After my visit to Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, I learned that the value of film festival is not how massive the activity is or how many movie stars show up on the red carpet. The value of Film Festival that I learned is to share knowledge, culture and the passion of film.
Melbourne International Film Festival as the first film festival in Australia is very formal comparing with Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Just as Chan(2018) states that the international film festival is a cosmopolitan space that audiences are encouraged to take part in. The scale of films in MIFF was ranging from Asia to Europe with the quantities of more than 400.
The arrangement of Melbourne international film festival is comprehensive from the opening night to the closing night gala. The session that I attended was hosting in Forum Theatre which is located in Melbourne City. Unlike Melbourne Documentary Film Festival which didn’t have signs on the street to guide audiences to find the venue, there were signs outside the theater to attract passengers attention by decorating them with glittering lights.
Inside the hall, there were volunteers helping audiences solve their problems and answer their queries. Iordanova(2009) points out that because of the discrete nature of the film festival, the human resources management of film festival is facing the high turnover of staffs. Thus, Festivals rely on volunteers and internships. Having volunteers in Film Festival could be seen as a win-win strategy, on the one hand, Film Festival needs volunteers as free labor to arrange for the event as festivals could not afford to employ staff on a full-time basis(Iordanova 2009, p.34), hiring volunteer is very economical. On the other hand, volunteers also gain their experience of working at a film festival, which might be a stepping stone for them in their future career.
Undermined: Tales from The Kimberley was the film that I watched due to teacher’s recommendation. Before this documentary being screened, filmmakers were invited to speak to audiences and one of the characters in the film was invited to perform for the audiences. I was touched and fascinated by the performance of the character as his singing was very genuine. The arrangement before screening the film actually contributed to engaging audience’s attention and emotion. As an international student, I couldn’t fully understand what this documentary tried to express, as it required a certain cultural background to fully understand the film. But during the screening I noticed many Australians’ emotion was affected by the film, they laughed, they cried and they signed. Chan(2018)states Film Festival could be cultural celebrations and marketplaces, taking my experience at MIFF as an example, Undermined: Tales from The Kimberley could be seen as a representation of Australian culture and also promote its culture to the international audiences. In addition, MIFF also provides opportunities for films from other countries like Japan and China to present their culture to various audiences that attend this Film Festival.
What also makes the arrangement of MIFF comprehensive is that after the end of this Film Festival, The MIFF will still exist as a traveling showcase, which means some of the films from MIFF will be screening In various cinema after the festival, and this arrangement allows audience to see more film that they missed and also provides more chances of exposure for the films.
Iordanova, D 2009, ‘ The film festival circuit’, in D Iordanova&R Rhyne (ed.), Film festival yearbook 1: The festival circuit, e-book, St Andrews Film Studies in collaboration with College Gate Press, Great Britain,pp. 23-39.
Chan, F.2011, ‘The international film festival and the making of a national cinema’ Screen, Vol.52, no.2, pp.253-260.