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:: Spotlight :: 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Here is a list of Rialto Distribution feature films to be shown at the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

DOWNRIVER - A Film by Grant Scicluna (WORLD PREMIERE AUGUST 7, 2015)

We couldn't be prouder to be a part of the feature film debut of award winning Melbourne writer/director Grant Scicluna's Downriver. This evocative thriller, populated by powerhouse performances and polarizing revelations, is the calling card of a film maker on the rise!

Synopsis: When he was just a teenager, James was sent to prison for his part in drowning a young boy whose body was never discovered. Newly free and still haunted by his crime, the now adult James embarks on a mission to find the boy's body for his grieving mother. But there are those who would prefer the past to remain buried – and are willing to do whatever it takes to stop him from succeeding in his quest.
A tale of redemption and reconciliation, Downriver is the haunting and confronting feature debut from award-winning MIFF Accelerator alumnus, writer/director Grant Scicluna. Boasting a knock-out cast including Reef Ireland (Puberty Blues) and Kerry Fox (Intimacy), the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported Downriver walks in the footsteps of films such as The Boys and heralds the emergence of an exciting new voice in Australian filmmaking.

DOWNRIVER screens:

Fri August 7, 2015 @ 9pm (World Premiere Screening)

Wed August 12, 2015 @ 9.15pm

Sun August 16, 2015 @ 4pom

TANGERINE - A Film by Sean Baker

Everything you've heard about this film is true. Shot entirely on iPhone 5s's, of which you won't believe that it is, the film isn't just a revolution in bravura film making it is also a revolution in contemporary narrative. Cheeky, insightful and daring, Tangerine has been hailed as

A perceptive and tireless look at a minority culture within a minority culture, Tangerine should appeal to audiences far outside the LGBT community. - The Examiner

Synopsis: It's Christmas Eve on the sun-blasted streets of Hollywood, and male-to-female prostitute Sin-Dee-Rella is fresh out of the joint and on a mission to track down her cheating pimp boyfriend. Together with her best friend and fellow trans sex worker Alexandra, they set out on a manic odyssey that takes them through the beautiful fringes of LA's subculture.

Shooting entirely on jacked-up iPhones, director Sean Baker (Starlet, MIFF 2013) captures the frenzied energy of his subjects and creates an almost otherworldly portrait of the city's hyper-saturated seediness. With hints of Harmony Korine, John Waters and the simmering tensions of Do the Right Thing, Tangerine is an underground Christmas movie for naughty kids everywhere.


Sat August 8 @ 9pm

Fri August 14 @ 9pm

THE GUEST - A film by Adam Wingard

Participating as a part of the Night Shift at MIFF 2015, The Guest is the follow up feature of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett after their hugely successful splatterfest You're Next. Devious, deceptive and deliriously demented, The Guest stars Dan Stevens (Dowton Abbey) and breakthrough actor Maika Monroe (It Follows)

Synopsis: Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens is extraordinary, playing against type as David, a soldier with a secret who turns up at the doorstep of the Peterson family to relay the parting words of their dead son. But David's intentions might not be entirely honourable, and Stevens’ magnetic performance imbues the character with immense but sinister charm, anchoring the film's delightfully cheesy grindhouse sentiments.

THE GUEST screens:

Wed August 12 @ 9pm

Fri August 14 @ 6.30pm

Sat August 15 @ 9pm

OUR LITTLE SISTER - A film by Hirokazu Kora-eda

Japanese auteur Kora-eda returns after his hauntingly beautiful 2013 film Like Father, Like Son with Our Little Sister. Intimate, sensitive and bursting with Kore-eda's trademark familial insights, the film's petite scale is match by some of the finest on screen characterisations in modern Japanese cinema.

Synopsis: Channelling the masterful spirit of his compatriot Yasujirō Ozu, Kore-eda adapts a graphic novel about three 20-something sisters, who, in the wake of their father's funeral, discover they have a teenage half-sister and decide to take her into the family. Infused with the director's deeply human insight and nuance, Our Little Sister is a moving work from one of Japan's finest.


