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:: Spotlight :: 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 63rd Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is thrilled to announce that the 2014 Festival will open with the Australian Premiere of the Spierig Brothers’ new feature Predestination. After tackling zombies (Undead, MIFF 03) and vampires (Daybreakers), the Australian filmmaking duo Peter and Michael Spierig take on time travel in this stylish, intelligent thriller, starring Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor and Sarah Snook (These Final Hours, MIFF 13).

“We are completely captivated by this stylish mind-bender of a film and can't wait to present the Australian Premiere as our Opening Night film. Shot in Melbourne, with smart direction and thrilling performances, it will be a sure-fire conversation starter at the after-party,” said Artistic Director Michelle Carey.

Based on Robert A Heinlein’s All You Zombies, Predestination is the story of a temporal agent on the trail of a terrorist, in an intricate web of twists and secrets. Hawke gives a nuanced performance as the time-travelling agent, backed by an on-form Taylor as his enigmatic boss. Snook also dazzles with a revelatory and intimate turn, lending the film an uncommon emotional weight.

Offering a distinctive blend of sci-fi, noir and crime fiction with a Bukowskian streak, Predestination investigates questions of destiny and identity with wit and insight.

The German-born directors, now based between Brisbane and LA, will be in attendance for the red carpet event. “We are thrilled to have our Australian Premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Having shot our film in Victoria, it’s exciting to play Predestination to a hometown crowd,” they say. Pinnacle Films will release the film in Australia following its MIFF premiere.

Opening Night marks the first event in MIFF’s 18-day program. This year’s Festival will include well over 300 films from around the globe in program sections including International Panorama, Documentaries, Accent on Asia and Backbeat, as well as the youth-focused Next Gen section, which will be announced on Monday 19 May. A further selection of the Festival’s program will be announced in First Glance on Tuesday 27 May. The full program will be announced Tuesday 8 July and tickets go on sale Friday 11 July. The Festival runs 31 July - 17 August 2014. The Opening Night event will take place on Thursday 31 July at Hamer Hall with tickets on sale to the public from Thursday 15 May.

German luxury carmaker Audi is once again proud to be the major sponsor of the Melbourne International Film Festival and its Opening Night celebration. Audi’s high performance sports cars have appeared in movies including Iron Man 3 and Wolverine, in heart-racing cinematic car chases (Ronin, Mission Impossible II and the Transporter movies) and futuristic concept films (I, Robot and Ender's Game). Audi is the red-carpet limousine of choice for opening nights and major film premieres.

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**Update as at May 30, 2014**

Kriv Stenders’ MIFF Premiere Fund co-financed film Kill Me Three Times has been selected as 2014’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Centrepiece Gala event on Saturday August 9.

Following the mammoth success of Red Dog (MIFF 2011), Stenders’ new film pivots around a charismatic hit-man (Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg), who acts as the spark that ignites a chain of murder, blackmail and revenge in a small surfing town. Hired by a wealthy gent (Tim Winton’s The Turning’s Callan Mulvey) to ‘take care’ of his wife (On the Road’s Alice Braga), the assassin gets down to business only to discover there’s more than one person after his target. With a gambling addict (Animal Kingdom’s Sullivan Stapleton), a small-town Lady Macbeth (Wish You Were Here’s Teresa Palmer) and a corrupt cop (Beautiful Kate’s Bryan Brown) also thrown in the mix, Kill Me Three Times has all the makings of a saga that rises to Rashomon–esque heights.

Kill Me Three Times is one of six star-studded MIFF Premiere Fund movies to have their world premiere at this year’s MIFF (31 July–17 August 2014), with the others being:

• Cut Snake: A crime thriller from director Tony Ayres (Home Song Stories, MIFF 2007), in which a man’s engagement to a beautiful woman is threatened when a menacing man from his past reappears. Starring Sullivan Stapleton (Kill Me Three Times), Alex Russell (Bait) and Jessica De Gouw (These Final Hours, MIFF 2013).

• Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films: A feature documentary from Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, MIFF 2008) about prolific 1980s Hollywood company Cannon Films.

