Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is back from August 8 to 25, and its opening night film will be Adam Elliot’s Memoir of a Snail. The Melbourne-born filmmaker won an Academy Award for his clay animation Harvie Krumpet in 2004. His latest stop-motion picture has an impressive cast, with Sarah Snook, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Magda Szubanski, Eric Bana, Tony Armstrong, Nick Cave and Jacki Weaver all lending their voices to Elliot’s claymation creations.

“It is truly a Melbourne film and MIFF is the perfect place for its Australian premiere,” said Elliot, in a statement. “About Melbourne, made by Melburnians and voiced by Melburnians, [it’s] a handmade stop-motion film lovingly crafted by a team of local artists.”

Memoir of a Snail is one of 24 films announced for MIFF so far. The full program of 250-plus films will be shared on July 11.

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Another early title is Sebastian Stan’s A Different Man. Stan won Berlinale’s Silver Bear for best leading performance in the surreal indie film directed by Aaron Schimberg. It’s about a man who undergoes facial reconstructive surgery and then becomes fixated on an actor who’s performing in a show based on his former life. It also stars Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World).

Then there’s Cannes Critics’ Week award winner Blue Sun Palace. Writer-director Constance Tsang’s film is about three working-class Chinese immigrants in Flushing, New York. It takes an empathetic look at the complexities of the migrant experience.

Euphoria star Hunter Schafer and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) star in a weird horror from German writer-director Tilman Singer called Cuckoo. Teddy Award-winning documentary Teaches of Peaches follows the Canadian musician Peaches during her 20th-anniversary tour of the album of the same name in 2022. It features interviews with musicians Feist, Chilly Gonzales and Shirley Manson.

Another early highlight is director Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow. It’s a horror-drama involving a late-night TV show, music by US singer Caroline Polachek and pop-culture easter eggs, including appearances by Phoebe Bridgers, Snail Mail and Fred Durst.

In the 2024 MIFF Premiere Fund – which provides funding to new Australian feature films – there’s Audrey with Ronnie Lipsick (The Breaker Upperers). It’s about a mum so desperate for fame she tries to steal her comatose daughter’s identity. Plus, Alison Lester’s children’s book Magic Beach has been turned into an animated film.

We also like the look of Queens of Concrete – a doco about three young female skateboarders. La Cocina, starring Rooney Mara, set in a high-pressured kitchen in New York. A curious documentary about fungi, voiced by Björk, called Fungi: Web of Life. And Frederick Wiseman’s 44th feature documentary, Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros (which is four hours long!), about the kitchens of three-Michelin-star restaurants in France.

Head to MIFF’s website to see the full selection of First Glance films.

Melbourne International Film Festival runs from August 8–25. The full program is released on July 11.

miff.com.au