Melbourne International Film Festival returns in 2022 with a 33-film first program reveal across a huge variety of cinema locations for its huge platinum anniversary year, taking place from August 4 - 21.
The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) will celebrate in style, returning to cinemas from 4-21 August with an expansive program of acclaimed international cinema, world premieres and a ready-made Australian classic set to debut at MIFF’s Opening Night Gala. 70 years is an enormous accomplishment for the Melbourne film festival, which proudly lays claim to the title of the southern hemisphere’s oldest and largest film fest.
As it damn-well should be mind you, considering the world’s first feature film (Story Of The Kelly Gang, 1906) was made in Melbourne. In celebration of this momentous occasion, MIFF announced it will return bigger and better than ever in theatres across Melbourne’s CBD, its suburbs, and regional Victoria throughout August, with films also showing nationwide through its celebrated MIFF Play program. In-theatre showings will run from August 4-21 throughout the CBD, in the inner-suburbs and in select regional Victorian theatres from August 12-21, while MIFF Play will run from August 11-28.
Melbourne International Film Festival dates and locations
- When: 4–21 August. The expanded festival program will run from August 4-21 in-theatre, and August 11-28 online
- What: Melbourne International Film Festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2022
- 18 days of premiere showcases, international features, exclusive screenings, commissioned works, panel discussions, industry events, live talks and XR experiences
- Where: MIFF’s CBD venues: ACMI, The Capitol, Forum Melbourne, Hoyts Melbourne Central, IMAX, Kino Cinema and Cinema Nova.
Keep up with all the latest Melbourne International Film Festival news and interviews here.
Throughout August, Melbourne’s city and surrounds will be consumed by film, with 257 feature films, 102 shorts and 12 XR works on the bill for MIFF’s 70th anniversary. The 2022 line-up will showcase 18 world premieres, 12international premieres and 177 Australian premieres, including a record 61 titles arriving from Cannes.
Across the festivities, MIFF’s 70-year role in connecting cinema with audiences will be honoured through curated ambassador screenings, star-studded guest appearances, expertly-executed restorations and an extensive Melbourne on Film retrospective. The festival’s status as the Southern Hemisphere’s leading and longest-running film festival will be firmly cemented with the introduction of the MIFF Bright Horizons Competition.
Over 18 days (4-21 August), the 2022 in-cinema program will unfold across familiar metro sites, while a far- reaching suburban and regional program will see MIFF stretch its footprint across the state through the month. MIFF Play, the festival’s online streaming platform, will host 105 festival features and shorts, enabling audiences to join the party at home and across Australia from 11-28 August.
Keep up with the latest Melbourne film and television news here.
MIFF’s $210,000 awards
MIFF 2022 will represent a landmark expansion for the festival as it continues to seek to establish its global reputation, recently announcing the introduction of a $140,000 grand prize for the winner of MIFF’s Best Film Award, funded by the state government. The MIFF Film Competition will be the southern hemisphere’s richest feature film competition.
11 films will be selected to be in official competition for the flagship Best Film Award, presided over by a jury of prominent international and Australian festival guests. In addition, an outstanding Australian creative will be recognised with the presentation of the Australian Innovation Prize worth $70,000, awarded to an individual local talent from across a range of eligible filmmaking roles such as director, technical or creative lead, and cinema craft.
The MIFF Audience Award will also return, with punters given the chance to vote for their favourite flick from across the festival program. Presented by Nicolas Feuillatte, the MIFF Awards Ceremony will take place on 20 August at The Forum Melbourne.
Best Film Award nominees
This year, 11 films within the Bright Horizons Competition will compete for the A$140,000 Best Film Award, supported by the Victorian Government through VICSCREEN.
Australian director Thomas M. Wright returns with a taut true-crime thriller starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris, direct from Cannes Un Certain Regard competition. Building on the intense exploration of masculinity that began in Wright’s widely-acclaimed debut Acute Misfortune (MIFF Premiere Fund, 2019), The Stranger is a thought-provoking meditation on trust, truth and identity.
Winner of the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Jury Prize, Robe of Gems shares a haunting exploration of the murky complexities of the Mexican drug trade and announces a daring new directorial talent. In her transfixing debut, Mexican-Bolivian film-maker Natalia López Gallardo – renowned for her work as editor for such names as Carlos Reygadas, Amat Escalante and Lisandro Alonso – constructs a world where hope is a rare fuel, and where agency and status dissolve in the chokehold of corruption.
Normal People’s Paul Mescal stars in Aftersun, a deeply felt Cannes-premiering drama about a father-daughter bond and the small moments that build, and those that threaten to break it. A spectacular study of human frailty and familial bonding, Charlotte Wells’ debut feature is poetic, melancholic and evocative – a treasure that will linger long in your mind.
Premiering at Sundance, Francisca Alegría’s debut feature The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future provides an absorbing and mysterious exploration of environmental issues, generational trauma and the transformative potential of each person’s choices. Richly visualised and boldly told, Alegria’s film arrives as a magic-realist vision – a timely, hopeful plea for a better ecological future.
