Melbourne International Film Fest to Open with 'The Fairy,' Feature Premiere of Schepisi's 'The Eye of the Storm'

The festival marks its 60th year when it opens on July 21.

SYDNEY -- Belgian film The Fairy as the opening night film and the world premiere of Fred Schepisi’s The Eye Of The Storm starring Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling are among the highlights of the Melbourne International Film Festival as it marks its 60th year when it opens July 21.

Other important events include Morgan Spurlock presenting the Australian premiere of his POM Wonderful Presents: the Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and masterclasses with Lisa Gerrard and French comedy writer-director Frances Veber.

The Fairy is that rare case of a festival-friendly film that is honorably humanist and inventive yet unapologetically accessible and comical. That it is also whimsical and a little nostalgic makes it the perfect opening for the 60th MIFF”, said MIFF artistic director Michelle Carey unveiling the program.

Other Cannes titles secured for the festival include Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, Maiwenn le Besco’s searing portrayal of child protection work, Polisse, and Japanese director Naomi Kawase’s Hanezu.

In all 300 films will screen at Australia’s largest and oldest film festival across a number of sidebars including Australian Showcase, Prime Time – a focus on works made for television by feature film directors, including the world premiere of ABCTV drama, The Slap, and a partnership with Festival Scope featuring 12 films from 12 countries in the European Union, from Greece to Germany, Slovenia to Spain – TeleScope will sketch a cinematic map of contemporary European film with highlights including Spain’s Finnesterrae, and The Solitude of Prime Numbers.

Other sidebars include Accent on Asia, which brings the very best of Asian cinema to MIFF audiences including legendary director Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage and Thailand’s Sivaroj Kongsakul’s feature film debut, Eternity; This Sporting Life; Documentary; and the largest sidebar International Spotlight, with 60 films including festival guest Mike MillsBeginner, festival guest Pia MaraisAt Ellen’s Age and Mike Cahill’s Another Earth, a tale of love and redemption set against the philosophical quandary of a world that appears to be an exact mirror of our own.

Putting together the festival program, the second under artistic director Carey hasn’t been without its hiccups. Closing night film Red Dog has had to be replaced by Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, after distributors Roadshow Films’ decided to bring forward Red Dog's local theatrical release to August 4, four days before closing night.

The festival’s ever-expanding, four-day film co-financing event MIFF 37ºSouth Market, will again be held on the opening weekend with a record 100 selected Australian/NZ producers matched with national and international financing guests.