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:: Spotlight :: 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival will open on July 25 with Michael Moore's latest offering Sicko (a look inside the US health system), which had its world premiere at the recent Cannes Film Festival. “Sicko proves the power of documentary to place important issues on the social and political agenda - I can't say I've always agreed with him, particularly the ethics of that scene with Charlton Heston, but this is Mike Moore in vintage form. Sicko is brilliant in its execution, full of humour and intelligence”, said Executive Director Richard Moore.

The festival will draw to a close on August 12 with the poetic and powerful This Is England from filmmaker Shane Meadows. Set against the braces and boots of Maggie Thatcher‘s Britain, This is England rolls out over the long weeks of summer school holidays, based on filmmaker Shane Meadows’ own life story.

The 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival will screen over 300 films, including nine World Premieres and a number of prize-winning films from World-Class festivals. The programme will once again feature the work of world-renowned filmmakers, and more than a couple of unknown gems, in its popular Homegrown and Neighbourhood Watch, Jaguar International Panorama, Backbeat, Animation Gallery, and Documentaries, as well as the most highly regarded short film competition in the Asia Pacific, BigPond best MIFF shorts screens approximately 100 short films, competing for a prize money of AUD$35,000.

New program strands this year include:
• AFRICA! AFRICA! - MIFF continues its tradition of exploring unchartered waters by presenting an array of features and documentaries from Africa.
• STARS OF DAVID - Israeli cinema has undergone a renaissance in the last few years, both with domestic audiences and on the international festival circuit.
• WORLD STORIES - Indigneous peoples from around the world tell their own stories in their own way.
• FULL MOON FEVER - Recoil in horror from these things that go bump in the night. Warning: Not for the squeamish.
• FORBIDDEN PLEASURES - The temptations of the flesh (and other titillations) are explored through this provocative selection.
• EURO DEBUT - A selection of the most highly acclaimed debut features of the year - the defining works of the new cinema of Europe.
• RETROSPECT ON SHOHEI IMAMURA - MIFF will screen eight films by filmmaker Imamura, one of the most important and idiosyncratic filmmakers in the history of Japanese cinema.
• RETROSEPCT ON HIROKAZU KORE-EDA - In this special filmmaker spotlight, MIFF salutes Kore-eda's career as a writer, director and editor of highly challenging, independent Japanese cinema largely examining issues of memory, loss and death.
• NEXT GEN - MIFF is recruiting for a new generation of festival goers in the Next Gen spotlight. Films from many different cultures and languages make up the program for ages 6-10 and for the 14+.
• MAGNUM IN MOTION - Started by the duo of Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Capa, the MAGNUM photgraphic agency became known for its social conscience.

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**Update as at June 29 - Guests announced**

With only a short time remaining until the 56th Melbourne International Film Festival opens at the Regent Theatre with Sicko, the festival is pleased to announce an exciting line-up of international and local guests.

In the first week of the festival, guests include:
•Stephen Kijack (July 25 – July 29). Director of Scott Walker: 20th Century Man, which looks at one of the great voices of his generation. Scott Walker went from superstardom in ‘60s sensation The Walker Brothers to one of the most talked-about disappearing acts in pop history – this film shows it all.
•Vivacious director Anna Biller will be accompanied by actor, Jared Sanford (July 25 – August 1) to present Viva – a lurid tribute to sexploitation cinema of the ‘60s and ‘70s;
•MIFF Accelerator alumni, Ben Hackworth returns to MIFF with his debut feature film, Corroboree.
•Tom Kalin (July 26 – 29) will arrive in town for the Australian premiere of Savage Grace, which stars Julianne Moore and follows the story of a society murder that had the world talking on both sides of the Atlantic.
•Jonathan King (July 26 – 30) presents his comedy-horror film, Black Sheep, which will no doubt have audiences in squeals of horror and delight.
•MIFF favourite Taika Waititi (July 27 - 30) returns to MIFF with his debut feature, Eagle Vs. Shark – New Zealand’s answer to Napoleon Dynamite.
•Judy Menczel and Con Anemogiannis will present The Book that Shook the World, an investigation of the repressive censorship laws under which Australians lived in the 60s/70s.
•Kriv Stenders will be in town for his latest feature, Boxing Day – a claustrophobic character piece with tension wound so tight it’s sure to snap.
•Simon Nasht will present Tasmanian Devil: The Fast and the Furious Life of Errol Flynn;
•David Valach (July 28 – August 2) will present his film, My Father, My Lord, about a Rabbi whose faith is tested when fate deals him a cruel blow.
•Ethan Hawke (July 29) will present his film, The Hottest State, based on his novel about first love and heartache.
•Photographer Donovan Wylie whose film, The Train, screens as part of the Magnum in Motion programme;
•Paul Cox will present Kalaupapa Heaven, a documentary about the leper community on the island of Molokai.


The second slate of guests includes:

•Lucille Desoto Clements will arrive to screen the World Premiere of Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw, an on-the-road documentary tracing the hidden passions and industry esteem of Australian rock band Rose Tattoo.
•Natasha Gadd and Rhys Graham will present their documentary about Australian hip hop, Words From the City.
•Lawrence Johnston’s Night will have its World Premiere in the second week of the festival with the filmmakers in attendance.
•Peter Carstairs will bring the World Premiere of his debut feature September – the first film made with the Tropfest production fund.
•Robert Sarkies (August 3 – 5) who arrives to present Out of the Blue, an edge-of-the-seat drama of courage and heroism.
•Anna Broinowski will present her documentary, Forbidden Lie$ about Norma Khouri, who conned the world into thinking she was a Jordanian virgin on the run from Islamic extremists.
•Bob Ellis presents the World Premiere of Rub Rabbit Run, an intimate portrayal of SA premiere, Mike Rann.
•Tony Ayres will be in Melbourne for his autobiographical film, Home Song Stories.
•Tim Slade will present 4, a documentary about Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
•Luke Walker and Melissa Maclean will present the World Premiere of Beyond Our Ken, an in-depth look into the cult, Kenja.
•Oscar Redding will present the World Premiere of The Tragedies of Hamlet, Prince of Demark – a modern day tale set in Bourke Street Mall;
•Steve Thomas, whose documentary Hope, will have its World Premiere at MIFF.

The complete 2007 MIFF programme is now available in selected cafés and shops. Single session tickets, festival passports and mini passes are available from Friday, July 13 online or phone 03 9662 3722.

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**Update as at July 13, 2007**

TICKETS NOW ON SALE

MIFF is on sale.
Peruse through the Complete Festival Guide, which you can pick up from a stack of places in town, including the MIFF Box Office at the Forum Theatre, 154 Flinders Street, and start booking your seats now.

BUYING TICKETS
In person at the Forum Theatre (154 Flinders St, City)
Saturday, July 14 - Tuesday, July 24 (11.00am to 7.00pm daily)
Wednesday, July 25 - Sunday, August 12 (10.00am to start of last session)

Phone bookings 03 9662 3722

Friday, July 13 - Tuesday, July 24 (11.00am to 9.00pm)
Wednesday, July 25 - Sunday, August 12 (10.00am to 9.00pm)

You can also purchase from the official website

For more information, visit

www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au