• My Mistress: A love story from director Stephen Lance in which a strangely innocent affair between a young romantic and an S&M mistress becomes something more. Starring Emmanuelle Béart (A Heart in Winter), Harrison Gilbertson (Blessed, MIFF 2009), Rachel Blake (Sleeping Beauty), Socratis Otto (I Frankenstein) and Leah Purcell (Lantana, MIFF 2001).

• The Legend Maker: A dramatic thriller from director Ian Pringle in which an ageing forger needs all his cunning to survive. Starring Tony Nikolakopoulos, Jeremy Kewley, Steve Mouzakis and Sachin Joab.

• Paper Planes: A children’s film about an Australian boy’s passion for flight and competing in paper plane championships from director Robert Connolly (Balibo, MIFF 2009; Tim Winton’s The Turning, MIFF 2013). Starring Sam Worthington (Avatar), David Wenham (300), Terry Norris (Innocence) and Deborah Mailman (Sapphires).

An initiative of the Victorian State Government, the MIFF Premiere Fund provides co-financing support for new Australian theatrical films that will world premiere at MIFF. To date, the MIFF Premiere Fund has supported more than 40 films, including Berlinale 2014 selected titles Tim Winton’s The Turning and Galore, and Cannes 2014 Directors’ Fortnight-selected These Final Hours.

Introduced in 2012, Centrepiece Gala is one of MIFF’s most sought-after special events. A celebration both of local filmmaking and of the festival’s halfway point, it’s a red-carpet occasion comprising a world premiere screening and an official after party.

Kill Me Three Times Centrepiece Gala event takes place at Hoyts Melbourne Central, with after party to follow, on Saturday August 9, 2014. Tickets are on sale now at miff.com.au/centrepiecegala

All single session tickets, including remaining MIFF Premiere Fund screenings, go on sale to the public July 11 2014.

Melbourne International Film Festival runs July 31 – August 17 2014.

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**Update as at July 5, 2014**

MIFF is delighted to announce that the MIFF Premiere Fund co-financed film Cut Snake will now be 2014’s MIFF Centrepiece Gala event on Saturday 9 August,while MIFF’s newly-launched regional travelling festival the MIFF Premiere Showcase will host the Australian premiere of Kill Me Three Times.

Cut Snake is a sexy crime drama set in mid-70s suburban Australia from Matchbox Pictures’ Tony Ayres (Home Song Stories, Walking On Water, The Slap) and is produced by Trevor Blainey (Noise) and Michael McMahon (Home Song Stories, Lou, The Slap). Cut Snake tells the story of Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell), a young man trying to escape his past and make a life for himself in a new city. He finds honest work and becomes engaged to the beautiful Paula (Jessica De Gouw). But when the charismatic and dangerous Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) tracks him down Sparra finds himself drawn back into a world that he had tried to leave behind.

Introduced in 2012, Centrepiece Gala is a celebration both of local filmmaking and of the festival’s halfway point; it is a red-carpet occasion comprising a world premiere screening and an official after party. The MIFF Centrepiece occurs at Hoyts Melbourne Central on Saturday August 9 and tickets are now on sale here

Kill Me Three Times, a thriller directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog) starring Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom), Alice Braga (On the Road), Teresa Palmer, Callan Mulvey, Luke Hemsworth and Bryan Brown, now moves to play exclusively for MIFF during the Festival’s re-launched travelling film festival – the MIFF Premiere Showcase. New funding from the State Government has enabled the return of a MIFF travelling film festival after an absence of six years. More details about the MIFF Premiere Showcase, including towns, venues and dates of screenings, will be announced in due course. For more information, keep an eye here

In addition to Cut Snake and Kill Me Three Times, the other MIFF Premiere Fund films in the 2014 MIFF Premiere Showcase will be: Electric Boogaloo, a feature documentary from Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) about prolific 1980s Hollywood company Cannon Films; My Mistress,a love story from director Stephen Lance in which a strangely innocent affair between a young romantic and an S&M mistress becomes something more, starring Emmanuelle Béart (A Heart in Winter), Harrison Gilbertson (Blessed), Rachel Blake (Sleeping Beauty), Socratis Otto (I Frankenstein) and Leah Purcell (Lantana); The Legend Maker, a dramatic thriller from director Ian Pringle in which an aging forger needs all his cunning to survive; Paper Planes, a children’s film about one boy’s passion for flight and competing in paper plane championships from Robert Connolly (Balibo) and starring rising star Ed Oxenbould with Sam Worthington (Avatar), David Wenham (300), Terry Norris (Innocence) and Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires); plus Galore, in which four teens navigate the flashpoint of adolescent relationships, starring Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues, Tomorrow When the War Began), Lily Sullivan (Mental) and Maya Stange (Garage Days).

