August, Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is around the corner, with its posters are widely seen in streets and trains. Founded in 1952, the MIFF is one of the oldest and most influential international film festivals in Australia. Australia is home to many of the best film festivals in the world, so why put attention mainly on MIFF? In this Journal I would like to go through some parameters of MIFF referring to Marijke’s article. As each film festival has a unique identity and influence, I expect by doing so we can know the MIFF better.Size is one of the most obvious elements of distinction referring to Marijke’s idea (2). There are 389 films showing at this year’s MIFF, including 250 features, 120 shorts and 19 VR experiences. Last year this number is 356, including 251 features, 88 shorts and 17 VR experiences. As comparison, Sydney International Film Festival, a similar level international film festival has selected 197 films, 43 shorts and 7 VR experience this year. Another example is St Kilda Film Festival, which is named after a suburb of Melbourne, only screened 164 films this year. Although the bigger amount of films screened is not necessarily better, but the power of influence normally grows with size (Marijke 2). And the number of films shown is typically indicate the size of a film festival (box office, visitor count and other indexes may also) (Marijke 2). We can see many successful film festivals are based on a considerable size, the MIFF proves that it has gain a big size, and it moves forward a way of prosperity.
The amount of shown films is not the only standard definition of size of a film festival. Also, the size is not an only parameter when evaluating the influence of a film festival. When we take a look at some famous film festival in the world, we may find out that only a few dozen films are selected to show in these events: in 2018, Cannes Film Festival selected 85 films, Berlin International Film Festival screened 60 films, Venice Film Festival included 81 films. This may because these film festivals have gain their prestige in other ways, such as the reputation of juries and quality rather than quantity of selected films. And I may explore this feature in one of next journals.
Another parameter of a film festival is outreach. According to Marijke’s idea, any festival advertises itself as ‘international’ need to cater both local and international visitors. The 2018 MIFF has received films from 68 countries, hence we can have chance to see several films from Chinese young filmmakers that have not been released before. It certainly appeals to me. Meanwhile, the MIFF pays much attention to Australian films as well, as I will see one of them called ‘undermined: tales from the Kimberley’. The documentary made an effort to target an issue of a specific community of indigenous people in Australia. I wish I could learn and then write down something in my next journal after watching it.
De Valck, Marijke. ‘What is a film festival? How to study festivals and why you should’. Film Festivals: History, theory, method, practice. NY: Routledge, 2016