This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Melbourne International Film Festival, it’s my 11th festival (yes I was a bit slow off the mark) and it’s also my first festival in a while where I’ll be juggling work commitments with festival sessions. I’ve been fortunate for the past few years to have an accrual of leave allowing me to take the full festival as paid leave, grab a passport and pretty much settle in and develop a vitamin D deficiency while chalking up as many films as I could handle between countless coffees, drinks and chats with films loving friends.
This year I’ve taken a different approach. I decided to put my hand up to volunteer for the festival. Something I’d wanted to do for a while but it would mean giving up on my 60+ sessions. As it turned out, this is to be the year. I’ll mostly be gracing the corridors of the Forum (my favourite Melbourne venue) with one side trip to IMAX.
Last night saw the donning of one’s finery for the festival’s rather lax interpretation of a ‘black tie’ Opening Night. Seeing as only this week I commented on twitter that ‘we really did wear a lot of black in Melbourne’ I opted for a very bright, very girly, vintage frock from the wardrobe. Pity about the winter chill but bright yellow and red accessories it was to be. It’s always fun to dress up for a night.
I only clicked on Wednesday that this year’s opening night film, The Fairy, is the new film by the creators of Rumba (MIFF 2008) which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was another charming little slapstick comedy from directors Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy, though Rumba’s running time of 77 minutes possibly suits their style of film making a little better than the 93 minutes allocated to the The Fairy.
After the screening we all waltzed our way around the corner from the frocked up GU (it’s amazing what a layer of curtains can achieve) to the more fitting Melbourne Town Hall where most flocked immediately to the bars for liquid refreshment. Not boozing for the evening I was able to wait for the masses to thin out then politely ask for a mineral water. There was plenty of opportunity for film chatter with friends, opinions on the film we’d just seen, what we were most looking forward to seeing, if we’d make it to an 11am screening tomorrow etc. After much harassment and no opportunity for a hasty exit without being spotted, I joined the AFI circle for a ‘quick dance’ before leaving. Once you start of course you don’t stop and before I knew it the house lights were on and it really was time to go. Much fun was had and again what a great start to the festival!
Now wait for it, I woke up and booked a film! I saw the King of Comedy this afternoon which was great. There was a big group of us there which made for even more fun. I’m not sure what was better, seeing it on the big screen or Glenn Dunks cackling two seats over.
In other news, my first volunteer session is on Sunday!