Melbourne International Film Festival

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is an annual film festival held over three weeks in Melbourne, Australia. It was founded in 1952 and is one of the oldest film festivals in the world following the founding of the Venice Film Festival in 1932, Cannes Film Festival in 1939 and Berlin Film Festival in 1951. Originally launched at Olinda outside Melbourne in 1952 as the Olinda Film Festival, in 1953, the event was renamed the Melbourne Film Festival. It held this title over many decades before transforming in the Melbourne International Film Festival.[1] MIFF is one of Melbourne's four major film festivals, in addition to the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF), Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) and Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). Erwin Rado (1914 - 1988) was the Melbourne Film Festival's iconic director appointed in 1956. The Australian Dictionary of Biography notes Mr Rado was the Festival's first paid director and also shaped its character with his 'uncompromising drive for excellence'. He served as MIFF Director until 1980, returning to stage the 1983 event. Other notable Directors include Tait Brady, Sandra Sdraulig, James Hewison, Artistic Director Michelle Carey and current AD, Al Cossar appointed 2018.[2]

Melbourne International Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival (logo).jpg
MIFF logo
LocationMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
No. of films300 (approx.)
WebsiteOfficial website


Established in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and has become the most notable screen event in Australia. An iconic Melbourne event, the festival takes place annually in various cinemas in the Melbourne CBD, presenting an acclaimed screening program including films from local and international filmmakers, alongside industry events.


MIFF is the largest film festival in both Australia and the southern hemisphere, and is Australia's largest showcase of new Australian cinema. The 2012 festival generated A$8 million for the Victorian economy.[1][3][4]

As of 2013, the festival is accredited by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,[5] the Australian Film Institute[6] and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.[5]

As of 2013, the festival's CEO is Maria Amato, Carey is the Artistic Director and Mark Woods is MIFF's Industry Director/Executive Producer.[7]


The MIFF Opening Night Gala and film screenings take place in the Arts Centre Melbourne's Hamer Hall

In 2013, the festival program consisted of the following categories:

  • International Panorama - a handpicked selection of world cinema
  • TeleScope – curated program of 12 new films from 12 European Union countries
  • Australian Showcase – new Australian cinema
  • NextGen - a program of films aimed at younger audiences
  • Accent on Asia - showcase of films from Asia-Pacific region
  • Inside the DPRK - two film exploring life within North Korea
  • Juche Showtime: Films of the DPRK - North Korean cinema
  • Defying the Times: Activism on Film – films on political activism
  • Documentaries
  • A League of Their Own: New Arabic Cinema – films from the pan-Arabic world
  • States of Play: American Independents – independent cinema from the United States
  • Masters and Restorations – documentaries on filmmaking and film restorations
  • Backbeat – music films
  • Animation
  • Shining Violence: Italian Giallo – films of the Italian 'giallo' subgenre
  • Night Shift – thriller, horror and gore movies
  • This Sporting Life – sporting films
  • Short Film Packages – short film category that features the Accelerator programs (emerging filmmakers), Best MIFF Shorts Screening (best short films of the festival selected by the MIFF Shorts Awards Jury) and the MIFF Shorts Awards Ceremony (see: #Film Competitions)
  • Pre-Feature Shorts – short films featured prior to feature film screenings
  • Special Events – includes the opening night feature film and a screening at the Melbourne Planetarium
  • Talking Pictures – discussion and Q&A events with the festival's filmmakers and personalities
  • MIFF Premiere Fund – Australian films supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund
  • 37ºSouth - see: #37ºSouth Market[8]


The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is a main venue for screenings and the 37ºSouth Market

The festival is conducted across various venues located in Melbourne and in 2013 the following venues were used: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Forum Theatre, Greater Union Cinemas, Mandala Festival Wine Bar, Hoyts Melbourne Central, the Arts Centre Melbourne, Kino Cinemas, Wheeler Centre, Village Roadshow Theatrette, and Speakeasy Cinema.[9]

37ºSouth MarketEdit

The 37ºSouth Market is the only international film financing marketplace to take place during a film festival in Australia or New Zealand (NZ). The event occurs during the opening days of the festival and is a forum for around 45 invited sales agents/distributors to meet with up to 100 pre-selected Australian and NZ producers who are seeking co-financing support. As of 2013, the 37ºSouth Market is also the exclusive partner of the London's Production Finance Market (PFM) for Australia and NZ. As of 2013, the 37ºSouth Market has attracted companies such as: Studio Canal, Wild Bunch, Paramount Pictures, BBC Films, HanWay, Independent, Miramax Films, Visit, Bankside, The Works, eOne, Cargo, West End, Aver, Level K.[10]