A major hit at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight (where it was nominated for the Queer Palm) and across the global festival circuit, avant-garde cyber-musical Neptune Frost confronts ever-changing technology, racial capitalism, human labour and the slippery strictures of gender. Ten years in the making, this dazzlingly original debut is like nothing you’ve seen before: an unapologetically Black and queer astral trip from co-directors Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman.
Writer/director Martika Ramirez Escobar’s Leonor Will Never Die embraces the chaos of movie-making: it’s frequently hilarious and surprisingly moving, with an oddball finale that will make you believe in a truly happy ending. Winner of Sundance’s Special Jury Award for Innovative Spirit, this ambitiously meta feature debut is an audacious tribute to 80s Filipino action films and to the restorative power of storytelling.
In this Cannes-premiering drama, a widower resists attempts to oust him from the land where his wife’s spirit returns to him as an ethereal mist. Director Ariel Escalante Meza has crafted an intensely textural, immersive film in Domingo and the Mist that is both deeply meditative and bitingly political.
To prepare for her electrifying fiction feature debut, which won the Un Certain Regard Coup de Coeur Award at Cannes, director Lola Quivoron spent months hanging out with real suburban bikers. In Rodeo, a daredevil female motorcyclist revs after a place to belong in this high-octane French genre mashup of gritty underclass coming-of-age story and a biker-gang action flick.
First-time writer/director Fran Kranz skilfully stages this confrontation between two couples who come together for a painful emotional reckoning in the aftermath of a school shooting in Mass. Held aloft by finely calibrated performances from an exceptional cast of theatre veterans – Jason Isaacs (Streamline, MIFF 2021), Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale) – Mass develops a sensitive and sharp perspective on this most American of tragedies.
Winner of the 2021 Cannes Un Certain Regard FIPRESCI Prize and awards from the Göteborg, Haifa, London and Sarajevo film festivals, Playground provides a gripping child’s-eye view of the cycles of bullying and how the schoolyard mirrors the ‘playground’ of adult life. Depicting the desperation that plagues children bereft of meaningful support from adults, Laura Wandel’s assured debut is a powerful yet empathetic rites-of-passage drama.
The bewitching second feature from MIFF Accelerator Lab alumna Alena Lodkina (Strange Colours, MIFF 2018), the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported Petrol follows an idealistic film student as she is drawn into an enigmatic performance artist’s shadowy world. Visually commanding and as singular as her prior debut, Petrol presents an otherworldly version of twenty-something life in Melbourne, complete with share houses, substances and the occult.
It also comes after MIFF was forced to completely cancel the IRL component of its 2021 festival, first postponing its first week of screenings due to restriction changes in Victoria, then forced to cancel all remaining Melbourne cinema screenings as part of the 2021 festival.
Founded in 1952, MIFF is one of the world’s longest running film festivals and is an enduring icon of the Southern Hemisphere’s cultural calendar. Returning to metro, regional and suburban cinemas, and at-home streaming, the festival’s 70th edition features the launch of MIFF’s much-anticipated Film Competition program and showcases a series of special events, talks, performances, commissioned works and screenings – all of which will highlight and honour this important milestone through the lens of Melbourne’s own history on the silver screen.
Major films to see at Melbourne International Film Festival
MIFF-goers will be among the first in the world to see some of the most hotly anticipated and critically acclaimed films of the international festival circuit, with a whopping 61 titles arriving fresh from Cannes.
Soaked in glimmering, noirish menace, Holy Spider, follows an intrepid female journalist (played by Zar Amir- Ebrahimi, who won Best Actress at Cannes) who hunts down a serial killer believed to be undertaking Allah’s work. Iranian-born, Denmark-based writer/director Ali Abbasi (Border) uses the true thriller’s lurid genre flourishes to show the full horror of a society that agrees some victims’ lives don’t matter.
Three Thousand Years of Longing
Australian director George Miller trades in the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max (screening as part of MIFF 70’s commemorative Melbourne on Film strand) for the luscious, dreamy aesthetic of Three Thousand Years of Longing (making its Australian Premiere following Cannes). Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba star in a delirious, albeit surprisingly cerebral and tender, fable about a lovelorn djinn. In his idiosyncratic way, Miller is challenging what big-screen storytelling can be, to memorable and magnificent effect.
The Breakfast Club meets the outback in Sweet As, an uplifting coming-of-age story with postcard-perfect shots of remote Western Australia and a road-trip-worthy soundtrack featuring all-Indigenous artists. Starring Tasma Walton (Mystery Road), Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin) and a magnetic Shantae Barnes-Cowan (Total Control) in the lead, MIFF Accelerator Lab alumna Jub Clerc’s MIFF Premiere Fund-supported feature debut is an effervescent story of personal growth, acceptance and the journey towards finding oneself.
One Fine Morning
Starring Park Hae-il and Tang Wei (Lust, Caution), Decision to Leave is a twisty, bewitching love story wrapped in a thoroughly 21st-century murder mystery that’s deeply erotic. Park Chan-wook took home Cannes’ Best Director award for this enchanting, exquisitely seductive neo-noir romance – his first film since The Handmaiden (MIFF 2016). Even while recalling classics such as Basic Instinct and Vertigo, his latest work feels refreshingly unpredictable.
