[With less than a week until the Melbourne International Film Festival programme is launched, Julian considers how he would fill out the festival if he was given the opportunity.]
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the Networked section at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Focusing on the changes to human society caused by the advent of the internet, the section is given only five films to work with. Last year’s edition was of varying quality – including one of my favourite films of the festival circuit, Medianeras – but overall it was a disappointing venture. Nevertheless, this is a difficult section in which I struggled to find relevant titles that would not fit better in other categories. Frankly, I think I failed.
Even so, let’s take a look at my selections for the Networked section:
Global Home | dir. Eva Stotz | GER/TUR/USA/MLI/PLE/JPN
Visiting people all over the world, whom she found through online host networks, Stotz explores how the digital has merged with reality and created a whole new way of travelling. Focusing on five very different people – including the founder of CouchSurfing.org – this looks to be an engaging and interesting documentary.
How to Meet Girls from a Distance | dir. Dean Hewison | NZ
Premiering at the New Zealand Film Festival, and with industry screenings in Melbourne already announced for early August, the film looks a genuine chance of playing at MIFF. Following a man who, after a horrific experience, decides to find out everything about a girl before meeting her, this is a peeping tom rom-com that everyone should enjoy.
King Kelly | dir. Andrew Neel | USA
An aspiring internet star who performs webcam stripteases sets out to find her car – filled with illegal narcotics – that was stolen by her bitter ex-boyfriend. Joined by her biggest online fan – a State Trooper – and her best friend, Neel’s feature is a supposed exploration of the YouTube generation.
Missed Connections | dir. Martin Snyder | USA
A low-budget indie with no big names in a romantic comedy that contains the interesting insertion of an online Missed Connections website, proving the world has advanced technologically since 2001’s On the Line? Sign me up! *cough* Despite not being entirely original, this Audience Award-winning feature at the Sarasota Film Festival has received nothing but positive responses since its premiere.
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists | dir. Brian Knappenberger | USA
Looking at the origins and impact of the group Anonymous, Knappenberger’s documentary explores the legitimacy of a “hacktivism” in today’s world. Featuring frank interviews from dozens of former and current members, We Are Legion is not only recommended for those exposed to hacker culture, but also those completely unaware of it. This is a film guaranteed to leave audiences with a number of discussion points.
So that’s what I would have in the programme for MIFF 2012. Have I missed anything? What would you want if you had free reign?