MIAF 2021

A message from Team MIAF

With a sad heart we have to announce the cancellation of MIAF 2021.
Read our full statement.

Your week of BIG screen animation.

MIAF (Melbourne International Animation Festival) is a full week-long animation film festival. See the best new films from Australia and around the world.

Since 2001, MIAF has showcased the art of animation at its most eclectic and inspired, transcending expectations, and doing it all on the unbeatable big screen. The 200+ works on display were curated from 4000 submissions. They feature contemporary and retrospective pieces from emerging and established talent.

Animation requires artistry, imagination, and technical skill. It captivates and transports. See through the eyes of the world’s most creative animators with MIAF.

New details to be confirmed.

What: 19 sessions of animation.

When: 19 – 25 July 2021.

Where: ACMI, Fed Square


  • Individual tickets: $19 full, $16 concession, $15 ACMI Members.
  • 6 Session Pass: $84 full, $66 concession, $60 ACMI Members.
    (excludes Official Opening: Australian Showcase and Best Of The Festival)
  • Festival Pass: $125 full, $99 concession, $90 ACMI Members.

Full program.


Official Opening: Australian Showcase
Nobody shows more Australian animation than MIAF and our annual Australian Showcase is a great way to get festivities underway and bring this survey of great new Australian animation to the big screen where it looks and sounds best. Many of the filmmakers will be there to introduce their new films and the program opens with the World Premiere of master Australian animator Michael Cusack’s brand new, poignantly beautiful “The Better Angels”.

Best of the New

Competition Program 1: Animated Transformations
One of the most unique properties of animation is its incredible ability to morph, shape-shift and transition from one place to another place in ways that are limited only by the imagination of the animator. No other artform and no other visual medium does this with anything approaching the mind-bending capability and fluidity of animation. In animation, if you can imagine it you can show it and this program brings together some of the most astonishing examples of Animated Transitions that we have seen all year.

Competition Program 2: Masters Of Animation
The world of independent animation has its fair share of masters: animators who have spent a lifetime bending the artform to their will. Their work is about as varied and eclectic as it’s possible to be but in common, these master animators have built incredible bodies of work and perfected the ability to harness the infinite power of animation to relocate unique vision from the transcendent  realm of the imagination to the physical dimension of the big screen.

Competition Program 3: Character Is Action
F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that “character is action”. What a character says is one thing but what really defines them is what they do and how they act…. how they live and interact in their world. This – arguably – is as true for a fictional character as it is for anybody standing before you in the real-world here-and-now. But in animation, the worlds that can exist are often so far beyond the norm that they offer licence for the characters that populate them to similarly breach our expectations of ‘real’ whilst remaining true to inner logic of the created universe they have been thrust into. This program showcases a range of films that drive that notion of what an animated character can truly be stretched to become.

Competition Program 4: Stranger Than Fiction
We’ve said it before – in animation, if you can imagine it, with animation you can create it. In the world of animation, anything is possible. The rules that bind theatre, literature or even live action film just don’t apply. This creates an amplified permission path for anybody with a story that just can’t be told in any other form but it also helps that the audience for animation is usually up for the challenge and this program parades a collection of our favourite synopsis-busting animated gems.

Competition Program 5: Dark Hearts
There is a deliciously seductive cruelty and velvet malevolence that purrs beneath the skin and directs the claws of so much fine animation. Whether it is depicting the misshapen internal logic of the psychopath, recreating the darkest horrors no live-action camera was present to capture or Trojan-horsing a vision of darkness past the first line of our defences, animation is an artform perfectly suited for the purveyors of these dark visions.

Competition Program 6: International Mix
When your day job is trying to herd a tiny fraction of the best new animation into a handful of programs that will – hopefully – make some sort of cumulative sense to a trusting audience, there are always a few cats that just won’t go into one of the assigned pens. International Mix is the harbour we try and land this most assorted and diverse bag of theme-busters into.

Abstract Showcase
Abstract animation is the most imaginative of all artforms. To succeed it relies on the most fundamental elements of what an animated film is – movement, shape, colour, rhythm, design and transformation. MIAF has championed this absorbing form of animating since the beginning and our annual Abstract Showcase brings the best, most expressive examples of the artform to the screen.

French Digi: Next Gen
For some time, Supinfocom has been the dominant digital animation school in France. But there’s some new kids on that block and here at MIAF we have been watching them go from strength to strength in recent years. Schools such as Pole3D, Ecole de neauvaux images and ArtFX, ESMA and Georges Melies are sending us showreels that include increasingly complex and fascinating films.
This program showcases the best of this work from the next generation of French digital artists and animators. And as we always do, we’re looking for that essential blend of the power of the animator’s vision, great technique and the most imaginative use of animation.