An initiative of the Victorian State Government, the MIFF Premiere Fund provides co-financing support for new Australian theatrical films that will world premiere at MIFF. To date, the MIFF Premiere Fund has supported more than 40 films, including Berlinale 2014 selected titles Tim Winton’s The Turning and Galore, and Cannes 2014 Directors’ Fortnight-selected These Final Hours.

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**Update as at July 11, 2014**

The 63rd Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) launched its full program consisting of 341 films, 17 program strands, 28 world premieres, 168 Australian Premieres, 19 Talking Pictures events, 24 international guests, and more than 71 local guests.

“With new venues and a broader footprint over our wonderful CBD, 2014 sees a new MIFF with more sessions giving the ravenous film-goer greater choice than ever. To close it off in style, we are thrilled to present the Australian Premiere of FELONY, directed by Melbourne filmmaker Matthew Saville, written by and starring Australian acting icon Joel Edgerton alongside Melissa George, Sarah Roberts, Tom Wilkinson and Jai Courtney,” said Artistic Director Michelle Carey.

Three detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in a critical condition. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. FELONY is the story of how far these men will go to disguise and unravel the truth.

Opening MIFF with the already announced Predestination, a stylish thriller from Australian filmmaking duo the Spierig Brothers, this year’s festival marks its half-way point with the world premiere Centrepiece Gala screening of Cut Snake, a crime thriller from director Tony Ayres (Home Song Stories, MIFF 07). Demonstrating how one man’s biggest enemy in moving forward can be himself, the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported film stars Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire), Alex Russell (Bait, Chronicle) and Jessica De Gouw (These Final Hours, MIFF 13).

Home-grown talent takes centre stage in the Australian Showcase section with three more Premiere Fund films receiving a world premiere at MIFF this year: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, a feature documentary from Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, MIFF 08); The Legend Maker, a dramatic thriller from Ian Pringle, in which an ageing criminal needs all his cunning to survive; and My Mistress, a love story starring Emmanuelle Béart (A Heart in Winter) and Harrison Gilbertson (Blessed, MIFF 09), from director Stephen Lance.

Other Australian offerings include Still Our Country – Reflections on a Culture, a companion piece to Rolf de Heer’s Cannes-winning Charlie’s Country; Fell, a film about two very different men linked by grief and remorse, from award-winning short filmmaker and MIFF Accelerator alumnus Kasimir Burgess; and Ukraine is not a Brothel, a documentary from Melbourne’s Kitty Green, who captures the passions and many paradoxes of the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN.

This year MIFF also presents a Melbourne Stories mini-program, turning the spotlight back on our hometown to look at the people and places that make it unique. Screenings include Don’t Throw Stones, a documentary based on rock ‘n’ roll icon Stephen Cummings’ tell-all memoir Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy?; and Curtain Call, the story of Terry and Carole Ann Gill, the couple behind one of Australia’s most beloved pantomime theatres, the Tivoli.

A new program strand, I Dream of Genius: Science & Technology on Screen showcases the practical, philosophical and potential facets of science and technology in our daily lives. Web Junkie is an engrossing look inside one of China’s prison-like rehabilitation camps for internet-addicted teens; Happiness, winner of Sundance’s World Cinema: Documentary Award for Cinematography, follows the introduction of television into a remote Bhutan village; and the Sheffield Doc/Fest Audience Award winner, Particle Fever, tells the story of the Large Hadron Collider’s discovery of the Higgs boson “God particle”.

