MIFF: how the Melbourne International Film Festival began 70 years ago

MIFF will commemorate its 70th anniversary in August 2022, making it one of the world’s oldest film festivals.
Australian film buffs were thirsty to see international films from Europe and Asia. Image: supplied by the author.

Lisa French, RMIT University

On the Australia Day weekend in 1952, a group of die-hard film buffs put on a film festival. They had selected the leafy hills of Olinda in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges for the event. They expected 80 people – but more than 600 turned up!

In the 1950s, very few Australian films were being made. Those that were produced were largely documentaries, with narrative features extremely rare. Despite this, an avid film culture flourished through local film societies.

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