Melbourne International Film Festival 2024 Will Open with Adam Elliot's New Stop-Motion Animation 'Memoir of a Snail'

Here's the first 24 movies that you need to see at this year's MIFF, including Sundance sensation 'I Saw the TV Glow' and a documentary about Warren Ellis establishing an animal sanctuary.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 06, 2024

Twenty years ago, Melbourne animator Adam Elliot won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Harvie Krumpet. This winter in his home town, he's opening the Melbourne International Film Festival with Memoir of a Snail. 2024's cinema celebration in Victoria's capital will kick off with the voices of Sarah Snook (Succession), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Elvis), Eric Bana (Force of Nature: The Dry 2), Tony Armstrong (Tony Armstrong's Extra-Ordinary Things), Nick Cave (The Electrical Life of Louis Wain), Jacki Weaver (Hello Tomorrow!) and Magda Szubanski (After the Trial) echoing from a new claymation feature, Elliot's second full-length stop-motion flick after 2009's Mary and Max.

"After eight long years, producer Liz Kearney and I are a bit exhausted but thrilled to be asked to be the opening night film for MIFF 2024. It is truly a Melbourne film and MIFF is the perfect place for its Australian premiere," said Elliot about Memoir of a Snail launching this year's festival on Thursday, August 8.

"About Melbourne, made by Melburnians and voiced by Melburnians, Memoir of a Snail is a handmade stop-motion film lovingly crafted by a team of local artists. Opening night at MIFF will be a celebration of their artistry and a celebration of this wonderful city in which we live."

Spanning its usual 18-day run — this year from Thursday, August 8–Sunday, August 25 in Melbourne cinemas; from Friday, August 9–Sunday, August 25 online; and across both Friday, August 16–Sunday, August 18 and Friday, August 23–Sunday, August 25 in regional Victoria — MIFF's 2024 program will include more than 250 titles once Memoir of a Snail commences the annual excuse to spend almost three weeks in darkened rooms. The full lineup doesn't drop until Thursday, July 11, but the fest has unveiled 23 other flicks that'll feature when the projectors get whirring. And if you're a Melburnian feeling a taste of Sydney Film Festival envy to start off June, you'll recognise a few titles.

Sundance sensation I Saw the TV Glow from We're All Going to the World's Fair's Jane Schoenbrun, Hunter Schafer (Euphoria)-starring thriller Cuckoo, the Sebastian Stan (Dumb Money)-led A Different Man and restaurant-set dramedy La Cocina featuring Rooney Mara (Women Talking) are among the movies that'll play MIFF after SFF. So are Frederick Wiseman's (City Hall) Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros, which brings his observational gaze to a three-Michelin-starred French restaurant; the Taika Waititi (Next Goal Wins)-executive produced We Were Dangerous; and the Bundaberg-set Flathead.

While an amount of crossover always happens between each Australian city's major film fest, MIFF also boasts a heap of pictures beyond Memoir of a Snail that'll be making their Aussie premiere — or even world premiere— in Melbourne. Thanks to the MIFF Premiere Fund, which supports local flicks, audiences an look forward to Justin Kurzel (Nitram)-directed documentary Ellis Park, about iconic musician Warren Ellis establish an animal sanctuary in Sumatra; Magic Beach, an animated adaptation of Alison Lester's children's book; and Audrey, starring Jackie van Beek (Nude Tuesday) as a mother who steals the identity of her teenage daughter, who is in a coma.

There's also Queens of Concrete, a doco about three skateboarders balancing been teens with trying to score an Olympics berth — and fellow documentary Left Write Hook, where seven female survivors of sexual assault as children attend a recovery program.

Similarly with local ties: Fungi: Web of Life, which is playing in IMAX in 3D, is narrated by Björk, and heads to Tasmania's Tarkine rainforest in search of a specific blue mushroom. After That Sugar Film and 2040, Australian actor-turned-filmmaker Damon Gameau helms Future Council, charting a cross-Europe trip with eight young minds to explore climate change solutions.

Elsewhere among the just-unveiled flicks, MIFFgoers can check out Blue Sun Palace, which just won an award at Cannes Critics' Week for its tale of two Chinese workers in New York; Didi, the coming-of-age film that nabbed first-time feature director Sean Wang two prizes at Sundance; Grand Theft Hamlet, which is indeed about staging Shakespeare in Grand Theft Auto; documentary Look Into My Eyes, about psychics and their clients from Miss Americana and Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields director Lana Wilson; and Teaches of Peaches, which goes on tour with its namesake

The list already goes on, with MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar dubbing this year's full program "another extraordinary voyage through cinema".

"MIFF is pleased to share our First Glance for 2024, a sneak peek of the program arriving this August — the marvellous visions, diversions, and cinematic surprises coming your way as over 250 films illuminate the screens this winter across 18 days of unbridled binge-viewing."

"First Glance already sees us lifting the lid on some of the most anticipated films of the year, alongside films you won't find anywhere else — bold, thrilling, thoughtful, hilarious, terrifying, and essential new cinema, from Australia and all around the world," Cossar continued.

The 2024 Melbourne International Film Festival runs from Thursday, August 8–Sunday, August 25 at a variety of venues around Melbourne; from Friday, August 16–Sunday, August 18 and Friday, August 23–Sunday, August 25 in regional Victoria; and online nationwide from Friday, August 9–Sunday, August 25. For further details, including the full program from Thursday, July 11, visit the MIFF website.

Published on June 06, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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