MIFF will go beyond the glossy Bollywood façade to present an authentic portrait of contemporary Indian life via the spotlight India in Flux: Living Resistance, co-curated with Shweta Kishore. Showing audiences another side of one of the world’s most rapidly developing nations, this documentary program includes: Invoking Justice, an inspiring and intimate picture of Muslim sisterhood and collective action directed by Deepa Dhanraj; and Anand Patwardhan’s multi-award-winning Jai Bhim Comrade, which shines a light on a centuries-old conflict in Mumbai drawn along caste lines, where people are denied everything and forced to live in a world of scorn and prejudice.

Television demands attention in the new program strand Big Scene, Small Screen, where the best of what's hot and new to the small screen comes to life on the big screen. Audiences can catch the series sequel to Fred Schepisi’s 1976 film The Devil’s Playground, directed by Rachel Ward (Martha’s New Coat, MIFF 02), with a cast including Toni Collette, Don Hany and Jack Thompson; and Doll & Em, starring the UK’s Emily Mortimer and her real-life best friend, Dolly Wells, as fictionalised versions of themselves in a semi-improvised comedy about friendship, fame and filmmaking.

In a sign of the times, MIFF has curated a new program Celluloid Dreams: Films Shot on Film, showcasing works that fully embrace 20th century celluloid technology to give their 21st century cinematic storytelling a unique edge. Offerings include: Happy Christmas, in which wildly prolific lo-fi auteur Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, MIFF 13) reunites with Anna Kendrick for a candid and wry exploration of ‘adultescence’; Hard to Be a God, inspired by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s sci-fi novel of the same name, from the late enfant terrible of Russian filmmaking Alexei German; and Manakamana, a rhythmic meditation on pilgrimage in the age of mass transportation, set in central Nepal’s mountains and jungles.

A Perfect Midnight: Haunted Hong Kong takes a sampling of the supernatural to present spooky cinema from our regional neighbour. Screenings include Rigor Mortis, from pop star-turned-actor-turned-filmmaker Juno Mak, who cements his predilection for extreme Asian horror with one of the first jiang-shi films (Chinese hopping vampire genre) in over 20 years; and Mr Vampire, the 1985 film from Ricky Lau, which reigns as a cult cinema must-see for fans of Hong Kong cinema, horror and comedy.

This year MIFF delivers a retrospective on Jean-Pierre Léaud co-curated with Philippa Hawker. Known as the child of the French New Wave, Léaud has a gift for physical comedy, a singular approach to dialogue, and a distinctive presence. The retrospective will include screenings of François Truffaut’s classic film, The 400 Blows, a bittersweet tale of a misunderstood adolescent, which went on to become one of the cornerstones of the French New Wave; and Out 1 – Noli me tangere, Jacques Rivette’s (Céline and Julie Go Boating, MIFF 75; La belle noiseuse, MIFF 92) most ambitious work: a mostly improvised 12-and-a-bit-hour serial set in the studios, cafés and streets of Paris – and destined to be a rare and special cinematic experience for MIFF audiences!

Always one of MIFF’s most popular programs, Backbeat puts sonic visions on the big screen to capture the immense power of music. New Zealand director Florian Habicht returns with a cinematic love letter to Sheffield and its best-know 90s export in Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets; and John Pirozzi attempts to reclaim the unheard musical history of Cambodia, from the grips of the genocide inflicted by the Khmer Rouge, in Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll. Edward Lovelace and James Hall co-direct The Possibilities are Endless, a strikingly beautiful film about singer song-writer Edwyn Collin’s road to recovery after being close to death; Heaven Adores You traces the late Elliott Smith’s creative life in the cities where he explored his songwriting – Portland, New York City and Los Angeles; and Time is Illmatic tells the story behind the most pivotal album in the history of hip-hop: Nas’ Illmatic.

Truth remains stranger than fiction in this year’s bumper Documentaries program which features Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s long-awaited documentary The 50 Year Argument. Travelling to the Congo for Virunga, director Orlando von Eiseniedel follows Belgian prince Emmanuel de Merode and his fellow rangers as they battle against the corrupt forces that threaten the national park’s endangered gorillas; Advanced Style, the big-screen interpretation of Ari Seth Cohen’s hugely popular street-style blog of the same name, showcases New York City’s fashionable senior citizens; and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8 explores the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Maxim Pozdorovkin’s The Notorious Mr Bout is a fascinating documentary about a Russian home-moviemaker extraordinaire and dodgy entrepreneur, who filmed his face-to-face deals with warlords and corrupt politicians.

