After an unforgettable Melbourne movie experience? From the Melbourne International Film Festival to celebrations of indie, anime, queer and documentary films, there's a festival for every type of movie buff. Check out the festivals coming soon to Melbourne below. While you're at it, check out Melbourne's best film events and screenings and our latest film reviews.
Upcoming Melbourne film festivals
Horror, thriller, fantasy and animation are the focus of the Fantastic Film Festival, which takes over the Lido from February 20 to March 4. The showcase of alternative and genre cinema has been curated with an eye on the way fantastic stories reveal truths about the time in which they are made. “It’s not just mutants, monsters, and apocalyptic bloodlust,” program director Hudson Sowada says, “although of course there’s plenty of that.” Opening night film Chained for Life is a good indication of the territory explored. British actor and disability activist Adam Pearson (Under the Skin), who lives with neurofibromatosis, stars as an actor in a horror film whose costar (Jess Weixler) is conventionally beautiful. Two films in the line-up deal with racial oppression: Zombi Child, about a Haitian teenager who reveals her family secret to her friends, and documentary Horror Noire, which traces the history of African-American artists in Hollywood through the horror genre, from caricature, through exploitation to the likes of Get Out. Violent but philosphical Polish film The Mute involves two Christian knights in the early Middle Ages who set off to christen the inhabitants of a pagan village hidden deep in the mountains. A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is a blackly comedic road movie with shades of Thelma and Louise. A special screening of Australian sci-fi metal-musical Sons of Steel will mark 30 years since its release. Other highlights include a film about German serial ki
The Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF) is returning to the city this autumn. It brings with it a stack of stories (plus industry events) that showcase the diversity and calibre of women in film, as well as redress the relative lack of women in the film industry . In 2020, MWFF will be talking about “stories in colour”, shining a spotlight on the talented women filmmakers from Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the Pacific islands. This is the first time the festival has welcomed filmmakers from these island nations, and is hoping to highlight how these creatives engage with global stories and ideas within the international film industry. The full line-up of films has yet to be announced, but at this stage we can confirm the festival will kick off proceedings on opening night with a screening of Vai. This 2019 film was created by nine women from Pacific nations and was filmed across seven. Vai is a story told through eight vignettes that explore the life of the woman Vai from girlhood to grandmother. Filmmakers Marina McCartney and Sharon Whippy will also be there on opening night as special guests. Another highlight of MWFF is Kiwi comedy Births, Deaths and Marriages that will make its Aussie debut at the festival. The film was directed by Bea Joblin and is set in the North Island town of Upper Hutt during the mid 1990s, where the Hart family is having an extremely bad day. In addition to screenings the festival also features panel discussions and workshops acr
Part of the Sustainable Living Festival, the Transitions Film Festival’s ninth edition is a chance to join like-minded viewers in watching local and international documentaries that seek to address the world’s problems and face the probable future head on. Around 30 features will screen at Cinema Nova (with additional screenings at the Astor and the Brunswick Mechanics Institute). Many screenings also include panel discussions with filmmakers and thought leaders such as former Greens leader Bob Brown; CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific David Ritter; filmmaker Shannon Harvey; CEO of Resilient Melbourne Toby Kent; founder and CEO of That Startup Show Anna Reeves; and comedian Alanta Colley. The festival opens with The Great Green Wall, in which a Malian musician and activist documents the ambitious project to create a 8,000km wall of trees to prevent desertification in Africa. Spanish acting great Javier Bardem, his brother, and leaders of Greenpeace go on an epic adventure to create the world's largest marine sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean in Sanctuary, the festival’s closing night film. As always the films in the line-up tackle the many crises facing the planet such as: The climate change crisis – Bob Brown’s fraught road trip to Queensland to protest the building of the Adani coal mine is the subject of Convoy, while short film ‘25 Zero’ looks into the melting of the world’s glaciers. The sanitation crisis – Mr Toilet follows the eccentric Jack Sims on his mission
Alliance Française, the French culture and language institution, launched its film festival in Australia way back in 1989, and since then it’s grown into the largest festival dedicated to French films outside of France. The 31st AFFFF will show across Australia in seven cities from March to mid-April. Opening night’s screening will be The Extraordinary, the new heart-tugger by the makers of the smash hit The Intouchables. It’s about a Jew and and Muslim (Vincent Cassel and Reda Kateb) who run two separate non-profit organisations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth. Closing night offers a whimsical comedy with echoes of Wes Anderson, The Bare Necessity (Perdrix), in which an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family in a remote village to rethink the way they live. Pierre Cardin is the latest French fashion icon to get a feature-length documentary, with House of Cardin, while Aznavour by Charles is a documentary portrayal of the famous French crooner. Edmond is a period drama about Edmond Rostand and the writing of his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) offers The Lost Prince, in which a devoted dad (Omar Sy) who becomes a heroic prince whenever he reads to his daughter has to deal with her growing up. A new wave classic film from 50 years ago, Donkey Skin, has been restored and will screen at AFFFF. Jacques Demy’s film is based on an adult-oriented fairy tale that Disney is
Melbourne Queer Film Festival is returning for its 30th anniversary in 2020 with a strong line up of queer films that share ‘stories in every colour’. The festival is running from March 12 – 23 and promotes an ethos of inclusion, community and celebration of LGBTQIA+ people. This year, MQFF extends its venues across the city with the newly refurbished Capitol Theatre, joining Village Cinemas in Jam Factory and the Cinema Nova Carlton hub. The first six titles have already been announced, including Australian features, a compelling documentary on trans activist Chelsea Manning, and raucous comedies such as The Shiny Shrimps (think Priscilla in Speedos). Unsound tells the story of a musician who finds love with a hearing-impaired trans man on the cusp of transitioning, while fellow Australian film Sequin in a Blue Room is a provocative exploration of dating apps and the age of social media. Other features include Tell It To The Bees, which stars Oscar winner Anna Paquin and Queering The Script, a documentary looking into lesbian characters on TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The festival also hosts Q&A sessions, workshops and parties to unify and celebrate LGBTIQ+ culture and queer cinema. For ticketing and the full program, visit the MQFF website.