Film CompetitionsEdit

Since 1962, MIFF has staged a short film competition, as well as numerous feature film award categories.[11] It also presents audience popularity awards for feature film and documentary.[11] The festival's inaugural award was 'Best Short Film', but the title was changed to 'Grand Prix for Best Short Film' in 1965.[11] From 1985 onwards, the Grand Prix has been officially presented by the City of Melbourne.[11]

The Forum Theatre is a main venue for the short film competition, as well as festival panels and lectures

Feature film awardsEdit

  • People's Choice Award for Best Feature
  • People's Choice Award for Best Documentary
  • TeleScope Best European Feature Award
  • The Age Critics' Award (presented by The Age newspaper)

Short film awardsEdit

  • City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film (A$10,000)
  • Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film (A$7,000)
  • Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker (A$5,000)
  • Cinema Nova Award for Best Fiction Short Film (A$5,000)
  • Holmesglen Award for Best Animation Short Film (A$5,000)
  • BBC Knowledge Award for Best Documentary Short Film (A$5,000)
  • The Astor Theatre Award for Best Experimental Short Film (A$5,000)
  • Jury Special Mention

As of 2013, the MIFF short film awards are accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), and winners in the Best Short, Best Fiction, Best Animation and Best Documentary categories are eligible to submit their films for Academy Award consideration. The judges for the 2013 MIFF short film awards were Lorin Clarke, Michael Matrenza and Ramona Telecican.[12]

Winners of Grand Prix for Best Short FilmEdit

Year Film Director Country
1965 La gazza ladra Giulio Giannini, Emanuele Luzzati Italy
1966 The Inheritance Harold Mayer United States
1967 Petrol-Carburant-Kraftstoff Hugo Niebeling West Germany
1968 You're Human Like the Rest of Them B. S. Johnson UK
1969 Pas de deux Norman McLaren Canada
1970 Calcutta Louis Malle France
1971 Blake Bill Mason Canada
1972 Scarabus Gérald Frydman Belgium
1973 Street Musique Ryan Larkin Canada
1974 Edward Burra Peter K. Smith UK
1975 Last Grave at Dimbaza Nana Mahamo South Africa
1976 Leisure Bruce Petty Australia
1977 Corralejas de Sincelejo Mario Mitrotti Colombia
1978 Manimals Robin Lehman United States
1979 Malj Aleksandar Ilic Yugoslavia
1980 Interview Caroline Leaf Canada
1981 New York Story Jackie Raynal United States
1982 Shadows Royden Irvine Australia
1983 Douglas Mawson: The Survivor David Parer Australia
1984 Aquí se lo halla Lee Sokol United States
1985 In Heaven There Is No Beer? Les Blank United States
1986 My Life Without Steve Gillian Leahy Australia
1987 Panya shugeki Naoto Yamakawa Japan
1988 The Critical Years Gerald L'Ecuyer Canada/United States
1989 Twilight City Reece Auguiste UK
1990 Swimming Belinda Chayko Australia
1991 Sink or Swim Su Friedrich United States
1992 The Writing in the Sand Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen UK
1993 Lektionen in Finsternis Werner Herzog Germany
1994 Only the Brave Ana Kokkinos Australia
1995 Twilight Tengai Amano Japan
1996 Baka Thierry Knauff Belgium
1997 At Sea Penny Fowler-Smith Australia
1998 The Storekeeper Gavin Hood South Africa
1999 So-poong Song Il-gon South Korea
2000 Wildlife Kate de Pury UK
2001 Muakah Hadar Friedlich Israel
2002 Palace II Kátia Lund, Fernando Meirelles Brazil
2003 Destino Dominique Monfery France
2004 Talking with Angels Yousaf Ali Khan UK
2005 Silent Companion Elham Hosseinzadeh Iran
2006 Avatar Lluis Quilez Spain
2007 Blood Sisters Louise N.D. Friedberg Denmark
2008 Dennis Mads Matthiesen Denmark
2009 Next Floor Denis Villeneuve, Phoebe Greenberg Canada
2010 The Lost Thing Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann Australia
2011 A Fine Young Man Kevan Funk Canada
2012 It’s Not A Cowboy Movie Benjamin Parent France
2013 Pandas Matúš Vizár Czech Republic
2014 The Queen Benjamin Parent Argentina
2015 Everything Will Be OK Patrick Vollrath Germany
2016 Mrs Metro Aggelos Papantoniou Australia


