More Australian premieres announced for MIFF including Measure for Measure and Below

Hugo Weaving in Measure for Measure.

The MIFF Premiere Fund delivers seven world and Australian premieres to the 68th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), including Paul Ireland’s gritty reimagining of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure staring Hugo Weaving and Maziar Lahooti’s highly anticipated directorial debut, Below.

The Premiere Fund, which provides minority co-financing to new Australian quality theatrical (narrative and documentary) feature films that then premiere at MIFF, has invested in more than 70 projects including the MIFF 2019 slate.  Four of this year’s suite of Premiere Fund films have also been directed by alumni of the MIFF Accelerator Lab for emerging screen directors, including: John Sheedy, Jayden Stevens, Rodd Rathjen and Maziar Lahooti.

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Reimagining the Bard’s play about morality, mercy and justice into a topical tale of love and loyalty, Ireland and his co-writer, the late Damian Hill (West of Sunshine, MIFF 2018), have crafted a touching story about a young Muslim woman, Jaiwara, who falls for a non-Muslim musician, Claudio.

Ireland’s film takes audiences on an emotional, action-packed ride, with a beautifully-shot Melbourne as the backdrop. As Jaiwara, Megan Hajjar is luminous. Harrison Gilbertson (My Mistress, MIFF Premiere Fund 2014), Fayssal Bazzi (The Merger, MIFF 2018) and Daniel Henshall (Acute Misfortune, MIFF Premiere Fund 2018) join Hugo Weaving in a diverse ensemble that also includes Doris Younane and Mark Leonard Winter in fervently penetrating performance as Angelo.

In Below, Ryan Corr (Holding the Man) and Anthony LaPaglia (Balibo) star alongside Phoenix Raei (The Heights), Alison Whyte (The Kettering Incident), Morgana O’Reilly (Offspring) and Zenia Star (The Merger) in Maziar Lahooti’s pitch-black comedy. A unique, and uniquely provocative take on Australia’s controversial asylum-seeker detention system, Belowis a film that’s bound to get audiences talking.

Accelerator Lab alumnus director Rodd Rathjen’s Buoyancy has its international premiere at MIFF following its world premiere at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival where it was hailed a “terse minimalist thriller” for its portrayal of aCambodian boy’s enslavement on a Thai fishing trawler. Stunningly shot by cinematographer Michael Latham (Island of the Hungry Ghosts and Strange Colours, MIFF 2018), Buoyancy was filmed on location in Cambodia with a cast of non-actors who lend the work a vérité feel that underscores the real-life urgency of its message.

Featuring appearances from rock sensation Courtney Barnett, local punk trio Cable Ties and Sikh-Australian slam poet Sukhjit Khalsa, No Time for Quiet, from directors Hylton Shaw and Samantha Dinning,joins a group of girls and gender-diverse youths as they discover the empowering strength of music through a GIRLS ROCK! camp in Melbourne. Produced by Pip Campey (Bastardy, MIFF Premiere Fund 2008), No Time for Quiet offers a remarkable insight into contemporary teenage lives, and an optimistic message of inclusion and acceptance.

From Hong Kong to Hollywood, the Shaw Brothers to The Matrix, Kung Fu films have been busting box offices and breaking barriers since the 1960s. Iron Fists & Kung Fu Kicksis the wild story of how the way of the dragon became a global phenomenon.Directed by Serge Ou and produced by Veronica Fury (Electric Boogaloo: The WildUntold Story of Cannon Films, MIFF Premiere Fund 2014), Iron Fists & Kung Fu Kicks
features Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Cheng Pei-pei, Cynthia Rothrock, Jessica Henwick and Australian stuntman Richard Norton (Mad Max: Fury Road), in a sweeping kick of action-packed moviemaking mayhem that uncovers how Kung Fu movies spread from Hong Kong to Hollywood.