Mon August 10 @ 6.30pm

Sun August 16 @ 6.30pm

THE INVITATION - A Film by Karyn Kusama

Another delicious voyage into the dark with this Night Shift entry, Kusama's potboiler is a work of a master genre film maker at the peak of her creative and narrative abilities. Don't say you weren't warned…

Synopsis: Will and Kira are on their way to the house of Will's ex, Eden, for a dinner party. It's the first time they've seen each other since the death of their young son tore their relationship apart. Will is on edge from the get-go, convinced that Eden and her strangely smiling friends are up to something sinister, but the line between paranoia and grief is a narrow one, and dangerous for those who walk it.
Nothing is quite as it seems in The Invitation, the insidious, deftly woven psycho-thriller from acclaimed indie director Karyn Kusama. A gripping study of delusion, fear and suspicion, The Invitation will have you squirming with self-doubt from beginning to end – the only thing that's for certain is that you'll never look at a dinner party invitation the same way again.


Fri August 7 @ 11.30pm

Mon August 10 @ 9pm

LISTEN TO ME MARLON - A Documentary by Stevan Riley

Marlon Brando, one of the greatest actors of all time, goes under the microscope in Stevan Riley's tirelessly researched Listen To Me Marlon. With access to the full library of Brando's diaries, tape recordings, home movies, archival footage and ruminations, Riley has painted a portrait of the actor whose vitality and insight is just as relevant today as it was when captured on media.


Sat August 1 @ 4pm

Mon August 10 @ 1.30pm

HE NEVER DIED - A Film by Jason Krawczyk

Henry Rollins takes centre stage in this new horror comedy the reinvigorates the supernatural genre.

Synopsis: Do you want to live forever? The blessing is a curse for Jack. His crappy apartment has become his crypt, and the bingo and boredom has only made him more disdainful of the mortal world. After centuries of the same, trouble comes calling again.

Punk legend, writer, globetrotter and raconteur Henry Rollins shines in his first lead film role as the eternally fatigued but frighteningly powerful Jack. How will a figure with lifetimes of experience deal with the arrival of his estranged teenage daughter, violent thugs and the promise of what could be love?

Writer/director Jason Krawczyk has created a captivating character and effortlessly straddles noir, pitch-black comedy and horror. But it's Rollins who makes Jack unforgettable.

HE NEVER DIED screens:

Sat August 1 @ 6.30pm

Tues August 11 @ 9pm

SUNSHINE SUPERMAN - A Documentary by Marah Strauch

Base Jumping. It either strikes fear into the hearts of men or excitement into the veins of the adventurous. Strach's energetic, breathlessly paced thrill ride into the lives of legendary Base Jumping husband and wife team Carl & Jean Boenish is a hella good time in the cinema and shouldn't be missed!

Synopsis: Carl Boenish and his wife Jean were among the world's first BASE jumpers. Fearless and guileless, they and fellow daredevils saw a building, a bridge, a mountain and just had to make the leap. Both foolhardy and brave, they risked their lives for the thrill of flight.
The 900-metre-high El Capitan. Los Angeles‘ 54-floor Crocker Tower. Norway's 1700-metre Troll Wall cliffs – the sight of open air energised the couple. Since Carl listed ‘filmmaker’ higher than ‘extreme sport pioneer' on his personal resume, every lunatic leap into the unknown was captured from multiple angles.

What emerges from writer/director Marah Strauch is a horizon-spanning, heart-in-mouth documentary featuring breathtaking archival footage and commentary from the daredevils themselves, capped with classic 80s music.


Sun August 2 @ 6.30pm

Sun August 16 @ 1.30pm

EARLY WINTER - A Film by Michael Rowe

Michael Rowe's follow up to the break out hit Leap Year puts age front and centre when a couple are forced to deal with the difference between their years. Emotive, insightful and deftly performed, this highly intoxicating drama confirms Rowe as one of Canada's finest film makers.

Synopsis: Now in his 50s, David (Paul Doucet) works security in a retirement home, his job a daily reminder of an existence that he's slowly tumbling towards and the yet unburied ghosts of his own past. David's younger wife, Mandy (Suzanne Clément, from Mommy, MIFF 14), is wrapped in a world of technology that he cannot understand, and when he discovers the reason for her technical immersion, the walls of his reality come tumbling in.

In this MIFF Premiere Fund-supported film, former Cannes Caméra d'Or winner writer/director Michael Rowe (Leap Year, MIFF 2010) has crafted an unflinching meditation on the difficulties of inter-generational love and the disconnection that can thrive when humans are given a new way to connect.


Wed August 12 @ 6.30pm

Sat August 15 @ 1.45pm


MIFF Opening Night photos are courtesy of Matt Deller, and can be viewed here