David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future
David Cronenberg’s first film in eight years, Crimes of the Future, sees him returning to his body-horror (dis) comfort zone, mingling the medical, the erotic and the technological. Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux – the last of whom also stars in MIFF 70 film One Fine Morning – all give enjoyably outré performances in this spectacular film that palpates the possibilities of how humanity will adapt to an ecosystem we’ve destroyed.
Tori and Lokita
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne present another heartbreaking, empathetic tale from the margins of Belgium’s underclass with Tori and Lokita, which won Cannes’ special 75th Anniversary Prize. Driven by the moving performances of non-professional actors, Pablo Schils and Mbundu Joely, the Dardenne brothers offer a plaintive and potent dramatisation of the personal fallout of the refugee crisis.
Acidly hilarious, Funny Pages is the directorial debut of Owen Kline, the former child actor best known for playing the younger brother in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale. In this Safdies-produced coming-of- age black comedy, a comic-book nerd thinks he’s hit the mentoring/muse jackpot when he meets a cantankerous 50-something former colourist.
Triangle of Sadness
Scoring Ruben Östlund his second Palme d’Or plus an eight-minute standing ovation – and walkouts – at Cannes, Triangle of Sadness is a wildly funny, wildly outrageous satire of the vulgarly rich and beautiful. Following his satirical takedowns of male ego (Force Majeure, MIFF 2014) and art-industry pretence (The Square, MIFF 2017), Östlund now takes a sledgehammer to the jugular of obscene wealth in his first English-language film.
Stars at Noon
Legendary French director Claire Denis returns with a steamy, Cannes Grand Prix-winning romance-thriller starring Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn. Stars at Noon is a sexually charged adaptation of Denis Johnson’s 1986 novel and a sheer cinematic seduction – all danger and desire.
One Fine Morning
Léa Seydoux is sublime in Mia Hansen-Løve’s (Bergman Island, originally slated for MIFF 2021; Things to Come, MIFF 2016) deeply personal family drama about the upheavals and unexpected joys of everyday life, One Fine Morning. Premiering as part of the Directors’ Fortnight program at Cannes, where it won the Europa Cinemas Label for Best European Film, Hansen-Løve’s partially autobiographical latest work once again locates great empathy and humanity in the messy spaces of life.
MIFF’s Australia on Film highlights
Australian talent abounds once again in this year’s program, including the already-announced Closing Night documentary portrait of trauma cleaner Sandra Pankhurst in Clean and the record 11-strong Premiere Fund slate, which includes: Opening Night film Of an Age from director-on-the-rise Goran Stolevski; a trio of amazingly accomplished female coming-of-age stories in Sweet As (featuring in the Headliners strand), Moja Vesna (which was selected for Berlinale Generations), and Petrol (screening in MIFF’s Bright Horizons Competition); timely spotlighting of key mental health and social issues in Because We Have Each Other, Under Cover and Volcano Man; tackling the present environmental challenges in Greenhouse by Joost and Franklin; and, in the spirit of MIFF’s 70th, a look back at a key time in Australian film history with Senses of Cinema.
Written by its star Krew Boylan, Seriously Red is the narrative feature debut from director Gracie Otto, who channels the exuberant camp of P.J. Hogan’s Mental and Muriel’s Wedding into this affectionate celebration of fandom, identity and Dolly Parton. Stuffed with familiar singalong classics, the film sets the stage for a delightfully deadpan Bobby Cannavale, plus watch out for comedians Celeste Barber and Bob Downe, commentator Jean Kittson and a nearly unrecognisable Rose Byrne as an Elvis impersonator.
Based on the acclaimed stage production The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes, Shadow is a groundbreaking film from world-renowned theatre company Back to Back that posits whether an AI-led near- future society will further disenfranchise the disability community. Winner of the Visions section’s Audience Award at this year’s SXSW, Shadow was directed by Back to Back’s celebrated artistic director Bruce Gladwin and brought to life by a cast and crew almost entirely made up of creatives with disability.
A suburban psychologist negotiates the lives, loves and anxieties of her patients in the magic-realist 12-part short-form black comedy It’s Fine, I’m Fine from MIFF Accelerator Lab alumna Stef Smith. Co-executive- produced by Gracie Otto (Seriously Red), this alternately hilarious, moving and insightful compendium of life’s ‘happy/sad’ mess features the likes of Heather Mitchell, Chris Bunton, Eryn Jean Norvill and rising star Catherine Van-Davies. The only Australian project selected this year for the prestigious Canneseries It’s Fine, I’m Fine is a fleeting, funny and refreshing work from an exciting screen talent.
MIFF’s international highlights
A diverse roster of international films from all corners of the globe will touch down in Melbourne, showcasing an expansive line-up of world cinema at MIFF 70.
Elizabeth Banks gives a career-best performance alongside a shining Sigourney Weaver in this Golden Bear–nominated drama from director Phyllis Nagy, the screenwriter of Carol. With abortion rights once again threatened in the United States, Call Jane is a timely story based on the trials and triumphs of the real-word Janes movement and the activists who provided a lifeline to desperate women seeking reproductive autonomy.
