How MIFF teach me setting up a film festival? Part 2

Hot sales of MIFF

MIFF occupies a position of power within the film industry and film circulation, influencing the presence, visibility and dissemination of non-mainstream film. It, as gate-keepers, is able to control access to films and film culture.


People are so obsessed with MIFF that you can hardly buy any ticket in the boxing office. As an annual film event, MIFF attracts more viewers than you expected. Tickets for many popular videos are close to sale when they are just open to public, so don’t hesitate to see the movie you want to watch, hurry to find a good partner and buy the ticket. Most of the movies will be shown twice during the festival, and some hot movies may be added in the second half of the festival, such as ‘The Assassin’ in 2016. As a result, if you can’t get the ticket, please pay attention to the notice.



The student ticket price for a single movie ticket is $16.50 (full price $19.50) and $15.50 for non-peak hours (full price $16.50). As an international film festival ticket, this is a very affordable price. There is even a pass with a bigger discount for hardcore fans.


Amazing space of  MIFF

Each city that wants to compete in the global creative/cultural market and in the tourist arena, contributing to the growth of festivals beyond he limited circuit. These festivals are usually funded to a large extent by municipal authorities and otherwise rely on corporate sponsorship.


MIFF is supported by Melbourne government so that it can screen shows in many areas besides cinema. The annual exhibition venues are not only selected in urban cinemas, but also have many landmark and historic theaters, and of course in the CBD. This includes Forum Theatre, Comedy Theatre, ACMI, Hoyts Melbourne Central, and Kino Cinemas. Due to the special screening venue and the large number of people watching the movie, MIFF movie tickets have no seating arrangements, so everyone should queue up for admission after the event. Don’t stroll around before screening because seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.


When I watched ‘an elephant sitting still’ this August, I went to the theater 20 minutes earlier, however, I even could not find any front position. If your movie is shown in a theater or in prime time, it is highly recommended that you go to the scene at least half an hour in advance, otherwise you may only be in the back of the theater. I suggest that everyone should choose to watch the show at the theater. Because it’s really special to watch modern movies in the classical theater with a lot of people, you can enjoy the gorgeous interior of these theaters.


Based on the successful experience of MIFF, I think venues are a crucial element in making film festival a success, not only for MIFF, and you will need to consider whether to use one or more. The location and existing audience profile of the venue are also important and you will need somewhere that is in easy reach of your main target audience. If the audience is likely to stay for more than one performance in succession, good food and drink facilities are vital, either in the venue (which will add to the atmosphere of the festival) or nearby.

How MIFF teach me setting up a film festival? Part 1


If you are obsessed with film as me, then you must go there in Melbourne from August 2nd to August 19th.That’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). I want to talk about MIFF, which is already 67-year-old, and how it helps me understand film festival.


Melbourne is overflowing with film festivals. People from worldwide join in different kinds of film festivals which spring up every week in Melbourne. You may ask, what is a film festival?


Film festival in Melbourne normally is a way for directors to test the water with a season of films to assess the audience potential before going for a full scale festival event at the outset. Some festivals even target certain key audience groups for example, Asian audience.


In August, you can see the posters of the 67th MIFF on Melbourne’s streets, subways stations and everywhere. MIFF is one of the most important film festivals in Australia and one of the earliest film festivals in the world. It is certainly a landmark event in Melbourne. Like many well-known film festivals, MIFF annually screens filmmaking from around the world and also including Australian films.


The world premiere of many Australian films is held at MIFF, and many topical overseas films will be screened in advance at MIFF before they are sure to land in Australia, such as the ’an elephant sitting still’ from China this year. As a result, MIFF is also a good opportunity to watch these films first.


How MIFF actually operate?

Large film festivals usually have multiple screening units, and MIFF is no exception. No matter what type of film you like, you can find movies for your taste in all major units. Some famous units include:

Accent on Aisa

Australian Showcase

Culinary (Gourmet Movie)



Next Gen

Seeking Refuge

Virtual Reality


There is a website for people who want to choose films to enjoy: going to the program page of the official website of the festival, and selecting the program you are interested in in the search bar on the left based on country, genre, or language. It has to be mentioned that only movies from non-English speaking countries will have subtitles.


If you prefer Asian or Chinese movies, don’t miss the Accent on Asia unit. The films selected this year include ‘angles wear white’, ‘ash is purest white’, ‘an elephant sitting still’ and so on. Also if you are interested in masterpiece, don’t miss the Headliners unit, which has the most popular finalists and award-winning films at the Cannes Film Festival this year, for example, the Korean film ‘burning’ with high topicality and high scores, and the award-winning film “climax” at the Cannes Film Festival. Besides these, Virtual Reality is undoubtedly an early adopter, featuring films from around the world for VR viewing experiences, offering a ‘full immersion’ viewing experience. In some sessions, there will be directors and guests asking questions and discussions.


The biggest distinction between major international film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, or Berlin, and MIFF, is that these major events are focused on the film industry. They have markets attached where films are bought and sold for theatrical and other forms of exhibition and distribution. This is in contrast to audience-focused festivals which seek to present a broad range of films to an audience which might not otherwise have access to such material. Distributors will attend market festivals to buy product for release internationally in the coming year. MIFF seek to cover both angles, attracting specialist buyers and sellers but also appealing to a large general audience with a particular interest in the documentary genre.

