Some friends have been curious about my MIFF experience so here’s an idea of what my days are like. It’s quite a solitary experience which is part of its charm for me. I like being able to choose only the films I want to see and to be able to change my mind at the last minute. It’s a freedom that we don’t always have in our busy lives.
This year I stayed in our flat in the inner northern suburbs and travelled in by train or tram. Most days my first film would be at 1.30 or 4pm so the morning would be mine to wake at a decent hour, make myself breakfast with some of Melbourne’s excellent bread and post reviews.
I write the reviews in a notebook I carry, often while waiting for the next film to start or on the tram going home. I then dictate the review into WordPress using my phone then manually correct the creative spelling and misheard phrases. The rest is completed on my laptop back at the flat; I add an image and star rating icon, add tags and categories, type in the names of actors and fix spacing and typos. This year I have scheduled the posts so they appear at 6-8 hour intervals. All images were kindly provided by MIFF publicity.
Coffee in hand and ready for my first film of the day, it usually means queueing but the member priority queue is always shorter and goes in first. It’s a good opportunity to chat to the volunteers who scan your ticket and sometimes the people around you.
Once in, I usually know which seat is my preference – at the back and on an aisle for trouble free exits – and head straight there and dump bag and coat. There is usually still half an hour before the film starts so I will go to the loo, get food, check out the onscreen tweets and catch up with review writing.
I’m usually one to stay until the end of the credits but there’s not much time between sessions so, if I have to hoof it across the CBD to the next venue, I’ll leave as soon as they start. The best is when you have back to backs in one venue and you can stay in your seat and relax.
This year I tended to bring my own snacks rather than eat out as most of my sessions were consecutive. The exceptions were the hot soup from the upstairs bar at the Forum which kept me going many times and a few sessions at the ACMI Cafe and Bar. I tried out the moodily lit Festival Lounge at the Forum and treated myself one afternoon to a fancy lunch at Supernormal.
Most nights I was home around midnight. In previous years I have caught some of the 11.30 horror sessions but not this year. I tried to keep it to three films a day but had a few four film days and one day off to recuperate after the first week.
For those of you who think that three or four films a day is a lot, I chatted to several people who see 70, 80 or more than 90 films over the festival. I don’t have the stamina for that, not if I am reviewing the films as well. Fifty is just right.