Melbourne International Film Festival reveals 2020 online program

The MIFF 68½ program will include 113 films from around the world

The Melbourne International Film Festival has revealed the program for this year’s exclusively online program, known as MIFF 68½.

This year’s program, kicking off on August 6 and running for just over two weeks, includes 113 films from 56 countries. Of those, 12 films are world premieres, 83 are Australian premieres and 44 are free-to-watch shorts. Forty-nine per cent of the films included in this year’s program have been directed by women.

The festival will open this year with the Australian premiere of Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow. For its centrepiece event, MIFF will be screening Benh Zeitlin’s fantasy drama film, Wendy. Finally, the festival will screen Pablo Larraín’s Ema as its closing night film.

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Tickets for the MIFF program go on sale from 9am AEST on Friday (July 17) through the festival’s website.

In addition to the program, the festival announced its 14 ambassadors, who include rapper Remi Kolawole, comedian Hannah Gadsby and actor Uncle Jack Charles.

MIFF will partner with television channel NITV to present the documentary Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky, an exploration of the arrival of the HMS Endeavour from a First Nations perspective. The production features performances from Indigenous artists Alice Skye, Mo’Ju and Kev Carmody, among others.

Other music-related films on the slate include Mogul Mowgli, which stars Riz Ahmed as a British-Pakistani rapper struck down by a disease; The Go-Go’s, the documentary about the titular new wave band; and On the Record, which centers on the sexual assault allegations against Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons.

In a statement, festival artistic director Al Cossar said, “I’m delighted to say that, despite the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, MIFF’s ‘radical act’ is to keep going and continue on our mission to bring you the world through unforgettable screen experiences.”

“At MIFF, we are driven by a deep understanding that film has the ability to entertain, inspire, illuminate and empower audiences in a way that few other mediums can – qualities we welcome now more than ever.”

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The festival first announced it would be screening its program online this year back in May, following its physical cancellation the previous month. The films will be streamed on a service powered by Shift 72, a high-end video platform used by SXSW and Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX.

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