MIFF 2015 Program Launched!

The 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival launched their program in style last night at the Forum Festival Lounge and the trio from The Lowdown Under (Stephen, Dickie and Az) were there to ring it in with the film makers, programmers and festival members! Anywho – there’s loads happening this year and here’s the official release!


MELBOURNE, 8 JULY 2015 – The 64th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is nearly here. With 370 films, 17 program strands, 28 world premieres, 163 Australian premieres, 23 Talking Pictures events, over 29 international guests and over 100 local guests, it’s our biggest yet.

“With a hugely enticing program of local and international film, MIFF is so excited to be presenting retrospectives on Chilean director Sebastián Silva, New York City’s Josh & Benny Safdie, and Australian screen legend David Gulpilil,” said Artistic Director Michelle Carey. “The festival is also thrilled that Mistress America, the new, charming feature from director Noah Baumbach and actor Greta Gerwig, will screen as part of MIFF’s Closing Night celebrations, promising a joyful end to 17 days of film.”

Featuring a script co-written by Baumbach and Gerwig, Mistress America tells the story of aspiring writer and college freshman Tracy (Lola Kirke), whose new life on campus is proving a challenge. Rejected by the university’s literary society, she feels uncool and unpopular, adrift in the endless buzz of Manhattan. But when she meets Brooke (Greta Gerwig) – her stepsister-to-be and a whirling dervish of charismatic confidence and big ideas – Tracy gains both a mentor and muse. Spinning from idiosyncratic buddy film to all-out screwball farce, Mistress America sees Baumbach and Gerwig working together again following the success of Frances Ha (MIFF 2013).

As part of MIFF’s Opening Night celebrations, acclaimed director Paul Cox (Human Touch, MIFF 2004) and cast members David Wenham, Shahana Goswami, Hannah Fredericksen and Terry Norris will grace the red carpet for the Australian premiere of the moving love story, Force of Destiny. The festival will also mark its halfway point with the Centrepiece Gala screening of Holding the Man, an adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s much-loved book, attended by director Neil Armfield and lead cast members Ryan Corr, Craig Stott and many more.

The following films supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund will receive their world premieres at the festival: Grant Scicluna’s Downriver, the story of one man’s path to redemption, starring Reef Ireland (Puberty Blues) and Kerry Fox (Intimacy); Neon, a documentary celebrating the beauty, romance and art of neon lighting, directed by Lawrence Johnston (Fallout, MIFF 2013); Richard Lowenstein and Lynn-Marie Milburn’s (Autoluminescent, MIFF 2013) Ecco Homo, a portrait of provocateur, artist and performer Troy Davies; and Nicole Ma’s Putuparri & The Rainmakers, a documentary exploring one man’s struggle to fulfil his destiny. The festival welcomes selected directors and cast from these films as guests of MIFF.

Additional guests from the Australian Showcase section include: Brodie Higgs, with his culture-mashing feature debut Elixir; director Erin White and award-winning writer/performer Lally Katz, who bring Katz’s hit one-woman play to life on-screen in Stories I Want to Tell You in Person; photojournalist George Gittoes (Rampage, MIFF 2006) with the world premiere of Snow Monkey, his riveting first-hand journey through Afghanistan; and Jennifer Peedom, director of Sherpa, an awe-inspiring documentary about climbing Everest.

Continuing the bumper year for Australian Showcase, MIFF will also welcome director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog, MIFF 2010) and leading-man Alex Dimitriades on behalf of the accomplished TV drama The Principal; debut feature filmmaker and Accelerator alumnus Ben Chessell and beloved comedian Lawrence Leung with the coming-of-age story Sucker; actors Ewen Leslie and Odessa Young starring in Simon Stone’s debut feature The Daughter, an adaptation of the award-winning play The Wild Duck; actor-turned director Paul Ireland and Damian Hill with their tale of an inner-suburban Melbourne pawn-broker in Pawno; Margot Nash (Vacant Possession, MIFF 1995) focuses on the unspoken secrets and tragedies of her childhood in the documentary The Silences; director Elizabeth Povinelli and the Karrabing Film Collective with their short films When The Dogs Talked and Windjarrameru, The Stealing C*nt$;  and Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore with Tyke Elephant Outlaw, a film about the consequences of humanity’s attempt to control nature.