From legendary filmmakers to lost cinema classics and restored celluloid prints, this year’s Masters and Restorations program is one of the festival’s strongest yet. This year MIFF will present the Australian premiere screening of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, an extraordinary cultural artifact depicting the Holocaust through a 1945 lens, and assembled by a team including Alfred Hitchcock. MIFF will also screen a new print of Phase IV, the only film directed by Saul Bass, the mastermind behind the opening titles of Psycho, North By Northwest and Vertigo; and Trespassing Bergman, in which directors Jane Magnusson and Hynek Pallas visit the legendary Ingmar Bergman’s home, bringing along a small posse of directors – including Michael Haneke, Claire Denis and John Landis – to examine the director’s personal film collection.

This year MIFF presents comedy Italian style with Commedia all’italiana. A unique opportunity to see the genre’s best-known and most-loved films – in glorious 35mm projection – the program goes back to where it all began in the 1950s with Mario Monicelli’s Big Deal on Madonna Street, a landmark of the crime caper genre starring Vittorio Gassman and Claudia Cardinale. Also screening is Pietro Germi's Divorce, Italian Style, in which Marcello Mastroianni plays a bored Sicilian baron, who hatches an outrageous plan to lure his wife into another man's arms so that he can justify shooting her.

The diversity of Australia’s neighbouring filmmakers comes under the spotlight in MIFF’s ever-popular regional focus Accent on Asia. From Mongolian love stories to Japanese madness and Filipino epics, the program includes two films from Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang: the Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Stray Dogs, a bittersweet reflection on the people who fall through society’s cracks, and Journey to the West, an almost wordless, meditative experience. Also screening: Remote Control, a poetic coming-of-age story about a teenage boy living in Mongolia’s capital Ulan Bator, the debut feature from documentary director Byamba Sakhya; and Love Hotel, a documentary affording audiences a look at what really goes on behind closed doors in a distinctive element of Japanese culture.

Night Shift, the festival’s annual cinematic showdown, is an undying favourite amongst adventurous audiences that have developed a taste for blood and weirdness. There are a dozen films to choose from: Housebound, the debut feature from Gerard Johnstone, about a petty thief under house arrest who can’t escape the paranormal activity of her childhood home; cult auteur and MIFF regular Sion Sono’s (Himizu, MIFF 12; Guilty of Romance, MIFF 11) fun-lovingly bloodthirsty Why Don’t You Play in Hell?; and filmmaker Andrew Leavold’s The Search for Weng Weng, a unique documentary about a short-statured Filipino film star, taking in everything from Golden Age Filipino filmmaking and culture to a rare encounter with Imelda Marcos.

International Panorama is the annual program of the cream of the crop of world cinema. Audiences can catch James Gray’s highly anticipated The Immigrant, starring Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night, MIFF 14) as a Polish woman newly arrived in New York, who is forced into prostitution by a charming but wicked man played by Joaquin Phoenix; Abuse of Weakness, from uncompromising director Catherine Breillart, is the feature-length film telling the tale of how the filmmaker came to give over $1 million to a convicted conman; and Appropriate Behavior, directed by and starring the newest voice in indie cinema, Desiree Akhavan, is an amusing take on a bisexual Iranian-American woman trying to find her way in modern-day Brooklyn. Fantail, from first-time director and MIFF Accelerator graduate Curtis Vowell, is a comedy drama that received eight nominations at the NZ Film Awards; and Jacky in the Kingdom of Women is a twisted take on the Cinderella story from France, which skewers sexism and fundamentalism to hilarious effect.

Next Gen, MIFF’s program of films for audiences of all ages, has plenty on offer in 2014: Paper Planes, a children’s film by Robert Connolly (Balibo, MIFF 09; Tim Winton’s The Turning, MIFF 13) – starring Sam Worthington (Avatar), David Wenham (300), Terry Norris (Innocence) and Deborah Mailman (Sapphires) – will premiere as part of the festival’s inaugural Kids’ Gala. And from Japan, the exhilarating tale of star-crossed love Patema Inverted is a richly inventive new film from the young gun of the anime scene, Yasuhiro Yoshiura.

