Tuesday, 23 December 2008


If you have a pulse and are a filmmaker in Australia, then the Melbourne Underground Film Festival is a point of integral industry contact. Many underground film festivals merely play second fiddle to the larger festivals, but MUFF continues to provide agendas for filmmakers in a country where most filmmakers have profiles equal to unsigned bands playing their local pub for lack of any other bookings. The debates continue with why Australian film continues to suffer. My thoughts on the matter remains with our attitude towards the process, and our tendency to always "think Hollywood", but it is true, if you listen to the ground level debate it has become sterile.

I don't believe the problem lies with the funding bodies, we all know the state will preserve its "brand", just like the big galleries prefer "what they know" when it comes to painting. I see issues lying with the audiences as it is easy to stick one's finger out to tell what the cultural climate is. I also see that filmmaking events are like poetry readings, most of the audience is made up of would-be or actual filmmakers, and so it all ends up eating itself, whilst the real audience are somewhere else doing something else, like kicking a ball around a park.

So I see the solution in the creating of cinema using ideas rather than target audiences and video shelf categorising systems. Disregard the audience or addressing subject matter that one thinks they will respond to. The whole process of doing any sort of artistic endeavor is educating the soul, as Eça de Queiroz would say. You can only chip away at the collective temperament, until the flood gates open, there has to be reason for it. But enough of my amateur pontificating ...

MUFF X begins their call for entries with this announcement:

"We are moving our festival back to winter. We are holding MUFF in direct opposition, and at the same time as the Melbourne International Film Festival. We are going to be their unofficial supplement of Indy, Guerrilla and Underground cinema. We will be their bastard cousin, whether they like it, or not! We will be a Slamdance, to their Sundance. But that’s giving MIFF to much credit. Sundance they are not! We have had it with MIFF, and we will show them by example how to program a festival. We will hound, harangue and pester festival director Richard Moore to get off his ass, and respond to the current industry crisis by action and debate, and to do more than swan around OS festivals on a paid holiday putting together a hodge podge of a festival."

The final deadline for submissions is May 15, but if you get in early there are discounts off the $45 fee through WAB (Without A Box). I don't have a nice MUFF X graphic to accompany this post so I thought instead I would paste a picture of Father Ted kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse because hopefully MUFF X will do the same to our stagnant film industry.

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