Amanda Kramer (whose film Give Me Pity! also screens at MIFF 70) brings a deliberately theatrical aesthetic to Please Baby Please, a film that’s part Brechtian interrogation of identity, part absurdist quasi-musical, and an all camp embrace of melodrama and pseudo-philosophy.
Un Certain Regard’s 2022 Best Screenplay winner, Mediterranean Fever, explores a disarming odd-couple story of middle age, male bonding and mental health in the Middle East from Palestinian director Maha Haj. Set and filmed in Haifa, with an all-Palestinian cast, Mediterranean Fever is carried by remarkable central performances from Amer Hlehel and Ashraf Farah, both bringing meticulous nuance to characters whose individual struggles seem a world apart but ultimately bring them closer together.
Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with a funny and moving film about an unlikely family unit on the run with an abandoned baby, starring K-pop singer IU and Parasite’s Song Kang-ho in his Cannes Best Actor– winning role. Much like the works that have come before it, Broker reaffirms Kore-eda’s status as Japan’s master humanist, capturing the many and magical ways that individuals can be bonded by blood or circumstance.
Set on a Native American reservation and made in collaboration with the Oglala Lakota community, Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s Cannes Camera d’Or winning War Pony paints a distinctive, powerfully uplifting story of culture and coming of age. This grippingly intimate tale shows hints of Gus Van Sant and Chloé Zhao’s The Rider (MIFF 2018) as we witness the humour, hardships, aspirations and joys of two youngsters growing up on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation.
Winner of multiple awards at the Busan International Film Festival, including Actress of the Year and the prestigious New Currents Award, The Apartment With Two Women offers an electrifying portrait of familial rupture. Tempering the film’s darker corners with even-darker humour, debut director Kim Se-in has crafted a truly visceral depiction of a mother-daughter bond that never quite stuck.
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, the endearing viral video hit starring comedian Jenny Slate, is now a mockumentary feature that will warm the cockles of your heart. Seamlessly blending stop-motion and live action, this sweet, uplifting fable of reunion has proved a runaway hit across the US festival circuit.
Through a talented team of filmmakers from diverse Asian backgrounds, the camera is turned on the trajectories and tales of New Zealand’s female immigrant communities with Kāinga. In this third instalment in the trilogy that began with Waru and continued in Vai, viewers are invited into the homes and workplaces of eight different Asian women who have sought to put down roots in the land known as Aotearoa, tracing their struggles with family separation, self-reinvention and perceived outsider status.
Night Shift: MIFF’s horror movie highlights
Across a variety of topics, issues and debates, MIFF’s documentary strand will ask questions, probe answers and indulge in the inbetween.
Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Ruin) returns to MIFF with this unfaltering, compassionate exploration of voluntary assisted dying. Shot with incredible intimacy, Man on Earth follows Bob Rosenzweig, a 65-year-old Washington state resident and sufferer of Parkinson’s disease who is seeking to end his life. What unfolds is a moving celebration of vitality and passion in the face of mortality.
Visionary Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab filmmakers Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor craft a visceral hymn to life, death and the body unlike anything the cinema has ever seen. Alternately gruesome and gorgeous, De Humani Corporis Fabrica takes a literal deep dive inside the human organism, using impossibly microscopic cameras, X-rays, ultrasounds and endoscopic images to examine our complex inner ecosystems in unprecedented, sometimes harrowing detail.
Citizen Ashe is an entertaining and powerful documentary about the life and cultural impact of tennis icon Arthur Ashe, the first Black athlete to win a Grand Slam singles title. An audience and critical hit at the Telluride, BFI and Chicago film festivals, directors Rex Miller and Sam Pollard combine old photos, home-movie footage and vivid reflections from the likes of Billie Jean King and – Ashe’s tempestuous one-time student – John McEnroe into a portrait of a formidable sporting hero and his indelible influence.
Shooting from his wheelchair, filmmaker Reid Davenport sets out to make a film about how he sees the world, taking the audience inside his experience as an artist living with disability. Winner of Sundance’s US Documentary Directing Award, I Didn’t See You There is an exemplar of empathetic art-making that asks us to consider everyday life from a perspective too often neglected or misunderstood.
Off the back of SXSW, this captivating documentary from Emmy Award–winning directors Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari (Flint Town) unpacks the improbable tale of the irreverent sub redditors who took on Wall Street at the height of the pandemic – and caused a financial sensation. Delivered in an antic rush of GIFs, memes and EDM beats, Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets is a funny, provocative and sometimes despairing film for our times.
Italian cinema luminary Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) tells the story of Salvatore Ferragamo, whose fancy footwear took him from the silver screen to the runway. Presented by Campari and featuring appearances from fellow fashion icons Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, cinema heavyweight Martin Scorsese and former Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams is a real-life rags-to-riches story sure to entice cinephiles and fashionistas alike.