Taking the art of storytelling beyond the bounds of live action, this year’s Animation program features new work from and about big-name animators and animation studios, as well as anime masterworks and documentaries. Michel Gondry’s Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? takes Noam Chomsky’s philosophical and linguistic work, and interprets it via the director’s own unique style, translating theories and ideas into tangible animations; legendary cult animator Bill Plympton (Idiots and Angels, MIFF 08), a perennial MIFF favourite, returns with Cheatin’; and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, directed by award-winning filmmaker Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, MIFF 97), is the tale of an old bamboo cutter who discovers a tiny girl inside a bamboo stalk.

MIFF venues for 2014 include Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall; Forum Theatre; Kino Cinemas, a Palace Cinemas Partner; ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image; Hoyts Cinemas, Melbourne Central; Treasury Cinema; and RMIT Capitol Theatre.

SPECIAL EVENTS INCLUDE:

MIFF 54th Shorts Awards – The festival features 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 MIFF Shorts Awards Ceremony takes place Sunday 10 August.

MIFF’s Talking Pictures – A program 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.

Jerusalem 3D – For this special IMAX film, director Daniel Ferguson gained unprecedented access to Jerusalem’s most sacred sites, guided by archaeologist Jodi Magness, to present breathtaking visuals of them alongside rare aerial footage, resulting in a stunning cinematic experience. Screenings at IMAX.

Planetarium Fulldome Showcase – MIFF is excited to again present a special program of jaw-dropping fulldome screenings at the Melbourne Planetarium.

The Closing Night screening of FELONY takes place 16 August at Hoyts Cinemas, Melbourne Central.

All single session tickets go on sale to the public 11 July.

e-Mini Passes, Passports and Opening Night tickets are on sale now here
Melbourne International Film Festival runs 31 July – 17 August 2014.

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**Update as at July 15, 2014**

The 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) will host 24 international guests and over 70 local guests with a heady mix of some of the world’s hottest filmmakers, directors, actors and homegrown talent. Currently filming a movie in the US with Johnny Depp, Aussie Joel Edgerton will make a lightning trip to Melbourne for the red caret premiere of FELONY, which he wrote and stars in. He will be joined by director Matthew Saville at MIFF’s Closing Night Gala presentation of FELONY.

Actor Sarah Snook, and directors and identical twin brothers, Michael and Peter Spierig, will head to MIFF for the opening night presentation of their film Predestination, which was filmed in Melbourne at the Dockland Studios.

Prolific USA lo-fi auteur Director Joe Swanberg will be in town to present Happy Christmas - a candid and wry exploration of ‘adultescene’ and the divide between those who have children and those who don’t. Shot on super 16mm it also features a guest turn from Girls creator Lena Dunham.

Also heading out from the USA is blogger Ari Seth Cohen and director Lina Plioplyte with their energetic and charming movie Advanced Style, which was born out of Ari’s hugely successful blog of the same name where he photographs fashionable senior citizens in their 60s through to their 90s in New York City. In our youth obsessed culture Advanced Style goes about proving age is no barrier to being fabulous.

Celebrating MIFF’s inaugural Kids’ Gala will be Paper Planes Director Robert Connolly (Tim Winton’s The Turning, Balibo, The Bank) and its young stars Ena Imai, Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke and Ed Oxenbould (Puberty Blues) at a special family-friendly red carpet World Premiere screening at the Forum. Paper Planes is the story of twelve-year-old Dylan who lives with his father in the West Australian outback who discovers he is extremely good at making and flying paper planes. While attempting to refine and develop his newly realised ability, Dylan finds himself caught up in the world of competitive paper-plane making, leading to new friendships, new rivalries and new realisations about his own family.

Renowned for being one of the world’s most uncompromising directors, France’s Catherine Breillat will be in Melbourne for Abuse of Weakness, the terrifying story of how Breillat herself gave over $1 million to a convicted conman.

Indie darling Desiree Akhavan – director, screenwriter and actor – will accompany her debut feature film, Appropriate Behavior, about a bisexual Iranian-American woman trying to find her way in modern-day Brooklyn. Akhavan is in the next series of the global cult TV show Girls.

