I watched the UNDERMINED: TALES FROM THE KIMBERLEY at 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). To be honest, I am not that interested in the content. Besides, there is no music performance and no time for audiences to ask questions on Saturday session. I think it is just like I watched a documentary in the theatre on a normal weekend with a plus Q&A section. Yet, I remember I have a good day with my friends and I am still looking forward to seeing something else at this festival after that day. In fact, this experience reminds me of the theory——“The Medium is the Message” (1964) from McLuhan suggests that the effect of media come from their form and not from the content.
The content of the movie is a novel or a play, but as a medium, cinema forge community bonds in cities. The movie combines sight and sound together, capable of passing a great deal of information compared to printed media (McLuhan 1964). Arrow (2009 pp. 22-23) argues that cinema is the most common social activities and cinema-going was much about an opportunity to “catch up with friends, gossip and pursue courtships” than the films, the content, themselves. This is the same functions as the film festival like MIFF.
Based on this, I think the meaning of “festival” is much more than the “film”. I am not suggesting that movies are not important what I want to say is that the film festival creates a continuing realistic environment to make 1film +1film>2 films. As for the movie theater, of all released movies in one month, audiences would choose one or two to watch. These movies are competitors, and these movies are independent, share no connections. As for MIFF, audiences are willing to buy the “mini pass” ticket to watch several movies within the time. Furthermore, audiences may watch more than one movie per day in the MIFF which won’t happen in movie theaters normally. Even though MIFF is different from Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, it still has a continuing environment and makes you believe all these movies are selected to serve one theme. Thus, when you watch two films, you are involved in this film world. Booklets, posters, staffs, and details that telling you this is different from movie theaters and the film festival is more than the movies. This is the same with other festivals. When you enjoy two entertainment activities at the Moomba Festival, this experience is more than that. However, activities at the Moomba Festival are fixed. During the MIFF, participants can see different movies on different days and it urges people to attend every day, choosing films you like and it provides different feelings each day.
The “another side of film” can be the directors, actors and screen stories but also can be the real world. Films and documentaries provide a chance to reflect this real world and the MIFF provides a chance for audiences to go out and enjoy the real world around them.