Industry News: Four-year Continuation of MIFF Premiere Fund

The State Government of Victoria has promised a $3.8 million four-year renewal of the Melbourne International Film Festival MIFF Premiere Fund, which provides strategic minority co-financing to new Australian films that then go on to premiere at MIFF.

“The MIFF Premiere Fund’s continuation is important for MIFF, audiences, local filmmakers, and the State’s creative economy,” said MIFF Chair Claire Dobbin. “Generating a pipeline of world premieres for MIFF, and screenings for the MIFF Premiere Regional Showcase, the Premiere Fund helps MIFF remain the Southern Hemisphere’s leading film event.”

“Together with MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator, the MIFF Premiere Fund reinforces Melbourne’s position as a screen business hub,” said MIFF Industry Director and Premiere Fund Executive Producer Mark Woods. “Securing finance for independent Australian films is always tricky and the contribution of the Premiere Fund has helped close the financing gap on some 45 films.”

The MIFF Premiere Fund is one of a suite of MIFF Industry Programs, which also include MIFF 37ºSouth Market, Australia’s only festival-based movie financing market, and the MIFF Accelerator emerging director workshop.

The MIFF Premiere Fund’s 45 films include the likes of BRAN NUE DAE starring Geoffrey Rush, BALIBO starring Anthony LaPaglia, THE TURNING featuring Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Hugo Weaving, feature documentaries ELECTRIC BOOGALOO and IN BOB WE TRUST and the upcoming children’s film PAPER PLANES starring Sam Worthingon and David Wenham, with combined budgets of more than $100 million. Following their world premieres at MIFF, the MIFF Premiere-supported films have been selected for numerous overseas festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance. The Premiere Fund films also tour regionally in Victoria with the MIFF Premiere Showcase.

“I strongly believe our industry in Victoria and MIFF is elevated by the significant opportunities the MIFF Premiere Fund provides and so it is wonderful that the Government has promised to continue the MIFF Premiere Fund,” said Seph McKenna, Head of Australian Production at Roadshow Films, the distributor of MIFF Premiere Fund-supported Bran Nue DaeThese Final Hours and the upcoming Paper Planes. “The MIFF Premiere Fund is an investment by the Government that guarantees Melbourne remains Australia’s premier film festival for all its constituencies from punter to filmmaker.”

“It is imperative for the state of filmmaking in Victoria that both the MIFF Premiere Fund and MIFF 37ºSouth Market continue to thrive and so I am thrilled that the Government is to renew the MIFF Premiere Fund,” said producer Lizzette Atkins who made Rock N Roll NerdThe Triangle WarsAim High In Creation and the upcoming Looking for Grace (starring Richard Roxburgh and Radha Mitchell) with MIFF Premiere Fund assistance. “Speaking from experience, the MIFF Premiere Fund can play a critical role in a project reaching its final budget.”

“The MIFF Premiere Fund is a very important part of the local film industry and I am delighted it will continue to receive financial support from the Government,” said director/producer Mark Hartleywho made Not Quite HollywoodMachete Maidens UnleashedPatrick and Electric Boogaloo with MIFF Premiere Fund assistance. “Financing a feature film is a complicated process and the Premiere Fund’s investment is invaluable in filling the hard-to-finance gaps.”

“I am delighted the State Government will continue to support the MIFF Premiere Fund and commit to its ongoing funding for another four years,” said producer Antony I Ginnane, who produced Last Dance and Patrick with MIFF Premiere Fund support. “The MIFF Premiere Fund has punched above its weight. Each individual contribution it has made to fiction and documentary features has helped expand the quantum of Victorian production and provide vital employment to keep talented local entrepreneurs and creatives gainfully employed.”

“I fully support the MIFF Premiere Fund – one of the most amazing film funds in Australia – if not the world!” said producer Veronica Fury who produced Machete Maidens UnleashedCurse of the Gothic SymphonyFirst FaginElectric Boogloo and the upcoming Neon with MIFF Premiere Fund assistance. “I believe it is a valuable and critical asset to Victoria and to Melbourne and so I am thrilled that the Government will allow this valuable and vital Fund to continue.”

“I wholeheartedly applaud the continuation of the MIFF Premiere Fund and its work in keeping Victorian independent film on the national and international landscape,” said producer/director Richard Lowenstein who has made feature documentaries AutoLuminescentIn Bob We Trust (with Lynn-Maree Milburn) and the upcoming Ecco Homo with MIFF Premiere Fund support.

“Film Finances is a proud and long term collaborator with the MIFF Premiere Fund and we are delighted to learn of the Government’s commitment to the renewal of the MIFF Premiere Fund,” said Film Finances Australasia Managing Director Anni Browning. “Equity financing for quality independent films is never easy and festival funds are an important and welcome source of extra financing. We recognise that the Fund has a strong track record of supporting emerging talent, female directors and producers, along with indigenous stories.”

“Finding financial support for films by new directors with unique creative visions is increasingly difficult and the Government’s continuation of the MIFF Premiere Fund is important for Victorian filmmakers,” said producer Philippa Campey who has produced Bastardy and Galore with MIFF Premiere Fund assistance. “I wholeheartedly support the continuation of this important Fund which has become a fundamental part of our local sector and will be increasingly crucial in the future in its support of quality feature-length projects.”

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