Late Night Bizarre
It’s back. We dug deep to find the best and this is what you find when you go down that far. Our annual haul of the most pungent pieces that have been slid under our door in the last twelve months. So, sit down, put your hands where we can see them and take in the full bodied aroma of Late Night Bizarre 2021!

Retrospective, Historical, Special Programs

The Pannonia Studio has a fascinating history. Formed in 1951 in communist era Hungary, it produced hundreds of animated shorts and more than 20 animated features – including the classic “Son Of White Mare” by Marcell Jankovics. The animated shorts being made at Pannonia were absolutely unlike anything else being made in communist Eastern Europe. Some of them seemed to offer a surprisingly sharp social commentary and many of them burst with a colourful and psychedelic or surrealist energy.

Pannonia Studio Showcase #1
It’s A Mad, Mad Pannonia World packs in a collection of hallucinogenic chronicles of decadence, irreverent visual analysis of social mores or insightful fever dreams of life in Hungary through the eyes of the artists who created them.

Pannonia Studio Showcase #2
Pannonia: A Certain Drama showcases a diverse suite of films that utilise the unique properties of animation to amplify a sense of drama in all of its many facets and inspirations from the comical – though lethal – excesses of life in a military state to the operatic thunder of century’s old classical music.

Pannonia Studio Showcase #3
Son Of The White Mare – Marcell Jankovics (feature)
Marcell Jankovics‘ stunning 1981 odyssey “Son Of The White Mare” radiates with a refreshing energy, pushing the boundaries of the animated form even by its own hallucinogenic standards. Unfolding like artwork etched into a cave wall and brought to restless life by an unclassifiable spell that only cinema can muster, each scene is imbued with the timeless purpose of people fighting for their land, their rituals, and their very existence. It’s an 85-minute legend told in stunning light and sound, familiar to all and yet transcendent all the same — a mind-blowing journey with a lot on its mind.

“Son Of The White Mare” may be the greatest psychedelic animated movie ever made.


Bonobo Historical
The production and distribution company Bonobo was launched some 20 years ago in Zagreb by one-woman-band Vanja Andrijevic. MIAF was one of the first festivals to invite their inaugural film and we have screened something from Bonobo at almost every year since. Vanya has an almost supernatural ability to spot gifted animators and work with them to ensure they make the best films they can. She is also very good at matching these animators with the best collaborators and she roams Europe making all of this happen. Twenty years in and it’s time to showcase the incredible work of this little powerhouse of a company. In addition to this Showcase of historical highlights, we will also be opening every one of our International Programs with a more recent Bonobo release.

Symphony In Sweeatch: The Crazed Other-World of Dax Norman
Dax Norman clearly has Picasso and Dali trapped in his imagination – and it looks like they’re both fighting hard to get out.
It’s hard to properly prepare you for an immersion into the hyper-animated world of Dax Norman. The approaches and rushes past as a kind of tumbling, mutating surrealist caravan being chased by a predator just off the screen. This is not a parade of animated imagery that screams meaning – it just screams… and that’s enough! Dax Norman’s work is not something that you experience so much as something you let happen to you. The roiling, ceaselessly morphing psychedelic imagery should be exhausting but it’s just the opposite – inspiring, beautiful, bursting with ideas and colourful beyond description. At heart, it’s an explosive expression of the pure, simply raw power of what makes animation different from every other artform.

Animated Docs & Meet the filmmakers

Recorder Queen + Q&A
In a unique collaboration, filmmaker Sophie Raymond and musician Genevieve Lacey combine animation, dramatic reconstruction, documentary footage and live performance to journey into the inner world of a virtuoso and her quest for creative fulfilment. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and the subject of the documentary.

Animating Life: Screening and Q&A with Charby Ibrahim
Join us as we meet Charby Ibrahim, watch some of his films, and dive into the stories behind their creation.

Animated Docs + Doc Panel Q&A
It has been an especially good year for animated documentaries both here and internationally. This program showcases films that artfully and imaginatively employ the fascinating properties of animation to go in to subjects as diverse as the unlikely sexual allure of serial killers, what life was like as a child chimney sweep and how Jimmy Page scored his legendary ’59 Telecaster. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring filmmakers, documentarians and animators exploring the unique creative possibilities that using animation can bring to the documentary space.

Best Of The Fest – Awards Night

Best Of The Festival
It all comes down to this.  Judges have judged, audiences have audienced and the best of the best has emerged. This is the program that screens ‘em. Always popular so get tickets early.