Here’s Your First Look At The Program For The 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival

Featuring Australian gay romance, Jason Segel tackling David Foster Wallace, and Nick Offerman awkwardly holding a cat.

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Thankfully signalling your impending winter hibernation after what was the coldest morning of the year, Melbourne International Film Festival has today given you a First Glance at this year’s program. Though the full lineup is still awhile away, we now have an indication of the kinds of feature films, shorts and docos you’ll be hiding out in when winter decides to blast your face off for reals in late-July.

Here are a few things to look forward to:

A Film To Nerd Out Over

Premiering next month in the US, The End of the Tour is the much-awaited biopic about legendary author David Foster Wallace. Based on David Lipsky’s book about his road trip with DFW, the film will be the first about the writer since his suicide in 2008. It will also decide whether Jason Segel’s post-How I Met Your Mother career will be as a somewhat-respected dramatic actor, or a person who gets mean Tweets from lit nerds for the rest of his life.

A Film Everyone Will Be Talking About

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Holding The Man is a much-awaited Australian production based on the popular memoir-turned-play of the same name. Originally written in 1995 by actor and gay rights activist Timothy Conigrave, the book documents the romance between himself and AFL player John Caleo, as well as the problems they faced with homophobia and HIV. This film — which will premiere on the closing night of the Sydney Film Festival — will screen as part of MIFF’s Centrepiece Gala and the lead roles will be played by Ryan Corr and Craig Stott, with Guy Pearce and Anthony LaPaglia also in the cast.

An Indie Festival Darling

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl took out both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It’s a quirky comedy/drama about a teenage kid whose friend is diagnosed with leukaemia and, incidentally, his parents are played by Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights and Nick Offerman. I realise that’s not the most important point of the film, but look at him holding up this cat:

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An Offbeat International Flick

Tehran Taxi is kind of like a filmic version of Taxicab ConfessionsOr, Taxicab Confessions where the driver is also the director and he’s banned from making films in his own country. This feature actually took out the major award at the Berlin International Film Festival this year, but director Jafar Panahi had to send his niece to accept it because he couldn’t legally leave the country.

A Film With An Interesting Gimmick

Tangerine is a fast-paced drama about two transgender sex workers, one of whom was recently released from jail and tries to get revenge on a cheating ex-boyfriend. But also: it’s the first feature-length film to be entirely shot on iPhones. Word from its premiere at Sundance seems to suggest this is a good thing.

A Film To Get Over Your Post-Mad Men Blues

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Peggy is back in modern times and she is losing her shit. After last year’s festival favourite Listen Up Philip, Alex Ross Perry has Elisabeth Moss back on board for his fourth film Queen of Earth. Here she’s freaking out over an unravelling friendship in a very funny, definitely relatable, possibly terrifying kind of way.

A Doco That Could Really Upset A Lot Of Dudebros

The Wolfpack would be the most woefully misleading film if you went in expecting a Hangover spinoff. Instead, it’s a dark and critically-acclaimed documentary about seven siblings spending their entire childhood cooped up in a New York apartment with their disturbingly controlling parents. It was a big winner at Sundance which is made all the more important/devastating given the fact cinema was one of the only refuges the children had growing up.

A Short Film With Big Issues

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The stand-out of the Shorts program is definitely The Nice House — “a portrait of 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty”. After the murder of her son Luke and the ensuing media focus, Batty has used her story as an impetus to become a leading campaigner against domestic violence. This short film is from recent VCA graduate Louise Turley and gives a face to an important issue the nation are still not paying enough attention to.

A Film You’ve Been Looking Forward To Forever

Three years after its successful Pozible campaign and completely warranted hype, Gayby Baby is nearly here! In the finished product, filmmaker Maya Newell has documented three kids with gay or lesbian parents and figured out once and for all what these children of the ‘Wont Somebody Think Of The Children’ argument actually think about the debate about same-sex parenting in this country.

Something Freaky That Everyone Will Secretly Instagram

It wouldn’t be a film festival without something kind of kooky. In Vertical Cinema, MIFF brings us a program of 10 unique 35mm short films that boldly ask, “Hold up, why don’t we screen movies the other way around?”

All presented on 10-metre-tall, site-specific vertical screens, these works will be things which hover on the boundary of film and visual arts, presented with a soundtrack blasted at “rock concert levels”. At best it’ll be something which redefines the bounds of cinema and opens your minds to the diverse possibilities of the artform, at worst it’s some more cool arts cred we can hold over Sydney when they refuse to shut up about their own festival next week.

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The full Melbourne International Film Festival program will be announced July 8 and the festival itself runs from July 30 – August 16.  MIFF passes are on sale now, but general tickets will be available from July 10. Check out the full announcement here.