News that the Melbourne International Film Festival was cancelled this year came as little surprise but certainly dampened a few spirits, as the August event is one of Melbourne’s favourite ways to combat the gloom of winter.
Now the festival, under artistic director Al Cossar, has announced an online replacement event called (in a nod to Fellini’s 1963 masterpiece 8½) MIFF 68½.
MIFF 68½ will take place across MIFF’s previously announced dates of August 6-23. Ticketholders will be able to stream a fully curated program utilising state-of-the-art streaming platform Shift72.
“MIFF 68½ is our response to these difficult times,” Cossar says, “the result of our desire to sustain MIFF’s outstanding film programming, stay connected with our audience, and foster new audience connections during this truly unparallelled time.”
The full line-up of MIFF 68½ is to be announced on July 14, and is looking to include films planned for the festival’s intended 2020 program, as well as foregrounding ‘discovery’ highlights by emerging filmmakers. The program will also present a special showcase of short films.
The online festival has been made possible thanks to a donation from Melbourne-based film producer, businesswoman and philanthropist Susie Montague. Screen director, actor and longtime MIFF attendee Rachel Griffiths will be festival ambassador.