ACTION The 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival is officially open for business, calling for submissions from local filmmakers. All shorts are eligible for the MIFF Shorts Awards, which last year gave prizes worth $42,000. Next year's festival will run from July 25 to August 11, a week earlier than this year.
MIFF 2013 will feature world premieres of several movies supported by the festival's Premiere fund.
Among them is Aim High In Creation! from director/producer Anna Broinowski, billed as a revolutionary comedic documentary about greed, gas and the cinematic genius of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Galore, from director/writer Rhys Graham, tells the story of two reckless teenage best friends who share everything except for a single big secret.
And These Final Hours is an exploration of a young man's redemption during Earth's very last hours from director Zac Hilditch. The classic 1978 telekinetic drama Patrick lives again, in a new version that is the narrative feature debut of Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed! director Mark Hartley.
MIFF will also premiere The Turning, in which a range of directors respond to Tim Winton short stories.
Theatre directors Benedict Andrews and Yaron Lifschitz and Bangarra Dance Theatre's Stephen Page will also make directing debuts, as will actors Cate Blanchett, David Wenham, Ian Meadows and Mia Wasikowska (pictured).
PRODUCER TRIBUTE Industry veteran Nick McMahon died last week after a long illness. McMahon spent much of his career at Crawford Productions, most recently as executive producer of the international TV hit The Saddle Club. With Michael Lake, he was responsible for the Australian production of Paramount's Mission Impossible series and was managing director of Village Roadshow Pictures from 1991 to 1998. As a tribute, the Screen Producers Association of Australia, where he served as vice-president for five years, will rename the Independent Producer Award for outstanding up-and-coming producers the "Nick McMahon Breakthrough Award".
LINE OF FIRE The estate of writer William Faulkner is suing Woody Allen, distributor Sony Pictures Classics and 100 exhibitors for what it claims is an infringement on its copyright over the use of a quote in Allen's Midnight in Paris. Sony has labelled the lawsuit as frivolous, maintaining that the quote falls within the fair use conventions. The contentious line is spoken by Owen Wilson's romantic hero Gil: "The past is not dead. Actually, it's not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner." The estate claims that Allen should have sought permission to use the line, which has also been misquoted in the film. The original line reads, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."