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by Nigel M Smith
July 9, 2010 4:58 AM
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Melbourne Film Festival Ripe With Local and Global Talent

A scene from Michael Henry's "Blame." [Photo courtesy of MIFF]

The 59th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) promises to be jam packed event this year with over 200 films screening, a crop of world premieres, and a special retrospective celebrating the work of director Joe Dante, who will be in town for the program. This year's MIFF runs from July 22 to August 8.

Opening the festival will be the world premiere of "The Wedding Party," from Melbourne bred first-time filmmaker Amanda Jane. The film, starring Isabel Lucas and Josh Laweson, follows the Thompson family as they deal with relationship issues leading up to a wedding. Meanwhile, Matt Whitecross's "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll," which played at this year's Tribeca, will serve as MIFF's closing night film.

Another Australian film making its world premiere at MIFF is Michael Henry's "Blame." First screening on July 30, the thriller uses a murder gone wrong scenario as a launching platform for a study of the ties that bond friends. Henry and his cast that includes Sophie Lower, Simon Stone and Ashely Zukerman will all be on hand for the premiere. August 4th will boast the world premiere of another Australian entry, "Summer Coda," from director Richard Gray. Shot in sun-drenched Midura, the drama centers around Heidi (Rachel Taylor) who returns to Australia in search of her family and friends.

From across the Tasman Sea comes Taika Waititi's "Boy," which holds the record as the highest grossing New Zealand film of all time at their country's box office. The film marks Waititi's follow up to indie darling "Eagle vs. Shark." Also making it out to MIFF this year will be Debra Granik, in town to present her Sundance winner "Winter's Bone," South Korea's Im Sang-Soo there to screen his Cannes entry "The Housemaid," and Hindi star Aamir Khan who will make an appearance to promote "Peepil Live," which he produced.

As previously mentioned, director Joe Dante will on hand to attend a tribute to his career, titled Dante's Inferno. Along with screenings of his work ("Gremlins," "Small Soldiers" to name a few), the program will present the Australian premiere of his very first film, the 4.5 hour "The Movie Orgy."

For more information, visit MIFF's official website.

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