Conflicting accounts have emerged over the nature of funding provided to the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) by the City of Melbourne, said to be worth around $24,000.

MIFF announced its program for the 2007 festival yesterday, which includes a World Stories component featuring indigenous film-making from around the globe. World Stories will be presented in partnership with the City of Melbourne and is the source of the disputed funding dollars.
According to members of the indigenous arts community in Melbourne, the original agreement between MIFF and the City of Melbourne involved a retrospective of indigenous depictions in Australian film, and was to be developed in consultation with representatives of the community.
Sources have told Crikey that no such consultation has taken place, resulting in anger that funding has been provided to MIFF despite a lack of indigenous input to the 2007 program.
However, a MIFF spokesperson told Crikey that indigenous activist, writer and actor Gary Foley had been appointed as a consultant through the City of Melbourne, and that the consultancy was proving fruitful.

Strange, then, that Mr Foley denies entering into any dialogue with MIFF since first meeting festival executive director Richard Moore six months ago. He says the indigenous Australian component of the festival is largely comprised of films from the 2007 Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival but denies being involved in their selection.

Crikey understands that a meeting is taking place between MIFF and the City of Melbourne this afternoon to further discuss the terms of the funding agreement.

A representative from the City of Melbourne declined Crikey’s invitation to comment.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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