MIFF 2020

Melbourne celebrates local filmmakers

Exclusive to MeierMovies, October 20, 2020

The Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival (MIFF) wrapped up on Saturday. In normal times, the town rallies around its local fest, but this year, understandably, the crowd was small. Still, kudos to festival organizers for cobbling together an enjoyable in-person event at Premiere Theaters Oaks in Melbourne, Florida.

The three-day fest is a showcase mostly for local low-budget and no-budget films. Indeed, the fest seems more focused on giving a voice to locals than displaying quality, which is, understandably, inconsistent. Still, some good movies shone through this year, such as Florida filmmaker Kevin O’Neill’s Resemblance and Motherland, a Ukrainian film about the Chernobyl disaster, directed by Colby Blackwill.

The latter film was one of the few non-Florida movies not confined to the “international” block on Friday afternoon. (Strangely, a film from Georgia made it into that block. Not the European country. The Peach State.)

The most interesting aspect of this year’s fest was the outdoor, drive-in event on Friday evening, which featured a weird mix of karaoke, stand-up comedy (from Flip Schultz), multiple documentary-style commercials for craft-beer brewing and an odd assortment of short comedies. It wasn’t quite the “grindhouse” event that was advertised, but the crowd seemed mostly enthused just to experience a film-related event.

Though the festival focuses almost exclusively on short films, three features were presented this year: Steven Shea’s Surviving Supercon, which opened the fest on Thursday night; Lear Bunda’s Intelligent Thinking (Patent Pending); and Nathaniel Menninger’s The Porter: The Untold Story at Everest.

The moral of this blog is if you’re looking for consistently good movies, this is not your destination. But if you’re a Florida filmmaker (especially near the Treasure Coast) and you’re having difficulty getting into larger festivals, this is your event! (There’s even a fun red-carpet ceremony and awards presentation on Saturday night to make you feel special.) Or if you simply enjoy networking, having a few drinks and talking film, the festival is worth checking out.

For more information, visit MelbourneFilmFest.com. And while you’re in town, check out Squid Lips. Not the sea creature’s kisser. The restaurant.

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