MIFF 2021 is opting for a hybrid version of the festival, after being fully online last year.
The Melbourne International Film Festival, cultural icon of Melbourne and one of the oldest world film festivals, is approaching. With it comes the excitement of being in a cinema again and seeing the best films the world has to offer. MIFF is returning to Melbourne for its 69th year, and some new and exciting things are promised for 2021.
How will it work?
In 2021, MIFF will have a mixture of online programming and real-life events, with an expansion into the suburbs and regional areas. Among the suburbs is the popular Coburg Drive-In, which will be a fun addition to the cinema experience. Outside of the city, regional towns like Bairnsdale, Bright, Echuca and Mildura will be included in the line-up.
What’s playing this year?
The full program won’t be announced until Tuesday July 13. However, a few films have already been teased.
MIFF will open with Leah Purcell’s highly anticipated, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson. This film had its virtual world premiere at the prestigious South By Southwest Festival in Texas last year and is now ready for its Australian debut. The film is a revisionist outback story, told through the lens of an Indigenous woman trying to care for her children alone on the Snowy Mountains. It’s based on Henry Lawson’s 1892 short story, The Drover’s Wife. MIFF was completely virtual last year, and according to artistic director Al Cossar, this film was “made for MIFF’s return to cinema”.
MIFF will also debut 11 Premiere Fund films, which, as suggested by the name, were partially funded by MIFF. These films will feature talented cast members like Stephen Fry, Elton John, Sir Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving.
Among them is Justin Kurzel’s Nitram, which will premiere at Cannes in July. Nitram is the first Australian film to compete at Cannes in a decade, and the first Victorian film to do so in over 30 years. Based on the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, the controversial film depicts the lead-up to the tragedy.
And from overseas, there’s Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida?. This was one of five films nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards this year. It’s a moving drama about the Bosnian war in the 90s and the attempts of a UN translator to save the lives of her family.
When is it?
MIFF will return August 5-22. Keep an eye on MIFF’s website for the full program on July 13.