MIFF is coming back this August to celebrate its platinum anniversary year. And with such a major milestone, film buffs will be spoilt for choice. Strap yourselves in for a whopping 257 feature films, 102 shorts, and 12 XR works. This year, there will be 18 world premieres, 12 international premieres and 177 Australian premieres, including 61 titles from Cannes. There will also be curated ambassador screenings, guest appearances, restorations and a Melbourne on Film retrospective. MIFF is returning to metro, regional and suburban cinemas, as well as at-home streaming. This will be the first full cinema season for MIFF since 2019. The festival will run from August 4 to 21, with films available to stream from August 11 to 28.
MIFF will take over 11 beloved venues in Melbourne. They are:
- The Astor Theatre
- The Capitol
- Cinema Nova
- Hoyts Melbourne Central
- IMAX Melbourne
- Lido Cinemas
- Pentridge Coburg
- Sun Theatre
It will also expand into regional cinemas, taking over Warrnambool, Echuca, Sorrento, South Geelong, Eaglehawk, Bairnsdale, Bright, Castlemaine and Mildura.
Of course, if you can’t make it to the cinema, you can catch films on streaming service MIFF Play from August 11 to 28.
Opening and Closing Night
Two Australian films will bookend the festival. It will begin with the World Premiere of the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported film, Of an Age. Set and shot in Melbourne, this coming-of-age feature depicts the romance between two young men over one summer’s day in 1999. This film is directed by Goran Stolevski, named as one of Variety’s ’10 Directors to Watch’ for 2022.
“Goran Stolevski is having an extraordinary 2022, emerging as a major voice within world cinema from right here in Melbourne,” said MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar. “Of an Age will make audiences swoon, yes — but it will also make them sit up and take notice. We’re so thrilled that MIFF’s return to the cinemas will be marked with this incredible, moving, Melbourne story of love and longing.”
After 18 days of cinema, MIFF will end with the Australian premiere of Clean. Premiering at SXSW, this feature documentary follows ‘trauma cleaner’ and Melbourne woman Sandra Pankhurst as she responds to a difficult world with radical kindness.
Premiere Fund Films
Including the film Of an Age, there are ten MIFF Premiere Fund-supported films that will debut at the festival. Key themes this year include environmentalism, sustainability, the housing crisis, diversity, coming-of-age and CALD, LGBITQ+ and First Nations issues.
There will be documentaries narrated by Hugo Weaving and Margot Robbie, and films that depict life in all corners of Australia, from Tasmania to Queensland.
Bright Horizons Competition
This year, MIFF is launching its first-ever, in-festival competition program. The Bright Horizons competition will champion Australian and international directorial voices, and fresh filmmaking talent, with a focus on first and second time features.
This year, 11 films will compete for the $140,000 Best Film Award. The films in the running are:
- The Stranger – directed by Thomas M. Wright and starring Joel Edgerton, this true-crime thriller explores trust, truth and identity.
- Robe of Gems – Mexican-Bolivian film-maker Natalia López Gallardo makes her directorial debut, exploring the complexities of the Mexican drug trade.
- Aftersun – a debut from Charlotte Wells’ that explores the father-daughter bond, and those that threaten to break it.
- The Cow Who Sang a Song Into The Future – a magic-realist vision exploring environmental issues, generational trauma and choice from Francisca Alegría.
- Neptune Frost – avant-garde cyber-musical from co-directors Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman. Ten years in the making, this explores technology, racial capitalism, human labour and gender.
- Leonor Will Never Die – from Martika Ramirez Escobar, this hilarious and moving meta debut is a tribute to 80s Filipino action films.
- Domingo and the Mist – a widower resists attempts to oust him from the land where his wife’s spirit returns to him as mist, from director Ariel Escalante Meza.
- Rodeo – a daredevil female motorcyclist just wants to belong in this coming-of-age story and action flick from Lola Quivoron.
- Mass – a confrontation between two couples in the aftermath of a school shooting, directed by Fran Kranz and starring Jason Isaacs.
- Playground – a child’s view on the cycles of bullying from Laura Wandel.
- Petrol – an idealistic film student is drawn into the shadowy world of a performance artist, from Alena Lodkina.
International Features and Documentaries
Highlights from overseas include:
- Alcarràs, winner of the 2022 Golden Bear for Best Film
- Broker, an unlikely family unite on the run with an abandoned baby, starring K-pop singer IU and Parasite’s Song Kang-ho
- Emily the Criminal, a thriller starring Aubrey Plaza
- Dual, starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul
- The Novelist’s Film, directed by South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo and winner of the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
- The Quiet Girl, a Gaelic-language film that won Best Irish Feature at the Dublin International Film Festival
Documentary highlights include:
- The Afterlight, a 35mm print film that will erode every time it screens
- Jane by Charlotte, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s portrait of her mother Jane Birkin
- Navalny, follows Putin’s rival as he investigates his own poisoning by the state
- Fire of Love, which features footage from French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Grafft and unveils their love story
More from MIFF
Other interesting categories this year include Music on Film, which will satisfy cinephiles and music fans with a range of musical documentaries, features and shorts. The Natural World involves a selection of features and documentaries that celebrate, protect and understand our natural world. And the Night Shift stream is all about terrifying and haunting the late-night cinema crowd.
For something interactive, check out Gondwana, a world-first durational VR installation that explores possible future’s of the oldest tropical rainforest on the planet.
There will also be special events, including talks, a Melbourne on film retrospective, a performance of film scores from Orchestra Victoria and more.
This was just scratching the surface of all there is to see and do at MIFF. For more details about the program, click here.
The MIFF Members pre-sale window is from July 13 to 14. Tickets go on sale to the general public on July 15.