Wedding Party to open MIFF

By Morgan Hind

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has selected local romantic drama The Wedding Party to open the festival, which will screen 240 films this year.

The opening night film (previously titled Kin) is the debut feature from director Amanda Jane and was partly funded via the MIFF Premiere Fund film. It tells the story of financially-strapped Steve, who agrees to marry a Russian girl seeking residency in exchange for a large sum of cash. What looked like the perfect plan goes badly awry when his family catch wind of his marriage plans, and he finds himself caught up in an extravagant sham wedding.

"We can confirm the entire cast will be present on opening night," outgoing festival director Richard Moore told INSIDEFILM. The film stars Josh Lawson, Isabel Lucas, Steve Bisley, Nadine Garner and Bill Hunter.

With 185,000 tickets sold at last year's MIFF, organisers are expecting the 2010 event to be even bigger, with the recent launch of a new interactive website and MIFF iPhone application.

"Melbourne audiences love it," Moore also said, who makes the move to Brisbane International Film Festival this year, after four years with MIFF.

"With only 300 films released cinematically in Australia each year, and 240 in this year's MIFF program, we're giving audiences almost a year's worth of films over only 17 days."

MIFF also confirmed the world premiere of five films that were partly funded by the MIFF Premiere Fund, including Perth shot revenge thriller Blame.

In its fourth year this year, the youth-oriented NextGen program includes the movie adaptation of Waris Dirie's autobiography Desert Flower, which tells her true story of her escape from Somalia to her successful career as a supermodel.

A scene from The Wedding Party