In Blue Island, activists young and old come together to recount Hong Kong’s recent and far-flung history as an epicentre of activism, exploring what it means to be a Hongkonger both now and in the years to come. Winner of Hot Docs’ Best International Feature Documentary Award and Visions du Réel’s Lightdox Award, Tze Woon Chan’s follow-up to Yellowing memorialises Hong Kong’s desire for self-assertion and its inhabitants’ perseverance in the face of a seemingly irreversible fate.
The natural world at MIFF
This year, MIFF has brought together a timely selection of features and documentaries that seek to celebrate, protect and understand our natural world, presented by MINI.
From the frontlines of a man-made ecological disaster, this chest-heaving, thriller-like documentary cuts like a chainsaw at the heart of the Philippines’ fight for its environmental life. First-time director Karl Malakunas’ background in investigative journalism is on strong display in Delikado, a years-in-the-making exposé capturing the way that natural wonders can be warped into ideological battlefields.
A striking Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and audience hit at Cannes, All That Breathes follows two brothers whose commitment to rescuing ill and injured birds, highlights the need for humans to care for nature – and one another. Against a backdrop of growing anti-Muslim violence, director Shaunak Sen eschews traditional documentary stylings in a majestic film that offers startling reminder of all that’s at stake in the face of cultural unrest and climate catastrophe.
Australian documentarian, and MIFF Accelerator Lab alumnus director, Eddie Martin (All This Mayhem) puts viewers on the frontlines of the deadly 2019–2020 bushfires, capturing the catastrophe with a perspective and scale never before seen. Taking six months to edit and created using only extensively researched, first-person archival footage, Fire Front immerses the viewer in the fire trucks, the control rooms and the homes of those affected, championing the heroes of the bushfires while pleading for change.
The first film in nearly 30 years from legendary Armenian auteur Artavazd Pelechian (The Seasons), Nature is a black-and-white, found-footage montage spotlighting the dramatic, inspiring and terrifying forces of Earth. With Pelechian now in his 80s, Nature is the result of 15 years of work and continues his lifelong fascination with the delicate tightrope that humanity walks in coexistence with the natural world.
Melbourne Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala
MIFF’s 70th festival will commence with the World Premiere of the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported Of an Age, a tender coming-of-age feature about youth and love from rising Australian filmmaker, and MIFF Accelerator Lab alumnus, Goran Stolevski (Would You Look at Her, MIFF 2018; You Deserve Everything, MIFF 2016) who was named one of Variety’s ‘10 Directors to Watch’ for 2022.
Set and shot in Melbourne, Of an Age depicts the brief, but lingering, romance between two young men – Elias Anton (Barracuda) and Thom Green (Dance Academy) – over the course of one sweltering summer’s day in 1999. Distinctly Australian, funny and heartfelt, the film captures the hinterland of outer suburbia and the crossroads of desire and big dreams in teenage years – not to mention lip-biting moments of attraction and anticipation that, especially with Anton’s and Green’s unforgettable portrayals, will leave audiences pining.
“Goran Stolevski is having an extraordinary 2022, emerging as a major voice within world cinema from right here in Melbourne,” said MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar. “Of an Age will make audiences swoon, yes – but it will also make them sit up and take notice. We’re so thrilled that MIFF’s return to cinemas will be marked with this incredible, moving, Melbourne story of love and longing.”
Stolevski voiced his excitement for having his Melbourne made film opening this year’s festival: “Watching movies at MIFF has been a holy winter ritual since I was literally a child. It’s what kept me going, in fact, for two decades, through many tricky periods as a writer-director. To have my film premiere – on Opening Night, no less – is the thrill of a lifetime.”
MIFF’s 2022 Closing Night Gala
After 18-days of world-class cinema, MIFF’s Closing Night Gala will feature the Australian premiere of Clean – the inspirational story of how ‘trauma cleaner’ Sandra Pankhurst responded to an unseen world with radical kindness.
Premiering to acclaim at this year’s SXSW, Lachlan McLeod’s riveting feature documentary celebrates the compassion and resilience of its endearingly plain-spoken subject. Throughout, Pankhurst’s personal story – one of abuse, neglect, abandonment but ultimately survival – anchors the film. Undergoing a gender transition in the 1980s, Pankhurst has lived many lives: survivor of childhood abuse, suburban parent, drag queen, sex worker, funeral director, business owner, and motivational speaker. When asked how she’d like to be remembered, she simply replied: “As a kind human being; nothing more, nothing less” – in Clean, she shows the true value of exactly that.
The festival’s new XR installation and special events
Melburnians will also be able to witness the possible futures of the planet’s oldest tropical rainforest in Gondwana, a world-first durational VR installation, arriving direct from Sundance and SXSW. Australia’s own Emma Roberts and Ben Andrews’ VR experience inserts users among the ancient trees, rare animals and precious flora of the Daintree. Every 14 minutes, the environment jumps forward in time by one year – heading towards a speculative 2090 – and the longer audiences stay within Gondwana, the more resilient the forest becomes.
Screening over 48 hours at ACMI, the absorbing and contemplative Gondwana is a quiet meditation on time, change and climate action in an irreplaceable ecosystem.