New Zealand director Florian Habicht returns to MIFF with his cinematic love letter to Sheffield and its best-known 90’s export, the band Pulp, in the joyous Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets.

Other international guests in Melbourne for MIFF are:

John Pirozzi, USA, Director, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll – a Backbeat presentation about the Khmer Rouge’s attempt to destroy everything the West had ever touched and the one thing they couldn’t destroy – rock ‘n’ roll

Curtis Vowell, NZ, Director, and Sophie Henderson, Actress/Screenwriter, Fantail – a hilariously deadpan comedy drama about blonde-haired, blue-eyed Tania who looks pakeha but identifies as Maori

Dr Toby Haggith, UK, Restoration Director, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey – an extraordinary cultural artifact depicting the Holocaust through a 1945 lens with restored pictures, overseen by Dr Haggith

Gerard Johnstone, NZ, Director, Houseband – Johnstone’s debut feature with a strong plot and genuine frights for the Night Shift aficionados and high gag-rate in a freaky concoction to please horror fans

Deepa Dhanraj, India, Invoking Justice – India in Flux: Living Resistance is a program strand in 2013 that goes beyond Bollywood to present an alternate view of contemporary India. Invoking Justice is an inspiring picture of Muslim sisterhood and collective action where civil disputes in Southern Indian communities are settled by all male Jamaats (councils)

Anne-Dominique Toussaint, Belgium, Producer, Jacky in the Kingdom of Women – a twisted take on the Cinderella story that skewers sexism and fundamentalism to hilarious effect

Anand Patwardhan, India, Director, Jai Bhim Comrade – this doco explores the aftermath of a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar, champion of Indian’s Dalit, being defaced, subsequent riots and centuries-old caste lines conflict

Albert Serra, Spain, Director, The Story of My Death – following his audacious treatments of Don Quixote Serra turns his hand to the legends of Casanova and Dracula, presenting an ostentatious re-imagination of the 18th century transition from rationalism to romanticism

Ryan White, USA, Director, The Case Against 8 – a riveting documentary that follows the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage; a journey that took five years of setbacks and victories and ended up in the Washington Supreme Court

Maxim Pozdorovkin, Russia, Director, The Notorious Mr Bout – Pozdorovkin directed and produced Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer and turns his hand to Viktor Bout, a Russian entrepreneur in the import/export trade with no distinction between legal and illegal cargo, played by Nicholas Cage

John Atkinson, USA, Composer, L is for Leisure - In the early 1990s, a group of students spend a sunny vacation mostly talking. They talk about everything from race wars to the skills of Michael Jordan as they hedonistically while away their youth. Steeped in early '90s nostalgia, L is for Leisure takes its inspiration from the oeuvre of Hal Hartley, Whit Stillman and Eric Rohmer, while also drawing heavily on the TV of the era, from Twin Peaks and The X-Files to Melrose Place and Baywatch

Other local guests at MIFF are:

Justin Olstein, Director, Curtain Call – the Tivoli Theatre in Melbourne’s Southeast was once Australia’s most beloved pantomime theatre and was run by UK expats and irrepressible oddballs Terry and Carole Ann Gill. Curtain Call is their story to save their life’s work and love from a commercial property developer

Tony Ayres, Director, Cut Snake – revered for his work on The Slap and Tim Winton’s The Turning, Cut Snake is his first feature film since 2007. A psychologically powered crime thriller loosely based around Brisbane’s Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub blaze

Mike Brook and Stephen Cummings, Director and Artist, Don’t Throw Stones – based on Cummings’ scathing memoirs of the Australian music scene, which hark back to his days as the singer of 70s rock band The Sports. With a reputation as one of Australian rock’s greatest lyrical storytellers, Cummings is also one of the industry’s most incendiary critics

Mark Hartley, Director, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films - when film-obsessed cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus came to America, their dream was to create a production house that would rival the big Hollywood studios. The result was Cannon Films, an outfit that soon became the stuff of legend, both on and off screen

