The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has today revealed the full line-up of international and local guests set to descend on Melbourne from next Thursday. Featuring Academy Award nominees, the cream of Australian acting and filmmaking talent, plus some unexpected special guests, the festival will deliver 18 days of film, talks, workshops and parties from August 2-19.

Launching the festival in style, MIFF will welcome rising Australian star Ed Oxenbould for the Australian premiere of Wildlife. Oxenbould, who shines alongside castmates Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, will hit the blue carpet for the festival’s celebratory Opening Night Gala at the Regent Theatre, presented by Grey Goose Vodka.

Academy Award nominated writer/director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, MIFF 2010) will present Leave No Trace – her long-awaited return to feature-filmmaking. This humane depiction of the bond between father and daughter re-emphasises Granik’s position as one of her generation’s greatest storytellers.

Over an action-packed opening weekend, MIFF will welcome former Grand Prix motorcycling world champion Wayne Gardner and Donna Kahlbetzer alongside director Jeremy Sims for the world premiere of Wayne ­– the story of ‘The Wollongong Whiz’ conquering the world of motorcycle racing.

The world premiere of Celeste – an intoxicating tale of love, betrayal and Schubert set in far north Queensland – brings with it director Ben Hackworth and stars Radha Mitchell, Thomas Cocquerel and Nadine Garner.

Writer/director Thomas M Wright, writer Erik Jensen, producer Robert Connolly and actors Daniel Henshall and Toby Wallace will unveil Acute Misfortune, the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported adaptation of Erik Jensen’s acclaimed biography of infamous Archibald Prize-winning artist Adam Cullen.

Other guests arriving across MIFF’s opening weekend include:
American director David Zellner (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter) for Damsel – his off-kilter comedy starring Robert Pattison and Mia Wasikowska;
Director/producer Tina Brown on behalf of United Skates – her Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award-winning documentary which profiles the resurgence of the African-American roller rink scene;

Giallo-loving French filmmaking duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, who will be in Melbourne for a festival retrospective of their entire body of work;
Director Gabrielle Brady and subject Poh Lin Lee, who will join audiences for Island of the Hungry Ghosts – winner of the Best Documentary Award at Tribeca Film Festival;

Ted Wilson, writer, director and star of Under the Cover of Cloud – a feel-good film of family, cricket and one man’s hunt for David Boon; and

Documentarian Alexandria Bombach, who will accompany On Her Shoulders – an extraordinary film highlighting the human toll of activism.
Guest highlights across the middle week of MIFF (6-12 August) will include the cast and crew of The Merger – in attendance as their hilariously offbeat comedy has its world premiere screening as the festival’s Centrepiece Gala. Director Mark Grentell and writer/actor Damian Callinan will be joined on the red carpet by cast members Kate Mulvany, John Howard, Nick Cody and Fayssal Bazzi.

Other guests arriving across the first week of MIFF include:
Director Miranda Nation and producer Lyn Norfor, who will be joined by actors Laura Gordon, Olivia DeJonge and Rob Collins for the world premiere of their MIFF Premiere Fund-supported feature Undertow;
Swedish director Isabella Eklöf for Holiday – her immaculately crafted feature film debut about a young woman’s beach holiday that turns unthinkably dark;
Janine Hosking, director of MIFF Premiere Fund-supported The Eulogy – the remarkable and tragic story of Australia’s greatest ever, and perhaps most overlooked, pianist, Geoffrey Tozer – who will be accompanied by renowned conductor and subject, Richard Gill;
Veteran New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly for Yellow is Forbidden – her haute couture Cinderella story of Chinese designer, Guo Pei;
West of Sunshine director Jason Raftopoulos, who will be joined by cast members including Damian Hill and Kat Stewart;
Members of the Karrabing Film Collective, including Elizabeth Povinelli, Linda Yarrowin, Sandra Yarrowin, Lorraine Lane and Cecilia Lewis;

Writer/actor Scott Ryan and cast members Matt Nable and Brooke Satchwell, for the premiere of Mr Inbetween – the episodic TV series that bring The Magician’s charismatic killer-for-hire Ray Shoesmith back to our screens; and

Documentarian Genevieve Bailey and producer Henrik Nordstrom for Happy Sad Man – a disarmingly honest documentary that draws back the curtain on the complex inner worlds of men from across Australia.
The festival’s final week (13-19 August) will see arrival of US actor/writer/director Alia Shawkat. Appearing as a guest of MIFF for the Ethan Hawke-directed biopic Blaze, Shawkat will also participate in a very special in-conversation event presented in partnership with the Wheeler Centre.
MIFF guests appearing during the festival’s final week include:
One of Australia’s greatest rock icons Jimmy Barnes will join director Mark Joffe for the world premiere of Working Class Boy and Q&A – a raw, compassionate and often darkly funny story of Barnes’ childhood based on his award-winning and bestselling memoir;
Director Stephen McCallum and stars actor/writer Matt Nable and Ryan Corr for 1% – international hit from Toronto and Australia’s answer to Sons of Anarchy with a gritty exploration of brotherhood and betrayal;
Director Alena Lodkina and producer Kate Laurie with actor Daniel Jones for Strange Colours – a story of family and estrangement set amid the alien landscape of Australia’s opal mines;
Timur Bekmambetov the director of Profile – a nail-biting thriller that takes on ISIS, radicalisation, catfishing and the insidious lures of extremism, and actor Amir Rahimzadeh;

Director Heath Davis for Book Week – his shaggy dark comedy about a disgraced novelist turned English teacher trying to find redemption;
Filmmakers Thomas Henning and Jonas Rusumalay Diaz, who will be joined by actor Apo Quintao and composer Etson Caminha for Ema Nudar Umanu – their surreal and haunting meditation on life, death and spirituality in Timor-Leste;
Rising Australian director Jessica Leski, producer Rita Walsh and bona fide fangirls Dana and Susan, who will unveil I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story – Leski’s empathetic documentary that explores why we hold pop music dear to our hearts;
Award-winning Australian filmmaker Grace McKenzie for In the Land of Wolves – her exploratory and searching documentary about the inhabitants of a small rural Georgian community;
Richard Todd, the controversial crusader behind Frackmani, returns for Dying to Live – his powerful display of activism about another complex issue facing contemporary Australia: the campaign for stronger organ donor awareness; and
Director Christopher Dillon Quinn for Eating Animals – the Natalie Portman-helmed nonfiction adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s bestseller, which examines the devastating practices industrial food production.
The festival will reach a celebratory conclusion with the Closing Night Gala screening of The Coming Back Out Ball Movie – director Sue Thomson’s life-affirming love letter to Australia’s original fighters for queer equality. Thomson and producer Adam Farrington-Williams will be joined by the eclectic and remarkable subjects of the film as the festival revels well into the night.
MIFF’s industry programs will again offer a series of talks and masterclasses open to the public, this year featuring former British Film Institute and London Film Festival Director Adrian Wootton. Presented by MIFF 37°South Market & Accelerator Lab, Wootton’s appearance will see him present another of his acclaimed Illustrated Film Talks sessions, this time delivering Wootton Talks Tinseltown Trailblazers. Focusing on the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age, each of Wootton’s four two-hour-long sessions will focus on legendary Hollywood performers who broke the mould, achieved worldwide fame and shaped film history.

LA-based developer, writer and lecturer Wendall Thomas will also return exclusively to Melbourne for more of her popular series Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts – unlocking the secrets of film’s script structure through a series of four standalone all-day seminars.

The 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival runs 2 August – 19 August.

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