First glance of this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival

Press release from Limelight PR

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) turns 60 in 2011 and it's doing it in style! While the full program won't be launched until July 5, here is a first glance into this year's Festival…

Kriv Stenders' Red Dog will close the Melbourne International Film Festival in a red carpet event on Saturday 6 August. Starring Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, A Beautiful Mind) as “John”, the film tells the legendary story of a charismatic kelpie who united a mining community in the 1970s and „80s.

Lucas joins an impressive ensemble cast including Rachael Taylor (Transformers), Noah Taylor (Shine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Almost Famous), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) Luke Ford (Animal Kingdom), and canine co-star Koko.

“We are thrilled to be able to present this charming and funny film on our Closing Night. Kriv Stenders has crafted a magnificent ode to love, life and friendship in „70s Australia, with a pumping pub-rock soundtrack and sumptuous visual style. And with one of the most acute performances by a canine you'll see – and it's been a big year for dogs on screen!” said Artistic Director Michelle Carey.

International Panorama will showcase straight from Cannes Film Festival, The Kid With The Bike, a tremendously moving drama by the Dardenne brothers (Lorna’s Silence, The Child) who once again display their directorial flair and impeccable casting choices; Lena Dunham's indie film Tiny Furniture about a twenty-something graduate who returns home to New York to face the toughest question of all: what now?; Hungarian auteur Bela Tarrâ's (Werkmeister Harmonies) B&W-shot and eagerly awaited, The Turin Horse which won the Silver Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival; and UK comedy stalwart Richard Ayoadeâ's directorial debut Submarine, a charming coming-of-age tale.

Triangle Wars kicks off the Documentary spotlight, capturing the fascinating battle between the outraged St Kilda community, an intractable local government apparatus and a powerful development consortium, as heads roll, careers are ruined and lives are destroyed; El Bulli: Cooking in Progress takes a look into the meticulous preparation that goes into one of the most imaginative and exotic menus in the world; and Melbourne filmmaker Genevieve Bailey's I Am Eleven, an exploration into the lives and thoughts of 15 children – rich and poor, privileged and outcast, a unique insight into what unites us, and what sets us apart.

For the best in Asian cinema, don't miss Accent on Asia, including Norwegian Wood, a haunting and visually striking film about love and loss from Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya; Cyclo, MIFF 1995; Vertical Ray of the Sun), adapted from the best-selling novel by Haruki Murakami, The Unjust, a complex crime thriller that has been a critical and commercial success in South Korea, and is set against the background of police and corporate corruption in contemporary Seoul; and Thai director Aditya Assarata's Hi-So, a return to the themes of his acclaimed debut, Wonderful Town (MIFF 2007), with a visually elegant take on alienation and the universal search for identity and love.

New to the Festival in 2011 is the spotlight This Sporting Life which will take in all the human drama and heartbreak inherent in our need to compete, with a selection of true-life tales in which the game is more than just a game… Highlights include: Bobby Fischer Against the World which adroitly depicts the mood of a time when a single chess match could encapsulate the struggle between two superpowers; Knuckle which takes audiences into an unseen tribal world of bare-knuckle boxing matches filled with larger-than-life characters, moments of brutalising machismo and a darkly Irish sense of humour; and Senna, a stunning and tightly paced documentary charting Ayrton Senna's meteoric rise to F1 competition, first as a driver for McLaren – alongside his soon-to-be arch-rival Alain Prost – and later for Williams Renault.

In a world dominated by online culture such as Facebook and Twitter, Networked shines the focus on films that looks at online and digital culture, how we inhabit these connected spaces, and how they let us redefine and rewrite the very people we seem to be in our daily lives.

Highlights include Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald's Life in a Day, the true story of a single day on Earth, a striking blend of every kind of lived experience, from life-changing events, romance and tragedy, to the simple beauty of a full moon shared from different sides of the world; PressPausePlay, which examines the possible futures that we may find in the wake of the new digital paradigm, through interviews with a byte-load of artists, musicians, digital creators and online journalists and energetic and intimate, Fleurs du Mal which explores the political and personal power of social media, as viewed through the prism of a decidedly 21st-century love story.

MIFF's favourite spotlight, Backbeat, features Beats, Rhymes and Life directed by Hollywood actor Michael Rapaport, a compelling chronicle of the legendary hip hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, providing an emotional front row seat to the spiralling egos and tensions that would eventually tear Quest apart; The Blackpower Mixtape 1967 – 1975 is a fascinating, musically driven nine-year journey through a period of major social upheaval in the US; and The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jayne, an intimate, affecting portrait of the bizarre life and work of ground-breaking performance artist and music pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.

To help celebrate MIFF's 60th in 2011, the Festival has curated MIFF 60: The Graphic Art of the Melbourne International Film Festival, showcasing 60 years of the Festival's graphic style – from the flat geometric designs of the Saul Bass inspired 60s era, through the psychedelic excursions of the 70s and the narrative driven surrealism of the 80s.

The exhibition will contain design objects from graphic design heroes such as Max Robinson (designer MIFF 1958 & 1961), Richard Beck (MIFF 1963), Frank Eidlitz (MIFF 1965) and Brian Sadgrove (MIFF 1973 & 1974). Containing Festival ephemera from original programs, leaflets, photos and documents, there will be particular attention to the „golden age of Australian graphic design, when the event carried a distinctive artistic style.

The exhibition hopes to engage with film, graphic art, Victorian cultural history all while examining the relationship between the moving and the still image. The exhibition will be accompanied by a MIFF60 catalogue available through

The full program will be launched on Tuesday 5 July. The 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival will run from 21 July – 7 August. Tickets for Opening and Closing Night are now on sale. For further information visit here.