MIFF XR Commission 2022: Line-Up

The Melbourne International Film Festival is pleased to announce that local artists and long-time collaborators Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine have been awarded its inaugural MIFF XR Commission, supported and developed by artist and philanthropist Ling Ang.

Knowles and Sowerwine have written, directed and animated Line-Up, a series of augmented reality (AR) experiences celebrating the energy, connection and intimacy of the MIFF queue – a hallowed space where the film community interacts in fevered anticipation during the festival.

A key project within MIFF’s 70th-anniversary program, Line-Up will introduce audiences to animated cinema-goers who take the form of fruit bats – Melbourne’s beloved creatures of the night, which flock deliberately into the skies in parallel with the nocturnal rhythms of MIFF audiences.

Line-Up will blend the present-day physical world of festival audiences with an animated, uncanny reinterpretation of MIFF, imaginatively brought to life on the screen through AR by Knowles and Sowerwine. Featuring seven short films – derived from interviews conducted with a diverse selection of MIFF patrons, volunteers and employees – and an eighth experience inviting an audience response, Line-Up will allow punters to interact with the animated fruit bats through the Line-Up app and via signage and access points at all physical locations across the festival. An accompanying virtual reality (VR) version will also be available to play in the MIFF XR platform.

“We feel very fortunate to be supported in our practice experimenting with innovative and meaningful storytelling via this commission. We can’t wait to see audiences experience our animated AR stories and hope that our work invites connection between patrons as they interact with our stories and each other.”
– Isobel Knowles
“We are thrilled that MIFF and Ling Ang have provided this inspiring opportunity for creative practitioners – such opportunities are much needed in the arts, especially right now.”
– Van Sowerwine

MIFF XR – the first of its kind in Australia – is an extended reality program that encompasses AR and VR; the program reflects and represents the very best of emergent 360-degree and interactive filmmaking, and challenges filmmakers to think and create in new ways. Through the MIFF XR commission, audiences can expect a one-of-a-kind AR work that shines a light on Melbourne as well as the festival’s long-established connection with its audiences, volunteers and filmmakers.

“MIFF’s array of VR/XR programming has looked to the future since its festival introduction in 2016. Our collaboration with the incredible Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine this year will now use AR to tell the history of the festival itself in a way that only this medium could. As much as we want to rush back into in cinemas in 2022, Line-Up makes clear that the queue is also one of the most interesting places to be!”
– Al Cossar, MIFF Artistic Director

“MIFF’s 70th edition is a momentous occasion, so it’s exciting to be able to help the festival develop its inaugural XR Commission and look to the future. Van and Isobel have been animating stories across all kinds of mediums over the last two decades. For this commission, their artistry is being translated into a fun and interactive AR project, exploring the weird and wonderful stories from the MIFF queue. It will be triggered in venues, online and within MIFF’s XR Gallery. Step-by-step, I hope this project inspires more audiences and filmmakers to embrace the visceral pleasures of interactive storytelling.”
– Ling Ang, Major Supporter, MIFF XR


Line-Up is supported and made possible via an $80,000 grant from artist and philanthropist Ling Ang.

Written, directed and animated by Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine.

A Film Camp production in association with Art Processors.

MIFF XR is an extended reality program that encompasses augmented reality and virtual reality; the program reflects and represents the very best of emergent 360-degree and interactive filmmaking.

Art Processors“ style=