Melbourne International Film Festival
If you only do one thing... See a film at Melbourne International Film Festival
One of the world’s most prestigious film festivals is right on your doorstep – so why not take advantage and see as many movies as possible? Our tip: save money by getting a Mini Pass for ten sessions of your choice
Michelle, we’re living in times when science fiction is everyday reality, so it’s apt to see your Focus on Sci-fi retrospective this year.
Sci-fi is something [MIFF programmer] Al Cossar and I have been wanting to do for ages, and we wanted to look for lesser-known films. A lot of people think of sci-fi as ’80s or ’90s blockbusters, but really it goes way back to the silent era and the beginning of cinema. The marathon [ see sidebar] was conceived to be visceral and pulpy, and the films in the regular program are European stuff that has gone under the radar. We also have the 1973 animation
Fantastic Planet with a live music score.
Why did you choose to do a filmmaker focus on British director Sally Potter?
Her work has been difficult to get to see. She works in so many different genres, but is so experimental and daring. I was watching
Orlando (1993) again recently – it’s an incredible film. She comes from a background of dance and experimental performance and she’s really underrated. A lot of her films are personal, but then she does completely weird things like Rage from 2009, which is basically just interviewing people on the screen about a murder that has happened at a fashion show.
Your Pioneering Women program picks out Australian films directed by women.
In the mid to late ’90s there was an explosion in Australian female directors. So I wanted to concentrate on the ’80s and early ’90s specifically, and so many amazing films from that era are not known today. Gems such as Susan Lambert’s On Guard , a dystopian, anarchic feminist heist thriller. Tracey Moffatt’s
Bedevil  – it’s hard to imagine a film like that being made now. Most of the filmmakers are going to be here, and we’re going to have a panel.
Your opening night film looks very exciting this year.
That’s Jungle by Greg Mclean – part of our our Premiere Fund. Every year we provide funding to six films that helps them to complete the film, and part of the deal is that we get to screen the film in premiere. This is a quite a different film for us, as it’s big and genre-like. Daniel Radcliffe is incredible in it, he really is like you’ve never seen him before.
Any word on whether Daniel will come?
We’re trying really hard – it’s like a daily conversation! They haven’t said no.
You have a Ben Elton-directed film as your Centrepiece Gala.
Three Summers. He’s been working on this for quite a while. It’s a big, broad Australian comedy with an ensemble cast – Magda Szubanski, Deborah Mailman, John Waters, Michael Caton. It’s about a bunch of people who come together over three different years for this folk festival and the relationships they form. It’s a bit of a satire on racism in Australia as well.
“I get shivers down my spine just thinking about it”
And you have a music doco for closing night.
That’s Gurrumul Elcho Dreaming – a very different, moving portrait of the ARIA award-winning singer and musician. He’s blind and very shy, so quite a difficult subject for a film, but once you see his story it’s incredibly moving and I get shivers down my spine just thinking about it.