Celebrating its 65th edition in 2016, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has announced it will open on Thursday 28 July with the world premiere screening of The Death and Life of Otto Bloom – a MIFF Premiere Fund supported debut feature by Melbourne filmmaker Cris Jones.
Starring Xavier Samuel, Matilda Brown and Rachel Ward, The Death and Life of Otto Bloom chronicles the life and great love of Bloom (Samuel), an extraordinary man who experiences time in reverse – passing backwards through the years while remembering the future.
“We knew as soon as we saw The Death and Life of Otto Bloom that it was the perfect way to launch our 65th edition of MIFF,” said Michelle Carey, MIFF Artistic Director. “Not only does it signal the arrival of an exciting new filmmaking talent in Cris Jones, it speaks to so many of the themes that will run throughout the entire program this year.”
Writer and director Cris Jones has long been on MIFF’s radar. He is a 2004 alumnus of the MIFF Accelerator emerging director workshop which he participated in with his VCA graduate film Excursion for which he won the MIFF Shorts Award for Best Emerging Australian Filmmaker.
“To have Otto Bloom premiering on MIFF’s Opening Night is such an honour and a joy,” said Cris Jones. “For me, MIFF is more than a celebration of film. It is a family and a home. The festival has played an enormous role in my journey as a filmmaker, and without the support of the Premiere Fund, this film would not exist.”
“I’m so grateful to Michelle Carey and the festival team for giving our film the best possible start in life, and look forward to celebrating the work of our wonderful cast and crew at such an amazing event.”
The Death and Life of Otto Bloom is produced by Melanie Coombs (producer of the Oscar winner Harvie Krumpet, MIFF ‘03), Alicia Brown and Mish Armstrong for the production company Optimism.
“Optimism is a rather ambitious thing to aspire to, but Alicia Brown, Mish Armstrong and I are ambitious, as is our writer/director Cris Jones and this film about Life, Death, Time and Love,” said producer Melanie Coombs. “We are so delighted that Artistic Director Michelle Carey and the whole MIFF team have recognised the magic of Otto Bloom. To have the world premiere at MIFF on the Opening Night is a dream come true for all of us.”
The 2016 Melbourne International Film Festival runs 28 July – 14 August. The full program will be announced on Tuesday 5 July 2016. For more information, visit: www.miff.com.au for details.
Image: The Death and Life of Otto Bloom – courtesy of MIFF / Optimism