Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) today embarks on its new 17-day cinematic journey, MIFF 68 ½ – the 2020 online iteration that will see Australia’s oldest and most prestigious film festival made available to audiences right around Australia for the very first time.

Streaming more than 110 films – spanning 44 shorts, 12 world premieres and 82 Australian premieres – the festival’s expansive program features online talks, Q&As, activations and free film program – with special surprise screenings, virtual events and performances set to be announced across the three-week Festival.

Tonight’s Opening Night will be marked by the Australian premiere of US auteur Kelly Reichardt’s
First Cow. Starring John Magarro, alongside Australian expat Orion Lee, this big-hearted, character-driven story of friendship is a contemplative interrogation of the country’s foundational mythology, true to Reichardt’s singular style.

A contemporary reimagining of Peter Pan set in the American south, Wendy is US filmmaker Benh Zeitlin’s long-awaited follow-up to Beasts of the Southern Wild, and will screen as the Festival’s Centrepiece Film.

Closing Night sees Oscar-nominated Chilean director du jour Pablo Larraín’s Ema. A delirium-inducing dance drama sound-tracked by celebrated Chilean American composer Nicolas Jaar, starring Gael García Bernal and striking newcomer Mariana Di Girolamo.

Ticket holders will also have access to bonus content, including virtual Q&As, which will be headlined by some of the program’s brightest filmmaking minds, including Kelly Reichardt (First Cow), Benh Zeitlin (Wendy) and Pablo Larraín (Ema). Elsewhere in the program, Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza will take audiences on the journey of making her devious psychodrama Black Bear; whilst legendary documentary director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) will speak to his new project, City So Real.

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