This year’s International Panorama is bigger than ever, bringing the best of global cinema to Melbourne direct from the world’s most prestigious film festivals and pre-eminent filmmakers. MIFF will welcome Iranian director Nima Javidi to the festival with her feature film, Melbourne, a psychological drama in which good people are forced to confront troubling circumstances. Other gems from International Panorama include the new Guy Pearce-starring romantic comedy Results, set in the world of Texan gym trainers, directed by Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, MIFF 2013); The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos’ (Alps, MIFF 2012) Jury Prize-winning absurdist satire of modern romance, starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly and Léa Seydoux; Louder than Bombs, Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s (Oslo, 31 August, MIFF 2012) English-language debut; and Miguel Gomes’ ambitious and multi-faceted breakdown of modern-day Portugal in his trilogy Arabian Nights, comprising Volume 1, The Restless One; Volume 2, The Desolate One; and Volume 3, The Enchanted One.

The Next Gen program continues to offer audiences of all ages intelligent, entertaining and diverse films selected for their ability to stimulate discussion and social awareness. Director Maya Newell will be a guest of the festival for Gayby Baby, a film looking at the reality rather than the rhetoric of same-sex parenting.

Accent on Asia presents cinema with a regional focus made in some of Australia’s neighbouring countries. This year MIFF is pleased to welcome director Partho Sen-Gupta, with the atmospheric thriller Sunrise, his first film since the award-winning 2004 drama Let the Wind Blow; and Filipino cine-punk Khavn de la Cruz, with his dialogue-free, most ambitious film to date, Ruined Heart: Another Love Story between a Criminal and a Whore. Also screening in Accent on Asia is Mountains May Depart, a moving story of family and migration partly filmed in Australia from that great chronicler of modern China, Jia Zhang-ke (A Touch of Sin, MIFF 2013); and Ryuzo and his 7 Henchmen, directed by perennially popular Japanese comedian and filmmaker ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano (Outrage Beyond, MIFF 2012).

MIFF’s Documentaries program returns with films that will incite anger, passion and so much more. Guests include Crystal Moselle with her Sundance Grand Jury prize-winning film The Wolfpack; and Du Haibin (1428, MIFF 2009) with his artistic study of ideological existentialism in A Young Patriot. MIFF audiences can also encounter Joshua Oppenheimer with The Look of Silence, the follow up to The Act of Killing (MIFF 2013); and the Oscar-winning director of The Cove, Louie Psilhoyos, whose latest film Racing Extinction presents an impassioned call to action for the future of the planet.

MIFF welcomes Chilean director and screenwriter Sebastián Silva to the festival for a retrospective of his work. Winning awards and accolades for his films since his 2007 debut feature, Life Kills Me, Silva has an eye for the absurd and is adroit at digging into his characters’ psychology and bending genre conventions. MIFF will screen his full oeuvre, including The Maid (MIFF 2009) and Magic Magic (MIFF 2013), as well as his latest drama Nasty Baby, starring TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and Kristen Wiig.

MIFF will present the first Australian retrospective of brothers Josh & Benny Safdie, who will both be guests of the festival. The brothers’ mainly New York City-set films capture the energy and unpredictability of modern life, showing beauty and absurdity in the small, quotidian moments of their memorable characters. This retrospective program takes a tour of life as seen through the Safdie’s eyes, and includes their latest feature, Heaven Knows What, a selection of their short films, and the documentary Lenny Cooke, focusing on the world of American basketball.

MIFF will welcome Yolngu dancer, musician and Australian film icon David Gulpilil to the festival for a look back at his filmic career. The retrospective will include screenings of Mad Dog Morgan, also starring Dennis Hopper and Jack Thompson, Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes, and the world premiere of Another Country, directed by Molly Reynolds. Both Rolf and Molly join the festival’s guest line-up.

Once again MIFF’s program This Sporting Life proves that extraordinary physical endurance makes for equally extraordinary humans stories. In this section, Melbourne filmmaker Olivia Peniston-Bird makes her feature debut with Graceful Girls, a film exploring the beautiful, physically demanding world of Callisthenics; and New Zealand director Christopher Pryor’s documentary The Ground We Won, takes a funny, against-type tour through grassroots rugby union.

With the global phenomenon of people visually documenting their meals via Instagram firmly entrenched in our lives, MIFF recognises that food on film has become more enticing than ever and will celebrate this with a selection of mouth-watering films in Culinary Cinema. As part of this new program, Jonathan Gold – the world’s only Pulitzer prize-winning food writer and the subject of the foodie tour through Los Angeles City of Gold – will be a guest of the festival.

