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:: Spotlight :: 2006 Melbourne International Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 55th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) was launched recently. The event is to be held from July 26 - August 13, 2006. Organisers have again demonstrated their vigour and commitment in compiling a terrific programme of cinema from around the globe.

Australian cinema is well represented at this year‘s MIFF. Buoyed by the successes of last year's festival hits, such as 'Little Fish’, ‘Look Both Ways’, and ‘Wolf Creek’, we can look forward for more innovative films with ‘Em 4 Jay’, ‘Last Train To Freo’, and ‘Opal Dreams; sure to attract attention. Paul Goldman's film 'Suburban Mayhem’ was announced as the Closing Night film while film lovers will have to wait until July 26 until we know the title of the Opening Night film.

International cinema is again provided through the International Panorama and Regional Focus sections, as well as the Backbeat and Documentary series.

The Short Film component of MIFF, “Best MIFF Shorts”, will screen approximately 100 short films, which will be vying for prizemoney of $Aust 35,000.

This year, MIFF organisers will use the Regent Theatre as the festival's new main cinema.

One of the highlights of the Festival will be the special guest appearance of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. His career will be the subject of “Filmmaker In Focus” as he has been an influential and renowned filmmaker of the Iranian post-revolutionary cinema.

Highlights from the curated Spotlights will include:

Jafar Panahi: Filmmaker In Focus. Enjoy the rare opportunity to view the work of one of the world's most important living filmmakers. Panahi's politically and socially motivated works include The White Balloon, Crimson Gold and Silver Bear winner at Berlin this year, Offside.

Danmark Nu; Denmark has given the cinema world maverick Lars von Trier and a generation of wildly inventive talent. As such, MIFF has packaged together a sampler of creativity from some truly great Danes.

Transience: The Changing Asian Metropolis; A century's worth of considerable social, physical and political transformations across differing Asian mega-cities comes to life through these new, plus some rarely seen retrospective, works.

In an increasingly globalised society, what role should cinema play? Is cinema a conscience or simply filmmakers riding on the shirt-tails of despair and headlines? MIFF 06 looks at the global culture of politics in the spotlight Globalised. With films including Michael Glawogger's confronting Workingman's Death, David Guggenheim's An Inconvenient Truth offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's fervent crusade to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks, and Ray McCormack and Basil Gelpke A Crude Awakening - The Oilcrash, which exposes the world's reliance on a rapidly dwindling source of non-renewable energy.

Super SK8mm + Other Mixed Cheese Bits; Conjuring memories of the freedom and maverick spirit of 70s seminal surfing movies, filmmakers Rick Charnoski and Coan ‘Buddy’ Nichols are skate-obsessives whose passions have resulted in a golden collection of Super 8 keepsakes. Rick and Buddy's movies come from the gritty end of filmmaking, where DIY is the MO and if you snooze, you lose.

The historic Regent Theatre becomes MIFF's Fifth Venue

This year, MIFF is thrilled to introduce 'la grande dame of theatres", the Regent Theatre, as the festival's new cinema - a $15 admission price is all it takes to enjoy one of Melbourne's premier venues.

The Box Office is now open for the highly sought-after Festival Passports, Mini Passes and tickets to Opening and Closing Nights. Tickets are now on sale online and in person at the Forum Box Office from July 15.

Pictured:

1. Sherrybaby
2. Hunt Angel
3. Last Train To Freo

For more information, visit

www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au