In a world where so many multi-task their media with gnawing familiarity, where so many stories congeal into cliché, where films are everywhere but voices are few, it is a wonderful possibility to offer you the off-map and singular experiences of MIFF 2019. Welcome!

There are only-at-MIFF moments, spectacular sights and strange journeys all waiting to germinate through every corner of this year’s program – our 35mm screening of Quentin Tarantino’s hotly awaited Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; the Cine-Everest of the 14 hour+ La Flor; the all night brain-melt of the Goldblum Marathon; the magnetic half-3D noir of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, to name just a few.

We present a series of more-than-Special Events featuring incredible collaborations and cross-pollinations designed to see another side of film. In MIFFxMusic, we co-present with the MSO The Film Music of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, welcoming both in attendance to present a path through their blissfully, brutally beautiful body of cinema work; Hear My Eyes sees neo-soul wunderkind Sampa the Great perform to Céline Sciamma’s paen to Parisian sisterhood, Girlhood; icons of cinema and music meet in Thurston Moore Plays Maya Deren. If that’s not enough to stir the senses, our culinary events with Supernormal will see multi-course banquets inspired by a duo of incredible films within this year’s program.

MIFF is a festival that celebrates the indelible mark of the director; in 2019, our retrospectives foreground the rigour, risk-taking and bravado of three formidable ones in our Directors In Focus series: Agnieszka Holland, whose films urge us presciently to recognise the recurrence of history; the pioneering work of the fearless Penelope Spheeris; and the fever-dream cinephile’s delight of Peter Strickland, in a collaborative strand also featuring his own personal selections and influences.

We are thrilled, also, to continue our work towards making MIFF a more accessible environment, offering a number of screenings for our audience members who are Deaf or hard of hearing, as well as screenings providing audio description tracks.

Headliners is the place to go to see the biggest of the big, the blockbusters of the festival. We present an incredible mix of homegrown talent and local stories within our Australian selections, including seven 2019 MIFF Premiere Fund films. Elsewhere, expect globe-trotting within International Features; an exceptional range of Shorts and Talks, and an exciting lineup of filmmaking guests; we discover utopia/dystopia/calamity in The World Online and Environmental Docs; and Documentary Visions presents directors seeing the real world differently. We look further forward to the boundaries of what’s next in VR; and look back in Restorations, celebrating the return of film treasures from cinema history, ours and elsewhere, to the screen;

Finally and importantly: MIFF is 18 days, together. An opportunity for our attentions to turn outward, to entertain, challenge, contort our brains once more into marathon viewing mode. I welcome you to consider someone else’s story, to invite surprise with your festival choices, to see another side of film this year at MIFF 2019!

Al Cossar

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