Written and Directed by Fin Edquist
Starring Samara Weaving, Felicity Price, Benjamin Winspear, Sara West and Liam Graham
Secrets and lies will change lives in this pulse-pounding psychological thriller.
Sullen, defiant and on probation following her release from juvenile detention, 16-year-old foster child Amy Anderson struggles with her new life in the countryside until Chloe, a friendly local girl the same age as Amy, drops by the family home seeking house-cleaning work and everything changes.
In this MIFF Premiere Fund-supported world premiere, writer/director Fin Edquist takes a sharp turn from his previous family and comedy scripts for Blinky Bill: The Movie and House Husbands, recruiting Samara Weaving (Mystery Road, MIFF 2013) and Sara West (The Daughter, MIFF 2015) to head up his tempestuous tale of two very different souls. Also featuring Felicity Price (The Gift, MIFF 2015) and Benjamin Winspear (The Babadook), and with a moody score from long-time Nick Cave collaborator Warren Ellis, Bad Girl offers a boldly dramatic twist on the femme fatale.
Tickets and details here. Fin Edquist is a guest of the festival.
Written and Directed by Abe Forsythe
Starring Lincoln Younes, Rakel Romahn, Michael Denka, Feyssal Bai, Alexander England and Damon Herriman
A black comedy set during the aftermath of the Cronulla riots, Down Under is the story of two carloads of hotheads from both sides of the fight destined to collide. Sincere, though misguided, intent gives way to farcical ineptitude as this hilarious yet poignant story of ignorance, fear and kebab cravings unfolds, and what was meant to be a retaliation mission turns into something neither side could have imagined.
Guaranteed to provoke debate, this sophomore feature from actor-turned-director Abe Forsythe is an unapologetic trip through the dark side of modern multiculturalism. While underlying the absurdity at the heart of an otherwise serious tragedy, Forsythe handles his material with sensitivity and poignant complexity. Features a strong ensemble cast spearheaded by Lincoln Younes (Love Child; The Wedding Party, MIFF 2010), Rahel Romahn (Underbelly; The Principal, MIFF 2015), Alexander England (Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story), Damon Herriman (100 Bloody Acres, MIFF 2012) and David Field (These Final Hours, MIFF 2013; Mystery Road, MIFF 2013).
Tickets and details here. Ticket price includes red carpet gala screening and entry to the exclusive afterparty, complete with drinks and canapés.
Emo The Musical – World Premiere
Written and Directed by Neil Triffett
Starring Benson Jack Anthony, Jordan Hare, Rahart Adams, Jon Presida, Adam Zwar and more.
What happens when a brooding, moody high-school emo falls for a happy, God-loving Christian believer?
Having been kicked out of his old school, Ethan just wants to start afresh. And after being accepted to join his new school’s grungy emo band, Worst Day Ever, he thinks he’s finally found his place. But when the school’s sunshine-and-rainbows Hope Group decides to compete alongside Worst Day Ever in the local band comp, it pits the ideologically and musically opposed bands against each other. There couldn’t be a worse time for Emo Ethan and the Hope Group’s kind-hearted, faithful singer Trinity to fall in love.
Expanded from his Berlinale 2013 award-winning short film, Neil Triffett’s debut feature is a cheerfully irreverent take on Romeo and Juliet-style star-crossed love, via High School Musical and Glee. Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, and featuring Rahart Adams (Nowhere Boys, MIFF 2013), Benson Jack Anthony (800 Words) and newcomer Jordan Hare alongside Adam Zwar, Bridie Carter and Dylan Lewis, it’s a sweetly satirical (and, given this year’s Safe Schools controversies, timely) story about tolerance, individuality and harmonising.
Neil Triffett is a guest of the festival. Tickets and details here.
Directed by Rosemary Myers
Written by Matthew Whittet
Starring Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Matthew Whittet, Amber McMahon and Eamon Farren
Winner of the Adelaide Film Festival Audience Award for Most Popular Feature, and the Seattle Film Festival’s Grand Prix, Girl Asleep is the sparkling filmmaking debut of Windmill Theatre artistic director Rosemary Myers. Adapted from Windmill’s acclaimed 2014 stage production of the same name, it’s a wonderfully eccentric modern fairytale of female adolescence.
Days before her 15th birthday, Greta Driscoll (a remarkable Bethany Whitmore) transfers to a new school. As if that isn’t bad enough, her parents not only decide to throw her a party, they invite all her new classmates – including new best friend Elliot and the trio of mean girls determined to make her life a misery. Escaping to her bedroom, Greta falls asleep and slips down the rabbit hole into a subconscious forest full of absurd, oddly familiar and terrifying visions. Can she find her way back to herself?
Scripted by original playwright Matthew Whittet (who also stars as Greta’s dad) and stylistically lensed by cinematographer Andrew Commis (The Daughter, MIFF 2015), Girl Asleep is a bold and potently comic journey into the teenage mind.
Rosemary Myers and Matthew Whittet are guests of the festival. Tickets and details here.
Joe Cinque’s Consolation
Directed by Sotiris Dounoukos
Written by Sotiris Dounoukos and Matt Rubinstein
Starring Gia Carides, Laura Gordon, Maggie Naouri, Geraldine Bakewell and more
Anu Singh was an Australian National University law student in the late 1990s when she started complaining about her health and talking about suicide to her friends. Her worried boyfriend, Joe Cinque, tried to help but his efforts only seemed to make her mental state worse. Anu’s plans grew darker and more sinister, and she started hinting she would take someone with her. Her best friend, Madhavi Rao, seemed powerless – or unwilling – to stop her. Finally, Anu staged a farewell dinner party, preparing her guests, Rohypnol and two lethal doses of heroin. After all the warnings, who would step forward to stop her?
