This is my first time participating in a film festival. In my conventional perspective, films festival must include awards ceremony or red carpets like what Berlin and Cannes International Film Festival did in every February or May each year. But Melbourne International film festival is different and unique. Unlike the well-known Cannes International Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival and other famous Competitive Feature Film Festivals, the Melbourne International Film Festival is not a competition-oriented film festival, the film festival is more focused on the films itself and the cultural, political and humility implications it conveyed.
Every year, MIFF screens a wide range of films to celebrate the brilliant achievements made by films and filmmakers. The festival features approximately 357 films in 18 days, presenting the latest trends in the Australian and international film industry, including feature films, short films, documentaries, cartoons, experimental films and multimedia films. Different types of films are shown at film festivals lead a cultural collision, bloom, and fusion in Australia. As the Australia’s first international film festival and one of the most influential international film festivals in the Southern Hemisphere, the main purpose of the festival is to firstly understand the basic situation of film industry around the world, to construct a public space and sphere to attract people discuss the implication of the films which undoubtedly promote the close exchanges and cooperation between Australian and foreign filmmakers, and the bloom of the film industry.
As what Iordanva (2009) states in research, a film festival is not only significant in the economic effects it brings but also it brings together outstanding films and filmmakers to communicate and promote the development of film industry. In the 21st century, the film festival is more profound to also speak for politics and culture. Start in 1952, MIFF is always trying to position itself as “an Australian cultural icon which has had an essential role in putting Melbourne on the national and international cultural map”. The movies screened in MIFF is not all new edition, some of them are old movies which are classic and thought-provoking that deserves to appeal people’s attention and discussion. The main difference between the film festival like MIFF and commercial theaters is that films in the festival are not screened as part of a business undertaking, but are considered valuable or worthy to be shown. In other words, festival screenings only serve for the cultural purpose, rather than the economic one.
What MIFF impressed me a lot is the way it chooses to screen films that produced by different countries which serve to the same purpose – to make film industry more valuable in a cultural collision way rather than aims at generating huge profits. Because of that, MIFF has taken a crucial role in shaping Melbourne in a multicultural and creative city.
Iordanova, D., 2009. The filmfestival circuit. Film festival yearbook 1: The festival circuit, pp.23-39.
MIFF information from Melbourne International Film Festival Official Website: http://miff.com.au/