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> The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is the largest and longest-running film festival in the Asia-Pacific region. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's top ten international .lm festivals, MIFF has emerged as the leading forum for screening Asian and regional films, and places particular emphasis on the works of eminent auteurs. Last year, MIFF recorded eighty sold-out sessions and an attendance of 178,000, the largest in Australia. In its fifth year under the leader-ship of Executive Director James Hewison, the 2005 festival offered new discoveries and more excitement for Melbourne .lm buffs. Just before its opening, Boris Trbic talked to Hewison and his team about the method and madness behind putting together a major.
James Hewison EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
BORIS TRBIC: This is your fifth year at the helm of MIFF You have made changes in the conception of the festival; placed emphasis on regional and Asian cinema and gradually introduced a number of programs. What is the guiding idea in your work?
JAMES HEWISON: I guess that the sense of being arbiters--ultimately that is what we are--of what goes into the festival, from the various styles, genres, concerns--I think that the vital ingredient for me is a sense of restless energy, inquisitiveness and curiosity, that I don't think one should be either afraid as a programmer to constantly reappraise both where the festival is, but also, ultimately, what the value of cinema is.
During the past five years Melbourne became the 'Australian capital of Asian cinema'.
When I started, I knew very little about Asian cinema, in particular about Korean cinema, and yet now, I guess, we are known for having a substantial Asian section that we really pushed from a content point of view and from a preoccupation point of view. One must not be restrained by our own culture, by our own knowledge. One of the fundamental ideologies of the …