Ash is Purest White:Chinese Women Odyssey at The Turn of The Century

On May 11th, Jia Zhangke’s new film ‘Ash is Purest White’ as the main competition unit film premiered in Cannes won the audience applause and praise in France. The heroine of ‘Ash is Purest White’ is still Jia ‘s wife, Zhao Tao. In addition, the film also has director and stars such as Liao Fan, Feng Xiaogang, Xu Wei, Zhang Yibai, Yan Yinan, Zhang Yi, Dong Zijian and Ding Jiali as actor.


‘Ash is Purest White’ is the fifth film that Jia Zhangke entered the Cannes Film Festival. For Jia Zhangke, the key words of this film are ambition and change. Mentioning ambition is because he tried to string together his classic works in the past. We can see the karaoke room in ‘Xiao Wu’, the mobile song and dance troupe in ‘Zhan Tai’, the lens that leans on the ship’s side in the ‘Three Gorges Good Man’ and a three-stage timeline similar to ‘Shan He Gu Ren’.

The film presents changes of three Chinese landscapes in 2001, 2006, and 2017. The sense of ritual and absurdity coexist. In 2001, the small town gang brothers swear in front of Guan Erye and collectively stare at the Chow Yun Fat Hong Kong film ‘Heroes’ in the video recorder. Even the Latin dance performance is still a new thing in the bar; in 2006, the mobile song and dance troupe carried the lion and tiger Cage’s tricks, Ding Jiali, holding a box of lunch, are praying to thank God. After a second, she could steal other people’s wallets. The driver of the motorcycle became blue balls because his wife is out of work. In 2017, Dr. Feng Xiaogang of the hospital asked the scan code of WeChat to contact the cure for the disease. The ‘rules’ of the gang are no longer. The actor who sits on the squat can only look at the young girls in the live broadcast to spend his free time.


The literal translation of the English name of this film is ‘Ash is Purest White’, as if to say that the heroine who is the most suitable for the ‘hero’ is the most noble. When Zhao Tao appeared on the scene, she ignored the contradictions and social chaos and only asked for stability in the world, but she still gave freedom because of love. After being abandoned by her boyfriend, she was not disappointed and faced the narrow predicament alone. Using the absurd way to solve the problem, and ultimately to achieve redemption with their own strength, Zhao Tao does not change the initial heart of emotion.

At the beginning, the actor Bin Bin used a gun to teach Zhao Tao how to become ‘hero’, but the only one who stay as ‘hero’ is Zhao Tao herself. It can be said that Zhao Tao has pinned on Jia Zhangke’s romantic imagination. At this level, he even broke through the scope of Chinese society and began to look at the universe and discover that everything is the same. The society is developing, the universe is running, the purest and noble Zhao Tao is only the prisoner of the universe. The stage of ‘hero’ are like dust and ash in the universe. In the end, no one can completely get rid of the fate of looking up at the stars.

Hu Bo: A Director Miss MIFF Because of Suicide

On February, 2018, the film ‘An Elephant Sitting Still’ held its world premiere in Berlin. It was praised as ‘visually stunning and meticulously portraying a selfish society’ and awarded the FIPRESCI Prize by the official group. The Berlin Film Festival awarded the honor to the young director, the jury praised: ‘Master narrative’, and the audience was convinced by his boldness and profoundness.

But it’s all too late. On the podium, only the flowers and applause, the protagonist’s position is empty.


Six months later, this film came to MIFF. I could not wait myself to watch this master piece. ‘An Elephant Sitting Still’ lasted nearly 4 hours, and total 300 spectators at the scene did not leave at halfway. However, one person can not see it anymore. About four months ago, Hu Bo, the director of ‘The Elephant Sitting Still’ killed himself in Beijing, only 29 years old. ‘The Elephant Sitting Still’ is both his first feature film and his last film. Many people know the name ‘Hu Bo’ for the first time through his suicide. He quickly became a symbol of young people who are not satisfied with current society.

The dead is gone, every suicide will leave secrets and legends, but the expression of anger in Hu Bo’s works is traced in the dilemmas that he has faced in his short life. Hu Bo fights all the way, using the words and  the image as a sword, struggling to kill the unfairness, bloody to open the darkness of social reality, stubbornly stick to the ideal position. But he eventually died in the darkness before dawn.

Why is there no position for Hu Bo in the world? Numerous commercial rotten films occupy the screen and earn a lot of money. The young director who really has ideas and attitudes is squeezed to the point of no survival.


‘You said that you have an artistic pursuit? Tell me about the ideal of film? Oh, you can’t make money for business, sorry!’ A web celebrity can make a living by her beautiful face with a monthly income of more than 100,000 yuan. However, a director who won the Berlin Film Festival award has an annual income of only 20,000 yuan.

In the movie ‘An Elephant Sitting Still’, the four protagonists who lived in poverty were on the road together, only to find the elephant that was sitting all day in Manzhouli. Perhaps for Hu Bo, the ideal is this elephant that does not exist, exudes a wonderful attraction. He broke his blood for this, but in the end it was just empty. Because in the profit-seeking society, talent and ideals are low in the dust, only real money is convincing. Is that reality?

When I walked into the cinema, the host was on the stage asking the audience to help find out if there were spare seats around until all the seats were filled. Seeing the faces of excitement and expectations of other audiences, I feel a little bit complicated. I don’t know if they know what a story is about to face, and what kind of sadness is behind it. There may be few such cases – the film festival should have been the most glorious moment of a director, the audience looked forward to it, and then showed respect and applause, but the director would miss it forever.