Breakaway film festival (2000)Edit

In 2000, MIFF's rejection of a feature film written and directed by Richard Wolstencroft led him to form the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). In subsequent years, MUFF has attracted controversy by criticising the content of MIFF, as well as its management, specifically the leadership of former directors. MUFF sees itself as a space for exciting and edgy Australian cinema that may not be played at MIFF.[13][14]

Looking for Eric (2009)Edit

In June 2009, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty (writer) and Rebecca O'Brien (producer) pulled their film Looking for Eric from the festival because the Israeli Embassy was a sponsor and the festival declined to withdraw their sponsorship. Moore compared Loach's tactics to blackmail, stating that "we will not participate in a boycott against the State of Israel, just as we would not contemplate boycotting films from China or other nations involved in difficult long-standing historical disputes".[15]

Uyghur film (2009)Edit

During the 58th festival in 2009, the film The 10 Conditions of Love (2009), which documents the life of the exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, was screened despite many attempts by the Government of China to have the film withdrawn from the festival. Chinese filmmakers withdrew their films from the festival two days before it opened on 24 July 2009.[16] Former MIFF director Richard Moore refused to remove the film from the festival program,[17] despite the hacking of the festival website and attempts to hack its online ticketing system from IP addresses of Chinese origin. Later, both pro-Chinese and pro-Uyghur activists attempted to disrupt ticketing due to the media coverage.[18][19][20] The Chinese Government contacted Robert Doyle, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne asking him to intervene,[21] but he refused. Australia's Ambassador to China Geoff Raby was summoned by China's Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun to express displeasure about Kadeer's attendance at MIFF.[22]

Victoria Police was placed on alert during the screening of the film and Pro-Uighur demonstrators also gathered outside the Melbourne Town Hall,[21] and the Dalai Lama sent a message of support via Michael Danby, the MP for Melbourne Ports:[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "About". MIFF. Melbourne International Film Festival. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  2. ^ Craig Mathieson (28 May 2013). "FILM – MIFF 2013: Early highlights". SBS. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  3. ^ Sandy George (3 July 2013). "Investment fund boosts Melbourne's world premiere tally". Screen Daily. Media Business Insight Limited. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  4. ^ aunngo (8 June 2011). "Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)". Meld Magazine. Meld Magazine – Melbourne's international student news website. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Resources". Film Festival World. Film Festival World, Inc. 2007–2008. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  6. ^ "PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATION CRITERIA". Australian Film Institute. 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Staff". MIFF. Melbourne International Film Festival. 11 August 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Categories". MIFF. Melbourne International Film Festival. 11 August 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Venues". MIFF. Melbourne International Film Festival. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  10. ^ Stuart Kemp (21 May 2013). "Cannes: Melbourne's Movie Market Secures Four". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d "Melbourne International Film Festival". IMDb., Inc. 1990–2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  12. ^ "MIFF 52nd Shorts Awards". MIFF. Melbourne International Film Festival. August 2013. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  13. ^ Richard Wolstencroft (2 August 2013). "The Opening Night of the 14th MUFF. Jugular by JJ DeCeglie. Discovering exciting and edgy new Australian Cinema. That's how we roll. That's what we prioritise. That is our mandate.". MUFF on Facebook. Facebook. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  14. ^ Avrille Bylok Collard (9 August 2013). "Melbourne Underground Film Festival Announces Dates". Beat. Furst Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Email exchanges between Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Rebecca O'Brien and the Melbourne Film Festival organizers". Pulse Media. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Chinese entries boycott film festival". ABC News. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  17. ^ "MIFF 'sticking to guns' over Uighur film". ABC News. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  18. ^ "MIFF website hacked amid Chinese film row". ABC News. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  19. ^ pers comm. R.Raulings, director eFirst
  20. ^ "Chinese hackers attack film festival site". ABC News. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  21. ^ a b Gus Goswell (10 August 2009). "Demonstrators turn out at Kadeer film screening". ABC News. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  22. ^ ABC/Reuters (1 August 2009). "China summons Australia over Uighur leader visit". ABC News. Retrieved 11 August 2013. {{cite news}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  23. ^ Dalai Lama sends message of support to Kadeer - ABC News, 9 August 2009

External linksEdit