Based on Helen Garner’s multi-award-winning book Joe Cinque’s Consolation: A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law, and compassionately directed by MIFF Accelerator alumnus Sotiris Dounoukos (A Single Body, MIFF 2014, which went on to win the Toronto Film Festival’s Best International Short Film award), this is an emotionally complex and chilling true crime drama. Dounoukos draws on his own memories of the law school, the people and the city from this time, as well as Garner’s meticulous research, to build a compelling psychological study of community, culpability and collective responsibility.
Starring Maggie Naouri and Jerome Meyer, with Gia Carides and Tony Nikolakopoulos as Joe’s parents, and bolstered by pitch-perfect period details and a soundtrack to match, the highly anticipated Joe Cinque’s Consolation is sure to be one of this year’s most talked about films.
Sotiris Dounoukos is a guest of the festival. Tickets and details here.
Written and Directed by Paul Cox
Starring Julia Blake and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell
In June, Australian cinema lost one of its greats in Paul Cox (Force of Destiny, MIFF 2015). To commemorate his life and contribution both to local filmmaking and to MIFF, we are holding a special screening of one of his most revered films: Innocence.
Claire and Andreas met and fell in love as youths, but the relationship didn’t work out; several decades later, they meet again and fall back in love. Julia Blake (Last Dance, MIFF 2012; Paul Cox’s My First Wifeand Man of Flowers) and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell as Claire and Andreas are gifted casting; they seem to genuinely be rekindling past passion. Moving and uplifting in its depiction of a love that transcends the years, Innocence is a fitting tribute to a filmmaker whose oeuvre exudes a rare depth of emotion.
This screening will be followed by a panel discussion about the life and work of Paul Cox, featuring his friends and collaborators. Tickets and details here.
Killing Ground – World Premiere
Written and Directed by Damien Power
Starring Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer and Aaron Glenane
When young urbanites Ian and Sam decide to go camping, they arrive at their isolated destination to discover another tent already set up, but no sign of its owners. With the other campers at large, Ian and Sam’s discovery of a child wandering alone sets off a terrifying chain of events that will push them to their limits – and beyond.
Inspired by Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, writer/director Damien Power’s gloriously tense and unsettling feature-film debut Killing Ground showcases a menacingly against-type Aaron Pedersen, in a low-budget survival thriller pulsing with high-stakes scares, piercing intensity and shocking violence that will make you think twice next time you dare to head beyond the bright lights of the city.
Damien Power is a guest of the festival. Tickets and details here.
Written and Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse
Starring Hugo Weaving, Geneviéve Picot and Russell Crowe
Martin, a visually impaired man, lives an emotionally isolated life. Holding a deep-seated mistrust for the people around him, he takes photographs of his surroundings as a safeguard against being deceived. An object of obsessive but unrequited desire for his housekeeper, Martin embarks on a cautious friendship with a young restaurant worker. In doing so, he sets in motion a love triangle in which trust can be built and shattered.
The launchpad for Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe’s acting careers, and Jocelyn Moorhouse’s directorial one, Proof swept the 1991 AFI Awards, winning best film and best actor awards for both Weaving and Crowe, and also receiving a special mention at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. To mark its 25th anniversary, the National Film and Sound Archive has given Proof a stunning new restoration, enabling audiences to revisit a modern classic of Australian cinema.
Jocelyn Moorhouse is a guest of the festival. Tickets and details here.
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Stephen Sewell
Starring David Wenham, Toni Collette and Lynette Curran
The film that kicked David Wenham’s career into overdrive, The Boys is a truly remarkable modern Australian classic, more relevant today than ever in its depiction of the systemic misogyny and violence at the heart of Australian society.
Wenham is magnetic as Brett Sprague, a seething, manipulative menace who’s just spent a year in jail for a brutal assault. Released and reunited with his brothers (John Polson and Anthony Hayes), Brett is determined to reassert his place both within his family, and within the world. The result is both horrifying and all too familiar, and the journey insidiously tense thanks to a flawless cast and an unnervingly moody soundtrack from The Necks.
The first feature produced by Paper Planes (MIFF 2014) and Balibo (MIFF 2009) director Robert Connolly, The Boys was also a watershed moment in Toni Collette’s rise. Adapted for the screen by Stephen Sewell and loosely inspired by the 1986 murder of Sydney nurse Anita Cobby, the film won multiple awards – including the AFI awards for Best Director, Supporting Actor and Actress and Adapted Screenplay, as well as the Film Critics Circle of Australia award for Best Film. Newly restored, and with a resurgent national conversation around violence against women, there’s never been a better time to watch, or reacquaint yourself with, The Boys.
Rowan Woods is a guest of the festival. Tickets and details here.
The Life and Death of Otto Bloom
Written and Directed by Cris Jones
Starring Xavier Samuel, Rachael Ward and Matilda Brown
The chronicle of the life and great love of Otto Bloom, an extraordinary man who experiences time in reverse – passing backwards through the years only remembering the future.
This is just a taste of the incredible Australian content on offer during this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival. For your complete list of documentaries and short films visit www.miff.com.au.