The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is one of the oldest film festivals in the world, and yet chances are high that it’s never seen a year like this one. Celebrating its 69th edition, the 2021 program for MIFF has been unleashed today, comprised of a record 40 world premieres as part of its lineup of 283 international and Australian films and screen experiences. As MIFF’s Artistic Director Al Cossar shares, the intention of MIFF this year is “to meet the moment, and to meet audiences where they are.”
He continues: “What will not change is the extraordinary lineup of cinematic adventures, from home and afar, waiting for them. These are anticipated festival blockbusters, experimentations, breakthrough discoveries, and a huge lineup of incredible Australian talent. We will again share a world of cinema, reignited, to welcome Melburnians back to places far beyond the familiarities of the last year.”
Within the lineup of 199 feature films, 84 shorts, and 10 XR experiences (including 154 Australian premieres), 62 films will also be available on MIFF Play – the festival’s online screening platform. In that way, the 2021 edition of the festival won’t only span Melbourne city, suburbs, and regional Victoria, but will extend to the rest of the nation. In-cinema experiences will run from August 5 to August 15, with MIFF Play following from August 14 to August 22.
Opening with Leah Purcell’s The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, we’ll see the Australian premiere of titles from this year’s Cannes Film Festival like Leos Carax’s Annette starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, and Justin Kurzel’s Nitram, the first Australian film to screen at Cannes in a decade that controversially centres on the life of the perpetrator of the Port Arthur Massacre. Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the feature debut from The Roots drummer Questlove, will additionally be screened at MIFF’s Centrepiece Gala after winning the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.
Continuing to embrace Australian talent, 11 Premiere Fund films have been announced, including Ablaze, Chef Antonio’s Recipes for Revolution, Hating Peter Tatchell, Little Tornadoes, Lone Wolf, Off Country, Paper City, and Uluru & The Magician. After detailing her new studio album last week, Danny Cohen’s documentary on Courtney Barnett, Anonymous Club, will further see a highly-anticipated showing at the event.