From the festival’s Shorts program, which houses some 127 films across 10 streams, Oscar-winner Adam Elliot returns to MIFF with his latest claymation production, Ernie Biscuit, about a Parisian taxidermist who accidentally travels to Australia with his pet duck. Also joining the festival’s guest line-up is anti-domestic violence campaigner and Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, the subject of the short film The Nice House, directed by Louise Turley. Indulge in these and more shorts through a number of curated programs including WTF, Experimental, Animation, International, Documentary and Australian.

New program sections for MIFF in 2015 include Witness to the Fact: True Crime on Film, featuring stories from the underbelly of bad behaviour offering timely lessons about the messy realities of crime and punishment; and Psychedelic!, a mind-bending and eye-popping global tour of psychedelic films encouraging audiences to free their minds. Ever-popular program sections returning for 2015 include Masters & Restorations, showcasing the art of cinema in the digital era; the finest music on film and films on music in Backbeat; and a celebration of genre, oddity and weirdness in Night Shift.

Special Events include:

Vertical Cinema – from Sonic Acts, an Australian-first consisting of ten commissioned large-scale, site-specific works by internationally renowned experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, which will be presented on 35mm celluloid and projected vertically with a custom-built projector in vertical cinemascope. Experimental filmmaker Joost Rekveld is a guest of the festival. Screenings take place at Deakin Edge, Federation Square.

MIFF 55th Shorts Awards – a highlight of the festival calendar and one of the most highly regarded short-film competitions in the Southern Hemisphere. This year the eligible short films are competing for a total cash prize pool of $42,000. The Shorts Awards take place Sunday 9 August.

MIFF’s Talking Pictures – a series of talks designed to have audiences discussing, questioning and arguing all things cinematic with the festival’s filmmakers and personalities, opening the box on the issues and ideas in this year’s program. Speakers include film critics Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton.

Breaching Transmissions – UK cinema artist Sally Golding presents an exclusive premiere of a new immersive audiovisual performance, taking the audience on a hallucinogenic dark carnival ride exploring the slippage between parapsychology and technology. The performance takes place at Melbourne’s newest project space, Grey Gardens, in Fitzroy.

Planetarium Fulldome Showcase – MIFF again presents a program of jaw-dropping fulldome screenings at the Melbourne Planetarium in Spotswood.

Critics Campus – an intensive week-long lab that enables emerging Australian film critics to develop their skills in a live festival setting, mentored by leading film critics including Dana Linssen (Filmkrant), Jay Weissberg (Variety), and Kevin B. Lee (Fandor). Visit miff.com.au/criticscampus and theage.com.au for reviews by Critics Campus participants.

Culinary Cinema Special Events – inspired by the films Cooking up a Tribute and Foodies, indulge in a unique culinary experience delivered by Peter Rowland Catering, served with a glass of Mandala sparkling wine.

A series of public access events will also be delivered by MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator: Adrian Wootton will present his acclaimed Illustrated Film Talks, this year focusing on Hollywood legends Fred Astaire, David Niven, John Huston and Bette Davis; LA-based developer, writer and lecturer Wendall Thomas will return exclusively to Melbourne for her popular series Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts; and leading industry figures will present a selection of filmmaking master-classes, including acting with Kerry Fox (Downriver, MIFF 2015), and composing with David Hirschfelder (Shine, The Water Diviner).

Metro Trains Melbourne is the Principal Partner of the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival. As part of this partnership, Metro Trains Melbourne will provide free rail transport to all MIFF Volunteers for the duration of the festival and install an exclusive Metro Box Office at Flinders Street Station. All Metro customers will be able to access giveaways, discounted rush tickets, 2-4-1 deals, exclusive MIFF offers and more for selected sessions, via the Metro Box Office, from 4-6pm weekdays throughout the festival.

Metro Trains Melbourne CEO Andrew Lezala said, “MIFF is an iconic Melbourne event and as Principal Partner we’re delighted to be supporting its 300 volunteers and providing Metro customers with greater access to tickets throughout the festival. I encourage everyone to experience MIFF this winter – with festival venues located in the heart of our city, getting there is easy with Metro.”

The 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival runs 30 July –16 August.     
The full program will be available online 8 July 2015 and available in The Age on Friday 10 July.
Opening Night and Centrepiece Gala tickets are now on sale.
All other MIFF tickets go on sale to the public 10 July 2015.

