Melbourne International Film Festival cancels in-cinema screenings

In light of the current COVID situation in Melbourne, and with the safety of audiences and staff at the forefront of their thinking, the board and management of Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) have taken the very difficult decision to cancel the in-cinema component of this year’s festival, planned to be delivered from Thursday 12th through Sunday 22nd August. Refunds will be issued to all patrons who have booked tickets for these sessions.

Despite this change, MIFF is committed to the extended delivery of the 2021 MIFF Play program – the festival’s online streaming platform – which has been beaming into living rooms across the country since last Thursday, alongside MIFF’s world-leading Extended Reality program, which is available to audiences, free, globally.

Given the current operating environment in regional Victoria, MIFF’s regional cinema season will continue. Any required changes to the program line-up will be advised through local operators.

On the decision to cancel the Melbourne in-cinema experience, MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar said:

“MIFF’s heart was in a return to cinemas this year, and this is a goal that we have pursued with determination to this point. It is with deep sadness and profound frustration that we must take the step of cancelling our Melbourne cinema-based screenings for 2021.

From the outset of a volatile year, we designed the festival to be scalable and adaptable — a festival that could change with these uncertain times to meet audiences where they are. Despite the duress of this moment, we are proud that elements of our program can still continue; that our commitment to regional audiences will be fulfilled through the delivery of in-cinema programming across Victoria; through our XR platform, global audiences anywhere can continue their season of MIFF’s exciting range of immersive experiences; and, centrally, through MIFF Play we can continue to deliver the very best Australian and international films to audiences not just in Melbourne but right around the country, at a time that it’s most needed.”

For more information about this year’s MIFF program, please head to the official website.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.