The previously announced MIFF XR Commission, Line-Up, will accompany audiences throughout their festival experience this August. As imagined by local artists and long-time collaborators, Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine, MIFF attendees can meet and interact with animated cinema-going fruit bats in the queue, across festival locations and online, and learn more about the festival’s storied history. Supported and developed by artist and philanthropist Ling Ang, the Commission is an Extended Reality program that reflects and represents the very best of emergent 360° and interactive filmmaking.
Sounds of the Screen: Movie Music Across Victorian Landscapes
In a special collaboration with Orchestra Victoria, Sounds of the Screen: Movie Music Across Victorian Landscapeswill offer a panorama of some of Victoria’s most iconic films through the scores that helped bring them to life. Across two acts at Hamer Hall, Orchestra Victoria will perform an exciting repertoire of exquisite film scores from the likes of Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Railway Man, Mad Max, Noise, The Dressmaker and The Legends of the Guardians.
Melbourne International Film Festival’s full film program
From 4-21 August, MIFF returns with a full cinema season for the first time since 2019; across an expanded footprint, the festival will host screenings in Melbourne’s CBD and suburban sites, as well as through regional Victoria. Beyond cinemas, MIFF Play, the festival’s online streaming platform, will also return with a selection of films from the 2022 program available nationally from 11-28 August.
With two unique Australian films book-ending the festival, which also features a bumper Premiere Fund slate, MIFF’s 70th program is brimming with acclaimed international festival releases, discoverable gems, enlightening documentaries and award-winning films. Ahead of the full program announcement on Tuesday 12 July, a snapshot of this year’s eagerly-awaited program has been revealed:
The MIFF Opening Night World Premiere of Goran Stolevski’s Of an Age, is one of ten MIFF Premiere Fund-supported films debuting at this year’s festival. MIFF’s Premiere Fund offers minority co-financing to new Australian quality theatrical (narrative and documentary) feature films that then premiere at MIFF, has invested in more than 90 projects since 2007.
Continuing the Premiere Fund’s focus on “stories that need telling,” key themes in this year’s slate include environmentalism and sustainability, the housing crisis, diversity, inclusion, coming-of-age, and the desire for human connection, as well as CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse), LGBITQ+ and First Nations issues.
Some 50% of this year’s slate have female directors, a third of the films significantly feature languages other than English, and 40% are directed by MIFF Accelerator Lab alumni. The Accelerator Lab is a four-day intensive workshop series that’s offered for 15-20 short film directors during each festival, who are seeking to make the transition to feature film making.
A young Tasmanian activist follows in the literal footsteps of his late father who in the 1980s fought to save the pristine Franklin River wilderness in feature documentary Featuring former Greens leader Bob Brown, historian Aunty Patsy Cameron, entrepreneur Dick Smith, and narrated by Hugo Weaving, Franklin is a rousing political and personal story of resistance, legacy and the power of the people from Accelerator Lab alumnus Kasimir Burgess (The Leunig Fragments, MIFF 2019; Fell, MIFF 2014).
Greenhouse by Joost
Zero-waste pioneer Joost Bakker, with the help of esteemed chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett, embarks on a journey to devise, design and develop a self-sufficient, eco-friendly residence like no other. Prolific television documentary maker Bruce Permezel makes his big-screen debut, alongside co-director Rhian Skirving (Off Country, MIFF Premiere Fund 2021; Rock n Roll Nerd, MIFF Premiere Fund 2008), as he follows Joost’s Future Food System’s journey from conception to exhilarating completion at Melbourne’s Federation Square (where it still stands).
As Australia’s egalitarian dream fades and its housing crisis deepens, the Margot Robbie-narrated feature documentary is a simultaneously shocking and yet deeply empathic exploration — by The Coming Back Out Ball Movie (MIFF Premiere Fund, 2018) director Sue Thomson — of the fastest-growing social group facing homelessness: women aged over 55.
Because We Have Each Other
The delightfully hyper-intimate new feature from director Sari Braithwaite ([CENSORED], MIFF 2018) invites audiences to share the mundane and the magnificent with a neurodiverse, working-class family in outer-suburban Queensland. A masterclass in slice-of-life documentary, Because We Have Each Other is a gentle and wondrous portrait of a family finding joy and stability in one another as they face a future of immense change.
The bewitching second feature from Accelerator Lab alumna Alena Lodkina (Strange Colours, MIFF 2018), follows an idealistic film student as she is drawn into an enigmatic performance artist’s shadowy world. Visually commanding and as singular as her debut feature, Petrol presents an otherworldly version of twenty-something life in Melbourne, complete with share-houses, mysterious substances, deep conversations and the occult.
The Breakfast Club meets the outback in Sweet As, an uplifting coming-of-age story with postcard-perfect shots of remote Western Australia and a road-trip-worthy soundtrack featuring all-Indigenous artists. Starring Aboriginal luminaries Tasma Walton (Mystery Road, Cleverman) and Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin) and a magnetic Shantae Barnes-Cowan (Total Control, Firebite) in the lead, Nyal Nyal / Yawaru director, and MIFF Accelerator Lab alumna, Jub Clerc’s feature debut is an effervescent story of personal growth, acceptance and the journey towards finding oneself.
