I am not quite clear about what film festival actually is until yesterday (11, August 2018), I went to watch one session of MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival), playing a documentary called <Undermined: Tales From the Kimberley>. It refreshes my previous understanding of film festival.
In the past, I have always got more access to famous Chinese film festivals, like China Golden Eagle TV Art Awards, and Oscar film festivals from television and video websites, which are mostly about nominations and awards for best movies in different categories and various roles in a whole group of filmmaking. In my impression, film festival is like a party that each film star and plenty of judges come together to witness the moment of prizes. Simultaneously, those movies and actors, which are nominated in film festivals, are comparatively quite well-known. This is because audiences are able to meet all kinds of publicities and advertisement about them once an effective commercial film comes out.
Surprisingly, participating in MIFF opens my eyes and refreshes my mind on what a film festival also can be. I felt quite enjoyable and engaged when experiencing the whole process of watching <Undermined: Tales From the Kimberley>. Before I went to watch it, I was pretty unfamiliar about the film because I have never heard of it from any common ways of advertising. That was the first time that I knew some unrecognised films could also be noticed by film festivals.
At first of the film festival, the host went to the stage and shortly introduced the topic of the film to be shown next. Then, when the dim stage lightening became growingly dark till disappeared, the film started. The documentary was played for more than one hour and was full of realism style. It mainly talks about the continuously conflicts between aboriginal people and white men when Australian government intends to exploit Kimberley for commercial purpose. Naturally, at the end of the film, most audiences were lost in thought. Under this atmosphere, the host invited the director, producer and the main character to the stage (image-1). In one moment, thunderous applause broke out, which gave me deep impression. At last, they talked about original intention of making this film and interpreted the topic of this movie, which gave us a deeper understanding of the story behind.
As a matter of fact, this kind of existing of film festival makes much sense. It is not just like a noisy party that hundreds of famous people get together to celebrate. Instead, MIFF is endowed with more meaning. It provides a platform for audiences to be closer to the film itself and has the opportunity to interpret movies and enjoy real arts. Each session of MIFF has diverse topic that is alternative for audiences and the choice of films are mostly from unrecognised groups. In my point of view, The most notable value and the highlight of MIFF is sharing from the aspect of filmmakers as well as exploration for meaningful subjects with no threshold.