MUFF X Opening Night - Into The Shadows

Just back from the opening night of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival which was held at the Embassy Hotel (formerly QBH). This is a new venue for this year's festival.  It's basically a hotel bar using a projector to show the films onto a white sheet (you don't get anymore underground then that) and the crowd was probably around the 150 number.

Richard Wolstencroft was the MC of the evening and the screening of the first two shorts didn't go to plan, the first short M.C.G.F.C screening copy contained the filmmakers other short films.  The festival was changing the DVD between each film. This little drama caused the film to be promptly pulled from the screening because after switching through about five of the other filmmaker's films, our programmer (RW) had had enough.

Context (Directed by Stuart Simpson) was an interesting and effective short film with a haunting soundscape which drives the story.  A current affair journalist is stalked to her home by a shadowy figure who is readying for retribution. The film is well executed and the performance of the lead actress (unfortunately I missed her name in the end credits) helps carry the film. Overall, the film was enjoyable but probably a little long.

Into The Shadows (Directed by Andrew Scarano) was great choice for this year's opening night film for MUFF. The current state of the Australian film industry has been kicked around in the arts community and wider Australian mainstream media for a number of years. This documentary took a holistic approach to the subject and gave a historical reference to the industry.  Then moved through the years of Australian filmmaking to modern times. The film then took a look at the films, the exhibitors, recent events and the future.

This is difficult matter to cover effectively in an hour and half but Scarano choices and style has pulled together a very enjoyable documentary.  It's informative but without being too dry. I was disappointed to hear that the a number of the major Australian film festival like (MIFF and SFF) both had chosen to overlook this documentary which is well made and provided a balanced, fair critique of the Australian film industry.

Into The Shadows certainly doesn't leave it's audience in all gloom and doom but introduces the notion that exciting times are ahead and the gate keepers of traditional exhibition/distribution can be bypassed by thinking outside the square. The internet may still be another solution. As the music industry has learned they should embrace new technology and maybe the motion picture industry should take stock. Exciting times are approaching for those that they have the heart and determination.