Richard Crawley always fancied himself a filmmaker, capturing every minute and milestone of his family’s quiet but loving life in Port Fairy, only to never do anything with it. Enter his son, debut filmmaker James Crawley, who sets out to make the documentary his father never could in Volcano Man, a raw and revealing study of loss, failed dreams and Richard Crawley’s very special zest for life.
Selected for the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus program, Moja Vesna is a moving depiction of an outer-Melbourne immigrant family falling apart and staying together in the wake of insurmountable grief. In this Australian–Slovenian co-production, debut feature director Sara Kern produces a stirring portrayal of familial strength, featuring newcomer Loti Kovačič with Claudia Karvan in support.
Senses of Cinema
Rounding out the Premiere Fund’s 2022 offering is Senses of Cinema, a timely archival treasure trove chronicling the rise and role of Melbourne and Sydney filmmaking cooperatives in the 1960s and 1970s. From co-directors John Hughes (Indonesia Calling, MIFF Premiere Fund 2009) and Tom Zubrycki (Ablaze, MIFF Premiere Fund 2021), Senses of Cinema explores the change-making experimental cinema emanating from these cooperatives against a backdrop of civil rights activism, gender equality struggles and the Vietnam War, and features interviews with the likes of Phillip Noyce, Jan Chapman and Gillian Armstrong.
The international films at MIFF 2022
Making its Australian premiere at the 2022 festival, Reflection is the tale of one man’s experience of war and the ensuing personal fallout in post-Maidan Ukraine. Nominated for Venice’s Golden Lion, Reflection is Valentyn Vasyanovych’s exquisite follow-up to the award-winning Atlantis (MIFF 2020) and features a portrayal of subtle power from lead actor Roman Lutskyi.
Feted at Cinéma du Réel and Rotterdam – as only the second Australian title to ever vie for the Tiger Award) – Australian docu-drama, The Plains, is a road movie that unfolds on its own unique existential path. This hypnotic, wholly original feature debut from David Easteal is a fascinating look at the rhythms of daily life and our unexpected moments of connection.
Winner of the 2022 Golden Bear for Best Film, Alcarràs, is a bittersweet, sun-drenched paean to family and tradition in the face of upheaval. Catalonian writer/director Carla Simón (Summer 1993) employs a non-professional cast in this semi-fictionalised tale of a family facing eviction from the orchard they’ve lovingly tended for generations.
In his latest provocation, Dual, satire master Riley Stearns (The Art of Self-Defense MIFF 2019) asks: if you had to duel your own clone to the death, would you win? Karen Gillan (Jumanji, Guardians of the Galaxy) doubles down on her action-cinema credentials to offer two delightfully different performances as protagonist Sarah and her clone. Veritable comedic support is lent by Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as madcap sensei Trent who trains Sarah as she prepares to fight herself.
Director Paz Encina (Paraguayan Hammock) immersed herself to make Eami, an audiovisual collage merging the imagery and soundscapes of the Gran Chaco with heartbreaking testimonies from the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people. Having been awarded the IFFR 2022’s Tiger Award, Eami is a stunning dreamlike elegy for a people at risk of losing their entire world to disease, destruction and deforestation.
Emily the Criminal
Aubrey Plaza gives a career-best performance in Emily the Criminal, a gripping thriller that walks a vanishingly thin line between nail-biting genre film and something much more gritty and realistic. Garnering some early comparisons to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and the Safdie brothers, John Patton Ford’s satisfyingly taut debut simmers with frustration and rage.
In Il Buco, multi-award-winning artist and filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino (Le Quattro Volte) restages the descent of a team of Italian spelunkers who set out to chart the darkness of the Bifurto Abyss in the 1960s. The nearly wordless 2021 Venice competition’s Special Jury Prize winner features luscious images from Swiss master cinematographer Renato Berta in a poetic feast for the senses.
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon
Starring a bewitching Jeon Jong-seo (Burning), Iranian American director Ana Lily Amirpour’s new film explodes onto the screen with her trademark bold visual stylings and twists on genre. In Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon we join a telekinetic young woman on a wild and bloody trip to New Orleans in this subversive horror-comedy from the director of A Girl Walks Home at Night.
The Novelist’s Film
South Korean auteur and festival fave Hong Sang-soo (On the Beach at Night Alone) reunites with muse Kim Min-Hee (No Blood No Tears) for another casually evocative tale of chance encounters. Taking home the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, The Novelist’s Film, was once again written, directed, shot, edited and soundtracked by one-man powerhouse, Hong, and delivers his signature winding storylines and musings on art, drinking and noodles.
The Passengers of the Night
Alongside her directorial debut (Jane by Charlotte) also screening at the festival, Charlotte Gainsbourg plays the recently divorced and cash-strapped Elisabeth as she embarks on a years-long journey of self-rediscovery in The Passengers of the Night. With a period-appropriate soundtrack that features local heroes The Go-Betweens, Mikhaël Hers’s (Amanda) nostalgic and quietly uplifting narrative is a languidly charming testament to the power of time to heal all wounds.