A list of MIFF guests appears below – please note, dates are subject to change:

• Adam Elliot (Director), ERNIE BISCUIT, 30 July – 16 August
• Alex Dimitriades (Actor), THE PRINCIPAL, 13 – 14 August
• Adrian Wootton (Presenter), TALKS LEGENDS, 5 – 9 August
• Benny Safdie (Co-director), HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT, 30 July – 5 August
• Brodie Higgs (Director), ELIXIR, 3 – 7 August
• Chris Pryor (Director), THE GROUND WE WON, 7 – 11 August
• Craig Stott (Actor), HOLDING THE MAN, 8 – 9 August
• Crystal Moselle (Director), THE WOLFPACK, 1 – 2 August
• Damian Hill (Actor/Screenwriter), PAWNO, 30 July – 16 August
• David Gulpilil (Actor), ANOTHER COUNTRY, 30 July – 3 August
• David Wenham (Actor), FORCE OF DESTINY, 29 July – 31 July
• Du Haibin (Director), A YOUNG PATRIOT, 11 – 16 August
• Elizabeth Povinelli (Director), WHEN THE DOGS TALKED / WINDJARRAMERU, THE STEALING C*NT$, 31 July – 5 August
• Erin White (Director), STORIES I WANT TO TELL YOU IN PERSON, 30 July – 16 August
• Ewen Leslie (Actor), THE DAUGHTER, 30 July – 16 August
• George Gittoes (Director), SNOW MONKEY, 30 July – 16 August
• Grant Scicluna (Director), DOWNRIVER, 30 July – 16 August
• Jennifer Peedom (Director), SHERPA, 1 – 5 August
• Jonathan Gold (Subject), CITY OF GOLD, 11 – 16 August
• Joost Rekveld (Filmmaker), VERTICAL CINEMA, 11 – 16 August
• Joshua Oppenheimer (Director), THE LOOK OF SILENCE, 8 – 13 August
• Joshua Safdie (Co-director), HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT, 30 July – 5 August
• Karrabing Film Collective, WHEN THE DOGS TALKED / WINDJARRAMERU, THE STEALING C*NT$, 31 July – 5 August
• Kriv Stenders (Director), THE PRINCIPAL, 12 – 14 August
• Lally Katz (Screenwriter/Actor), STORIES I WANT TO TELL YOU IN PERSON, 30 July – 16 August
• Lawrence Johnston (Director), NEON, 4 – 16 August
• Lawrence Leung (Screenwriter/Actor), SUCKER, 30 July – 16 August
• Louie Psilhoyos (Director/Subject), RACING EXTINCTION, 4 – 7 August
• Lynn-Maree Milburn (Co-director), ECCO HOMO, 30 July – 16 August
• Maya Newell (Director), GAYBY BABY, 2 – 5 August
• Margot Nash (Director), THE SILENCES, 30 July – 10 August
• Molly Reynolds (Director), ANOTHER COUNTRY, 29 July – 2 August
• Neil Armfield (Director), HOLDING THE MAN, 7 – 10 August
• Nicole Ma (Director), PUTUPARRI AND THE RAINMAKERS, 30 July – 16 August
• Nima Javidi (Director), MELBOURNE, 11 – 16 August
• Odessa Young (Actor), THE DAUGHTER, 30 July – 2 August
• Olivia Peniston-Bird (Director), GRACEFUL GIRLS, 30 July – 16 August
• Partho Sen-Gupta (Director), SUNRISE, 31 July – 4 August
• Paul Cox (Director), FORCE OF DESTINY, 30 July – 16 August
• Paul Ireland (Director), PAWNO, 30 July – 16 August
• Richard Lowenstein (Co-director), ECCO HOMO, 30 July – 16 August
• Rolf de Heer (Director), CHARLIE’S COUNTRY, THE TRACKER, TEN CANOES29 July – 2 August
• Rosie Batty (Subject), THE NICE HOUSE, 30 July – 16 August
• Ryan Corr (Actor), HOLDING THE MAN, 8 – 9 August
• Sally Golding (Performer), BREACHING TRANSMISSIONS, 11 – 15 August
• Sebastián Silva (Director), NASTY BABY, 5 – 10 August
• Shahana Goswami (Actor), FORCE OF DESTINY, 29 – 31 July
• Stefan Moore (Co-director), TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW, 5 – 8 August
• Susan Lambert (Co-director), TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW, 5 – 8 August
• Wendall Thomas (Presenter), TALKS SCRIPTS, 2 – 6 August