Kasimir Burgess, Director, Fell – a father waits for his daughter’s hit-and-run killer to be released from jail, tracks him down in a remote mountain town where he's begun working as a tree-feller and moves in next door. But revenge and redemption aren't always the same thing, and in the forest new life often comes to replace the old. Psychological thriller-turned deep character study set in Victoria breathtaking Southern Alps

Stephen Lance, Director and Harrison Gilbertson, Actor, My Mistress - an unconventional and provocative love story in which an infatuation between the vulnerable teenage romantic Charlie and S&M mistress Maggie soon becomes something more dangerous

Molly Reynolds, Director and Rolf de Heer, Director, Still Our Country - Reflections on a Culture - an evocative companion piece to de Heer’s Cannes-winning Charlie’s Country, this film documents the swiftly morphing lives of the Yolngu people of Ramingining in the Northern Territory. The film makes for a bold declaration of identity and a hopeful promise of a future

Dirk de Bruyn, Subject/Producer and Steven McIntyre, Director, The House That Eye Live In - the first retrospective examination of filmmaker Dirk de Bruyn’s prolific and prodigious career. Migrating by sea from Holland as an eight-year-old, de Bruyn went on to be a doyen of Australian experimental cinema. But as this intimate film reveals, his work is suffused with the trauma of migration, and the struggle to recognise himself as a ‘new Australian’

Alex Dimitriades, Actor, Josh McConville, Actor, Hugh Sullivan, Director, The Infinite Man - one of the big hits at SXSW Film Festival, where it sold out multiple screenings and collected much acclaim, The Infinite Man is an engagingly sweet, smart piece of storytelling and a time travel rom-com done right

Ian Pringle, Director, The Legend Maker – a film about professional forger Alan Figg who operates in a world of duplicity where little is what it seems. He provides people with new identities and often the chance of a new life. But with age beginning to take its toll on his craft, and a thug threatening his life, Alan Figg’s world is about to spin out of control

Andrew Leavold, Director, The Search for Weng Weng - Andrew Leavold owned and managed Trash Video, the largest cult video rental store in Australia, from 1995 to 2010. He has turned his film obsession and nous to Filipino film star Weng Weng who struck a cord at the 1982 Manila International Film Festival in For Y’ur Height Only – a schlocky James Bond rip-off with a pint-sized protagonist. Filmed over seven years and taking in everything from Golden Age Filipino filmmaking and culture to a rare encounter with Imelda Marcos, The Search for Weng Weng is unexpected, funny and full of heart

Anne Tsoulis, Director, These Heathen Dreams - once described by the press as “one of the most controversial figures on the Australian art scene”, avant-garde poet and playwright Christopher Barnett achieved a level of notoriety in the Melbourne underground theatre scene during the 70s and 80s, before self-exiling to France. An intimate portrait of Barnett’s life and revolutionary philosophy and a poignant and inspiring study of the power of both art and political activism

Kitty Green, Director, Ukraine is Not a Brothel – Melbourne filmmaker Green embedded herself in with the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, who alongside their sisters in protest, Pussy Riot, have been whipping up media and political frenzies ever since they burst, blonde and topless, onto the streets of Ukraine in 2008, fighting the image of their nation as the sex tourism and prostitution hub of Europe

Amin Palangi, Director, Love Marriage in Kabul - after her son died tragically, Mahboda Rawi left behind her life in Sydney to set up a foundation for orphaned children in Afghanistan. Abdul was one of the first children she saved. Now heading into adulthood, he has fallen in love with the girl next door, Fatemeh, but Fatemeh's father disapproves and is determined to keep her under lock and key until he can find a dowry worth his while

Marlene Cummins, Subject, Black Panther Woman - In 1972 Aboriginal activists founded Australia's first and only Black Panther chapter in Brisbane. One of its members was Australia’s foremost Indigenous female blues writer and performer, Marlene Cummins, an idealistic teen attracted both to the group's revolutionary politics and to its founder, the charismatic, callous Dennis Walker. After ending her relationship with Dennis and leaving the party, Marlene disappeared into a crushing cycle of addiction. But an invitation to a convention of ex-Panthers in New York 40 years later finally gives her the chance to tell the world what happened to the women of her generation. This doco is directed by acclaimed Indigenous director Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Dae)

For more information, visit

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