The Quiet Girl
Still waters run deep in this rousing Gaelic-language story of love and loss set in 1980s Ireland, awarded the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus Grand Prix for Best Film. Written and directed by rising talent Colm Bairéad, and featuring a star-making performance from young Catherine Clinch, The Quiet Girl also subsequently won Best Irish Feature at the Dublin International Film Festival as well as eight awards – including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress – at the Irish Film & Television Awards.
Acclaimed Austrian master of discomfort Ulrich Seidl returns with his first narrative feature in nine years: Rimini. In the gloomy winter off-season of an Italian seaside resort town, ageing crooner Richie Bravo (fearlessly played by Seidl regular Michael Thomas) sings saccharine ballads while selling sex to his elderly fans. But Richie’s bravado can’t shield him from the realities of life in this riveting and relentless character study.
Speak No Evil
Setting out to deliver “the most unpleasant experience for an audience, ever”, director Christian Tafdrup crafts a diabolical tale that morphs from a satire on middle-class manners into a menacing psychological thriller. Having first met while on vacation in Tuscany, a Danish family are invited to visit the home of their new friends in rural Netherlands for a weekend getaway. Warm welcomes are soon revealed to be something more twisted as the Danish family later find themselves unable to leave in Speak No Evil.
Where Is Anne Frank
The first feature film in eight long years from Israeli director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), Where Is Anne Frank approaches the famous Holocaust diary from the perspective of Kitty (voiced by Bridgerton’s Ruby Stokes), the imaginary girl to whom Anne addressed her correspondence. In this wondrous retelling, Anne’s world is depicted through a masterful blend of hand-drawn and stop-motion animation, with Folman placing the diarist’s much-mythologised writing into dialogue with the present-day refugee crisis.
MIFF’s suburban and regional program
When: 12–21 August
What: While there haven’t been any confirmed plans to take MIFF to outer-suburban cinemas that we’ve seen, for two weekends (plus some bonus dates at The Astor), you can watch select MIFF films in some of Melbourne’s best independent theatres across the inner-suburbs, plus a very solid range of theatres in regional Victoria, covering all the major regional centres.
Where: MIFF’s suburban venues: The Astor (St Kilda), Lido Cinemas (Hawthorn), Pentridge Cinema (Coburg) and Sun Theatre (Yarraville). MIFF’s regional venues: Capitol Cinema (Warrnambool), Paramount Cinemas (Echuca), Peninsula Cinemas (Sorrento), Star Cinema (Bendigo), Sun Cinema (Bairnsdale), Sun Cinema (Bright), The Pivotonian Cinema (Geelong), Theatre Royal (Castlemaine) and Wallis Cinemas (Mildura).
Online streaming across Australia
When: 11-28 August
What: MIFF Play will screen a wide selection of films from the 2022 program across the nation, after the relative success of pivoting to this model under forced conditions during the pandemic. Delivering cinematic content directly to audiences, wherever they may be located, MIFF Play proved essential in 2020 and 2021, and this online offering will return in 2022.
Where: The official MIFF Play website here.
Melbourne International Film Festival 2022 titles
• Alcarràs (Spain)
• Because We Have Each Other (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Clean (Australia)
• Dual (USA)
• Eami (Paraguay, Argentina)
• Emily the Criminal (USA)
• Fire of Love (USA, Canada)
• Franklin (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Gondwana (MIFF XR, Australia)
• Greenhouse (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Il Buco (Italy, France, Germany)
• Jane by Charlotte (France)
• Meet Me in the Bathroom (UK)
• Moja Vesna (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (USA)
• Navalny (USA)
• Of an Age (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Petrol (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Reflection (Ukraine)
• Rimini (Austria, France, Germany)
• Senses of Cinema (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Speak No Evil (Denmark, Netherlands)
• Sweet As (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• The Afterlight (UK)
• The Balcony Movie (Poland)
• The Novelist’s Film (South Korea)
• The Passengers of the Night (France)
• The Plains (Australia)
• The Quiet Girl (Ireland)
• The United States of America (USA)
• Under Cover (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Volcano Man (Premiere Fund, Australia)
• Where is Anne Frank (Belgium)
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MIFF 2022 cinemas and venues
• The Capitol
• Forum Melbourne
• Hoyts Melbourne Central
• Kino Cinema
• Cinema Nova
• The Astor, St Kilda
• Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn
• Pentridge Cinema, Coburg
• Sun Theatre, Yarraville
• Capitol Cinema, Warrnambool
• Paramount Cinemas, Echuca
• Peninsula Cinemas, Sorrento
• Star Cinema, Bendigo
• Sun Cinema, Bairnsdale
• Sun Cinema, Bright
• The Pivotonian Cinema, Geelong
• Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
• Wallis Cinemas, Mildura
Tickets to the Opening Night screening of Of an Age and Sounds of the Screen: Movie Music Across Victorian Landscapes are on sale from 2pm, Thursday 9 June via miff.com.au. The full program will be announced Tuesday 12 July. MIFF Members exclusive pre-sale window runs from 13 – 14 July, and tickets are on sale to the General Public on 15 July.