As another Melbourne International Film Festival draws to a close, ACMI Volunteer Pinky Watson takes a look at the festival from a punter’s point of view.
Here is MIFF, from the perspective of a film person. Not a professional or critic, just someone who loves sitting in the dark being taken away from the usual, indulging their love of the movies.
This year, the lanyards around the necks of MIFF passport holders are a reminder of those on the necks of the Olympics’ trainers/coaches/staff that you see on TV when you get home late from marathon MIFF sessions. And yes, the walk/race/sprint up (or down) Russell Street between cinemas is as deserving of a medal, in getting there before doors open, as any Usain Bolt record-breaking attempt.
Whilst walking, resist the temptation to add your opinion when you overhear film conversations. You do, however, have the “best and worst movie” chatter in the queues and the ensuing discussion/argument with your MIFF friends: the ones you only see at the festival. And, if you do see them at any other time or place, you wonder from where exactly it is you know them.
One must always have something to read between films: books, iPads, Kindles, iPhones, the MIFF program. And of course MIFF is an excellent place to read the newspaper.
For lunch or dinner, those in the know have stocked up on bread and cold cuts, and fruit and snacks for the duration. And, of course, there is always wine to purchase.
And then there are the queues. At the Forum these wind out from the building and into the street forcing the MIFF official to loudly ask everyone to move up “so people don’t have to stand in the cold”. Nobody moves. At Greater Union, confusion reigns: queues on the stairs, queues in the foyer, queues on the street. At ACMI, more stairs. However, the lucky few to reach the top are welcomed with SEATING while they wait! At Kino, queues stretch past the fancy shops and on to Collins Street.
Which brings us nicely to the seats. At The Forum, they’re low and lumpy; at Greater Union, much the same, but wider. Kino and ACMI both feature comfortable seats with high-backs for resting weary movie heads.
It’s a treat to have an unexpected Q&A after a film and a pleasure if the ‘filler film’ is better than the ones you actually wanted to see. And that trailer! “Ver iss Melbin anyvay???”
There are festival staff and volunteers everywhere, ready to assist if needed. Some loud (see above), some not. They have lanyards too.
In a few days it will be back to normality. Time to catch up on sleep, talk to your non-film friends and start to think about next year’s MIFF.
– Pinky Watson, ACMI Volunteer