We already knew a lot about the first-rate selection of films headed to the festival. It will open with 'Jungle', the world premiere from 'Wolf Creek' director Greg McLean starring Daniel Radcliffe, complemented by Ben Elton's 'Three Summers' at the Centrepiece Gala screening. Other films announced in the sneak peak include the joyful Saturday Night Live alum film 'Brigsby Bear'; 'God's Own Country', a film that has been called "a British 'Brokeback Mountain'"; the superb documentary about the southern hemisphere's largest horror theme park, 'Spookers'; the funny and true tale 'Ali's Wedding' about the son of a Muslim cleric growing up in Melbourne; 'Patti Cake$', the rap film that has everyone talking about Australian actress Danielle Macdonald; 'Mountain', Jennifer Peedom's follow-up to the international hit 'Sherpa'; the heartwarming Aussie indie comedy 'That's Not Me'; Charlie Hunnam's 'The Lost City Of Z'; the racial drama 'Australia Day'; Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner 'BPM', a French film which looks at 90s AIDS activism; a special screening of Jane Campion's much-anticipated 'Top Of The Lake: China Girl'; 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer', yet another film being raved about for Nicole Kidman's performance; a screening of Paul Thomas Anderson's Ocsar-winning 'There Will Be Blood' with a live score from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; and Takashi Miike's gloriously violent 'Blade Of The Immortal'.
With today's full program announcement, even more gems were revealed. Michael Haneke's 'Happy End', which received a great reception at the Sydney Film Festival, will be making an appearance, as will 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or winner, 'The Square', a satirical social commentary from 'Force Majeure' director Ruben Östlund.
There will be a strong focus on Australian films - in addition to those revealed in the program sneak peak, we'll also see the cycling documentary 'All For One'; David Wenham's directorial debut 'Ellipsis'; Melissa George, Ewen Leslie and Ed Oxenbould's romantic tale 'The Butterfly Tree'; 'Have You Seen The Listers?', Eddie Martin's documentary on Anthony Lister, Australia’s most renowned street artist; and 'Hope Road', a story of a Sudanese refugee returning to the country he left to help rebuild it.
Women in film will also have a huge emphasis at this year's MIFF. Classics from pioneering women will be screened throughout the festival, including Gillian Armstrong's 'High Tide' and 'Starstruck', Nadia Tass' 'The Big Steal', Tracey Moffatt's 'Bedevil', Mary Callaghan's 'Tender Hooks', and Laurie McInnes' 'Broken Highway'.
It's going to be a busy 18 days at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival. Tickets are available at miff.com.au from Friday 14th July 2017 (or on presale for MIFF Members from Wednesday 12th July) - so get in quick, because sessions are sure to be snapped up.