Meet the Programmers – a MIFF Members chance to meet MIFF Executive Director, Richard Moore and Senior Programmer, Michelle Carey, face to face, ask questions and hear their experiences in procuring, programming and funding films for the Festival. My thanks to Paul Martin of the Melbourne Film Blog to attend this event as his guest.
If you have perused the film festival guide which was released in last Friday’s Age, you will have flicked through many, many pages listing the nearly 300 films screening at this year’s festival. Given the breadth of what’s on offer at MIFF, Moore and Carey advertise the opportunity for film fans to create their own mini-MIFF that exactly suits their interests and time.
A question was asked how the schedule was drawn up to attract the ‘core’ fan, that of the MIFF Member, versus the younger film goer. Maintaining a balance of appeal was of key importance said Moore. We can witness the many viewing sections of MIFF : in addition to the Australian films and international Panorama, there is the Backbeat (docos on music) and Next Gen (teenage targeted films) sections that invite a wider viewing public. These, says Moore, will hopefully build a loyal following amongst younger folk who will keep coming back to MIFF as they grow.
Building a viable program and maximising the box office, without losing the core viewing strength of the festival, is an economic necessity. Only 5% of the Festival budget is supplied by the government. The rest is from sponsorship and ticket sales.
To that end, the Festival comes hot on the marketing heels of Cannes which occurs in March. Many Cannes films find their way to Australia because MIFF provides one of many convenient stepping stones for releasing films by sales agents, around the world. Cannes in many ways sets the agenda as to what will be discussed in cinematic circles around the globe and having a large contingent of Cannes films in the MIFF program gives the festival added profile and prestige.
Moore and Carey’s “boundless passion and enthusiasm for film” comes through. So to everyone else, program your choices, grab a buddy and get along to this wonderful Melbourne event.