MIFF opens with local 'Wedding'

This year's slate likely to avoid controversy

SYDNEY -- In keeping with its recent tradition of launching the Melbourne International Film Festival with a film financed by the fest’s Premiere Film Fund, this year’s edition will open with the world premiere of romantic comedy, “The Wedding Party,” the directorial debut of Melbourne filmmaker Amanda Jane. 

“In a film world saturated with grim visions of despair and existential angst, what a pleasure it will be to open this year’s MIFF with a sassy, irreverent comedy from first time local filmmakers,” said festival director Richard Moore.

Originally known as "Kin," “The Wedding Party” is set against the backdrop of an impending wedding, and follows the romantic and dramatic turns of the Thompson family and their relationships - from a deviant brother, and a sister with intimacy issues, to parents who have separated as a result of the father’s infidelity, each couple must each face the one lesson that will get them through the complications of love. 

The film features an ensemble cast of Aussie actors including Isabel Lucas, Josh Lawson, Steve Bisley, Rhonda Burchmore, Essie Davis, Adam Zwar, Geoff Paine, Kestie Morassi, Nadine Garner and Bill Hunter. 

MIFF 2010 will run for 18 days this year with over 200 films scheduled from around the globe in program spotlights including International Panorama, Documentaries, Neighbourhood Watch, Backbeat, Animation, and States of Dissent as well as a special retrospective focusing on the subversive and political cinema legend Joe Dante. 

Titles already announced to screen at this years fest include Chinese films “City of Life and Death” directed by Lu Chuan and Zhao Liang's “Petition,” which was withdrawn from the festival last year after the controversy surrounding the fest’s première of Rebiyah Kadeer documentary, “Ten Conditions of Love."

Also highlighted are another MIFF Premiere fund feature “Blame”, Jacques Rivette’s “Around
A Small Mountain” from Italy and France and Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist,” based on an unproduced script of much-loved French director Jacques Tati.

The festival will also run its Next Gen sidebar with a dozen films aimed at kids between 6 and 15, and has teamed up with educational organization Australian Teachers Of Media to provide free story guides for some films. Films in this sidebar include the Australian premiere of Universals new 3D animated feature, “Despicable Me,” the boxoffice breaking New Zealand film, “Boy,” “Desert Flower” based on the true story of Somali model Waris Dirie and Japanese anime feature, “Mai Mai Miracle."

Also programmed as a special event will be a digital recut of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” with the soundtrack played live by the all-strings Bates Motel Orchestra.

The full program will be unveiled on July 6. The 59th edition of the festival runs from July 22-August 8.