MIFF bookended by local features

Film fund bears fruit for Melbourne fest

SYDNEY -- Two new Australian features partly funded by the Melbourne International Film Festival’s Premiere Fund will screen on the prestigious opening and closing nights for the 2009 festival in July, organizers said Wednesday.

Political thriller “Balibo” starring Anthony La Paglia and directed by Robert Connolly will be the fest’s opening night film, while Rachel Perkins’s indigenous musical “Bran Nue Dae” with an ensemble cast that includes Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins and Deb Mailman, will close the festival on August 8.

“In only the second year of our film fund we are proud to be positioning the entire festival between the bookends of two new and very diverse Australian features. We open on a serious political note and will close in a riotous excess of color and movement” said MIFF executive director Richard Moore.

The Fund was established two years ago to provide top up financing to local features with the proviso that they be available for world premières at the festival. 

The full program for MIFF 2009 will be announced on July 7.