Screen News in Brief: MIFF fires up, impact producer fund, NITV in footy culture doc

Our biggest cinephile event has us in a tizz, but there's lots of other news and views in this fortnight's industry roundup.

A welcome buzz of MIFF anticipation

  • On Tuesday night, the Melbourne International Film Festival unveiled its program for MIFF 68.5. Streaming Australia-wide from 6 – 23 August, tickets will be available to the public tomorrow (Friday 17 August, from 9am). They’re limited, and be aware that MIFF fans are rabid, so get in quick.
  • This year’s program contains more than 60 features and 44 shorts (shorts are free, but ticketed), as well as talks and Q&A events hosted by the likes of Justin Kurzel and Mirrah Foulkes.
  • You can watch the program launch on Youtube to whet your appetite. It’s a rousing reminder of the wonderful communal feelings engendered by this particular event, even during Melbourne’s darkest days of lockdown.
  • The focus skews international, with opening night film Kelly Reichard’s First Cow, Benh Zeitlin’s long-awaited follow-up to Beasts of the Southern Wild, Wendy, as Centrepiece, and Pablo Lorrain’s Ema as closing night feature.
  • Australian highlights include: the premieres of Steven McGregor’s Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky, Jo-Anne Brechin’s rom com Paper Champions and Monica Zanetti’s Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt). There’s also the Karrabing Film Collective’s hip-hop infused Day in the Life; a retrospective restoration screening of Rolf de Heer’s jazz odyssey Dingo; and SFF acclaimed docs The Leadership and The Plastic House.
  • Read David Tiley’s interview with MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar for more insight into this year’s unique event. Lots more coverage coming in the following month. 

Impact Producing Spotlight

  • Anna Kaplan: You’ve got to live and breath your message. An interview with one of our best-known Impact Producers (That Sugar Film, 2040) about her project to green the Australian screen industry as part of Natalie Miller Fellowship activities. 
  • The Documentary Impact Producer Relief Fund is offering grants of up to USD $4,000 to freelance impact producers working anywhere in the world. Two funding rounds remain: Round 2 is open until 17 July; Round 3 is open 12 to 19 August. This relief was designed by the facilitators of the Global Impact Producers Assembly and is administered by Doc Society with support from Perspective Fund. Apply here.

NITV and Screen Australia announce commission doc The Fight Together

  • Announced today, and premiering in 2010, the feature doc will be directed by Larissa Behrendt. The Fight Together documents how a group of NRL greats, led by Dean Widders, came together to invent a new pre-game ceremony in response to the Maori Haka, that could celebrate Aboriginal cultures and help to counter racism in rugby league. The Fight Together is an Essential Media production for NITV, produced by Sam Griffin with Executive Producers Brendan Dahill and Paul Wiegard of Madman Entertainment, who will distribute.

Make it Australian Campaign launches tool to make activism easier

  • Over a dozen guilds and associations representing Australia’s writers, producers, actors, directors, crews and creatives, recently presented a collective vision for the screen industry in a submission [PDF] to the federal government. Now they’ve launched an easy tool for people to take action by asking their local MP to pledge support for evolving local content rules to meet the demands of modern audiences. Find the tool here to add your support to the ‘Make it Australian’ campaign.

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Rochelle Siemienowicz is a journalist for Screenhub. She is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram