For over 70 years, the Melbourne International Film Festival has been at the heart of Melbourne’s cultural life. Since 1952, when the first event drew ten times the anticipated audience to Olinda, MIFF has connected the people of Melbourne and beyond to films and stories from around the world.
Now that MIFF has reached its 70th anniversary, it’s time to tell the festival’s story. But where should the spotlight shine? On the films that MIFF has screened? The programs it’s printed? On the posters hung in cinemas announcing MIFF’s arrival? No single aspect of the festival can account for the sheer chemistry of what happens when audiences, cinemas, films and their makers are brought together by MIFF each year.
Festival Files explores MIFF’s sometimes life-changing impact by diving into the stories and memories of the people who have made and been part of the festival. Speaking with audience members, filmmakers, staff and board members from MIFF’s past and present, Festival Files records the experiences that have made MIFF such an enduring and essential part of Melbourne’s film and cultural landscape.
The memories recorded here span MIFF’s early years at the University of Melbourne through the golden Palais era, to the transformations of the 1980s and the move to the heart of the city. Taken together, what these stories and memories reveal is that the elusive MIFF ‘magic’ – the chemistry of MIFF – has touched many people’s lives. And what stories they have to tell!