinzadeh Iran
2006AvatarLluis QuilezSpain
2007Blood SistersLouise N.D. FriedbergDenmark
2008 Dennis Mads MatthiesenDenmark
2009 Next Floor Denis Villeneuve, Phoebe GreenbergCanada
2010 The Lost Thing Shaun Tan, Andrew RuhemannAustralia
2011A Fine Young ManKevan FunkCanada
2012It’s Not A Cowboy MovieBenjamin ParentFrance
2013PandasMatúš Vizár Czech Republic
2014The QueenBenjamin Parent Argentina
2015Everything Will Be OKPatrick VollrathGermany
2016Mrs MetroAggelos PapantoniouAustralia

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. [13] Former MIFF director Richard Moore refused to remove the film from the festival program, [14] 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. [15] [16] The festival website was hacked soon after the launch of its 2009 program, with information replaced with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans. [17] Victoria Police was placed on alert during the screening of the film and Pro-Uighur demonstrators also gathered outside the Melbourne Town Hall. [18]

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

[The Dalai Lama] asked me to convey to you, in Melbourne, that [Kadeer] is another one of the national leaders who is a paradigm of non-violence... He wanted to make it very clear to people that the claims of this woman being a violent person or instigating violence, is from his point of view, and with all of his authority, wrong.

— Michael Danby (quoting a letter form the Dalai Lama). [19]

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 at the time. [18] 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. [20]

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." [21]

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. [22] [23]

See also

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