thicker than water
Films & Screenings

MIFF Summer Screenings 2024: Thicker than Water - Cultural Connections


Thu 1 Feb 2024


6.30 pm - 9.30 pm


3 hours


Outdoor Plaza

MIFF Summer Screenings - header 2024


The Melbourne International Film Festival returns to Bunjil Place to present some of the best from the 2023 festival.

Presented over four nights under the stars, complete with live performances, Q&A with filmmakers, mouthwatering menu and delicious drinks – this is a cinematic experience not to be missed! 

Tickets are $10 and include a complimentary beverage on arrival. 

These films are unclassified and are recommended for audiences aged 15+. 

The event will be moved in doors in the case of bad weather.


  • 6.30 pm: Gates Open & Pre-film DJ  
  • 7.30 pm: Q&A with Annalise Hickey and Caleb Ribates
  • 8.00 pm: Thicker Than Water: Cultural Connections, MIFF Shorts program 
  • 9.15 pm: Event ends 

Thicker Than Water: Cultural Connections 

MIFF Shorts program 

Become enveloped in this poetic and enthralling collection of local and international award-winning narratives, each influenced by the life and cultural experiences of the filmmakers at the helm. Featuring stories of youth navigating cultural identity in search of belonging, a childhood disrupted by political unrest, and a claustrophobic portrait of an unravelling father-son relationship - they're sure to leave a lasting impact. 



Director: Annelise Hickey (local director) 
Duration: 16 mins 
Origin: Australia (2023) 

A 10-year-old girl becomes newly aware of her cultural identity in this impressive debut that received a Narrative Short Special Jury Mention at Tribeca. 

After her first communion, Mona finds herself caught between worlds: not only childhood and adulthood, but her mixed heritage as a hafekasi, the Tongan word for ‘half-caste’. Inspired by Melbourne director Annelise Hickey’s own experiences, the film’s emotional weight belies its length, accruing pathos in small moments, shy glances and sensory intimacy. It also features immersive handheld cinematography from Matthew Chuang (Of an Age, MIFF Premiere Fund 2022; You Won’t Be Alone, MIFF 2022; Blue Bayou, MIFF 2021) and a heartfelt breakout performance from Izabelle Tokava as Mona, alongside Laura Gordon (Undertow, MIFF Premiere Fund 2018) as her mum. 


Walking - MIFF 2024


Director: Caleb Ribates (local director) 
Duration: 15 mins 
Origin: Australia (2022) 
Language: English, Tagalog with English subtitles 

In this striking meditation on the Australian migrant community, a Filipino teenager follows his mother through the bleak landscape of Melbourne’s northern suburbs. 

Following his distinctive feature debut Anak (MIFF 2022), director Caleb Ribates revisits the theme of disconnected youth with this knockout short – a stylistically dazzling work that confirms the talented young filmmaker as one of Australia’s most promising. Raw and unsentimental, the film evokes the isolation of first- and second-generation migrant communities through the eyes of a Filipino adolescent and his mother, an experience that Ribates portrays through arresting camerawork and tender performances. 


MIFF 2024 - Junglefowl


Director: Kalainithan Kalaichelvan 
Origin: Canada (2022) 
Language: Tamil with English subtitles 

Political unrest fractures the innocence of childhood in this haunting snapshot of Sri Lanka’s brutal conflict. 

In a small coastal village, a girl struggles to comprehend the threat of civil war. Her father’s decision to harbour a wounded freedom fighter in their home disturbs her wide-eyed worldview, forcing her to recognise the violence encroaching on their jungle idyll. Drawing inspiration from an incident in his mother’s childhood, Tamil-Canadian writer/director Kalainithan Kalaichelvan offers an intimate perspective on this tragic chapter in Sri Lankan history.

Surreal and poetic interludes visualise the girl’s imaginative flights from an increasingly harsh reality as she begins dreaming of her family’s passage to safety. 


Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) 

Director: Derik Lynch, Matthew Thorne 
Duration: 24 mins 
Origin: Australia (2022) 

The winner of the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) and Teddy Award for Best Short Film depicts a Yankunytjatjara man’s search for belonging. 

Fed up with life in Adelaide, Derik Lynch returns to Country in Aputula, a remote community in the Northern Territory, seeking spiritual healing. The journey triggers memories of his childhood and of his struggle to reconcile his identity as a queer man, an artist and an initiated Anangu community member. With stunning cinematography, rhythmic editing and a powerful voiceover, the film – co-directed by Lynch and Matthew Thorne – weaves together past and present in a deeply moving examination of homecoming, storytelling and self-acceptance. 


Mon Franco

Mon Franco

Mon Franco is a Naarm-based Filipino DJ and co-curator of Open Seen, a party for and by queer POC communities. Mon explores global DJ sounds, high-energy, fast paced beats, and contemporary electronic dance music that weave into their culture. Mon has played for various events and platforms, from Gaytimes Festival, Midsumma to SYN, Kiss FM, and 3CR radio. She’s played at nightclubs New Guernica and Miscellania, and has also supported local artists Robert Baxter, Srirachi, Mulalo, and Julai. Her energy is rooted in community, youth work and well-being in the arts. 



Annelise Hickey

Annelise Hickey

Writer and Director Annelise Hickey has built a career spanning music videos, commercials, and film steeped in narrative story and tales of belonging. Her short-film “Hafekasi” premiered at NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival 2023, was awarded the Best Narrative Short Special Jury Mention and she won Emerging Australian Director at Melbourne International Film Festival. Being of Tongan and Irish heritage, Annelise has always been drawn to stories about tales of belonging and community. She has an incredible instinct for understanding people and an ability to connect with talent that results in pieces that are honest, compelling and beautiful. 


Thursday 1 February 2024

6.30 pm - 9.30 pm 

The event will be moved in doors in the case of bad weather.

For general ticketing and box office information (including conditions of sale) see our Ticketing services information page.

For accessibility bookings or other box office inquiries please email [email protected] or phone 03 9709 9700.