Deadpan to its core, A Family is an offbeat comedy that ventures into the home of a lonely man who hires actors to play his parents, brother and sister. The feature-film debut from MIFF Accelerator Lab alumnus Jayden Stevens (Between Trees, MIFF 2014), A Family is set and shot in Ukraine with a Ukrainian cast, producing an Australian film with a decidedly East European bent to its humour, a kind of low-key derangement that grows funnier as it gets weirder.

Rounding out this year’s group of Premiere Fund films is director John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness. The story of a relentlessly optimistic and hilariously forthright girl who hatches a variety of outlandish schemes to make her fractured family happy again. This charming adaptation of award-winning novel My Life as an Alphabetstars Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter), Emma Booth (Hounds of Love), Richard Roxburgh (Rake), Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires) and Joel Jackson (Jungle) alongside scene-stealing performances by newcomers Daisy Axon and Wesley Patten.

“The Premiere Fund champions stories that need telling and we are so proud of this year’s slate of wonderfully diverse and inclusive premieres,” said MIFF Premiere Fund Executive Producer Mark Woods. “With a record number of films on the slate this year, we take our hats off to the talented filmmakers that we have the privilege of working with and we look forward to the Fund continuing to play its part in supporting quality new Australian cinema.”

H is for Happiness

Accelerator Lab alumnus director John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness tells the story of a relentlessly optimistic and hilariously forthright girl who hatches a variety of outlandish schemes to make her fractured family happy again. This charming adaptation of award-winning novel My Life as an Alphabet stars Miriam Margolyes (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Emma Booth (Hounds of Love), Richard Roxburgh (Rake), Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires) and Joel Jackson (Jungle) alongside newcomers Daisy Axon and Wesley Patten.

Below

Ryan Corr (Holding the Man) and Anthony LaPaglia (Balibo) star alongside Phoenix Raei (The Heights), Alison Whyte (The Kettering Incident), Morgana O’Reilly (Offspring) and Zenia Star (The Merger) star in Accelerator Lab alumnus director Maziar Lahooti’s pitch-black comedy Below, with a unique, and uniquely provocative, take on Australia’s controversial asylum-seeker detention system.

Measure for Measure

A reimagining of Measure for Measure, Shakespeare’s play about morality, mercy and justice, into a topical, multi-cultural tale of love and loyalty by director Paul Ireland (Pawno) and his co-writer, the late Damian Hill (West of Sunshine). Starring Hugo Weaving (The Dressmaker), Harrison Gilbertson (My Mistress), Megan Hajjar (Breath), Fayssal Bazzi (The Merger) and Daniel Henshall (Acute Misfortune).

A Family

Deadpan to its core, Accelerator Lab alumnus director Jayden Stevens’ A Family is an offbeat comedy shot in Ukraine that ventures into the home of a lonely man who hires actors to play his parents, brother and sister.

No Time for Quiet

Featuring appearances from rock sensation Courtney Barnett, local punk trio Cable Ties and Sikh-Australian slam poet Sukhjit Khalsa, No Time for Quiet, from directors Hylton Shaw and Samantha Dinning, joins a group of girls and gender-diverse youths as they discover the empowering strength of music through a GIRLS ROCK! camp in Melbourne.

Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks

Featuring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Cheng Pei-pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Cynthia Rothrock (China O’Brien), Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones) and Australian stuntman Richard Norton (Mad Max: Fury Road), Serge Ou’s Iron Fists & Kung Fu Kicks is a sweeping kick of action-packed moviemaking mayhem that uncovers how Kung Fu movies spread from Hong Kong to Hollywood, and spanned Five Fingers of Death to The Matrix and more.

Buoyancy

Accelerator Lab alumnus director Rodd Rathjen’s Buoyancy has its international premiere at MIFF following its world premiere at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival where it was hailed a “terse minimalist thriller” for its portrayal of a Cambodian boy’s enslavement on a Thai fishing trawler.

The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from August 1 – August 18 2019. Discover more here.

Help us continue to bring you more Australian film coverage by making a donation to Cinema Australia below. 

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