Set to take place from August 1 to 18, MIFF is the leading film festival in Australia and one of the world’s oldest film festivals, alongside Cannes and Berlin.

In yesterday’s announcement, festival organisers revealed this year’s three gala films.

The Opening Night Gala will host the world premiere of the new documentary The Australian Dream, which explores Australia’s uneasy relationship with race and identity through the eyes of AFL star Adam Goodes.

For the Centrepiece Gala, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o plays a zombie-killing kindergarten teacher in the black comedy Little Monsters.

The Family Gala will feature the premiere of H Is for Happiness, a heart-warming film about a quirky young girl trying to mend her broken family, based on Barry Jonsberg’s Australian young-adult novel, My Life as an Alphabet.

The sneak peek of the program also included acclaimed Italian director Roberto Minervini’s latest film, What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?

Having taken home four awards at the Venice Film Festival, the film is an exquisite portrait of life in New Orleans and the people making their way on the black side of America’s race divide.

Named after a slave-era spiritual, What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? sees Minervini turning his richly humane eye to the street-level realities of black life in New Orleans.

Unfolding over the course of a summer, Minervini’s film offers viewers four glimpses into the city’s psyche: larger-than-life Judy, a recovering addict and bar owner who’s holding her community together; young brothers Ronaldo and Titus, coming to grips with a world that views them as dangerous; Kevin, a proud Mardi Gras chief defending a fading tradition; and the New Black Panthers, taking a stand against police brutality and black injustice.

MIFF also announced this year’s edition will extend to new venues, including Capitol Theatre, Plenary at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Auditorium and Carlton’s Cinema Nova.

The festival’s full program drops on July 9, and you can start booking general sessions from July 12.

Tickets to the Opening Night, Centrepiece and Family Gala events are on sale now.

For more information, visit the festival’s website.

The first announcement of this year’s MIFF program in full:

World Premieres 

Angel of Mine (Australia) 
H Is for Happiness (Australia) 
The Australian Dream (Australia/UK)

Australian Premieres 

Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Denmark) 
La Flor (Argentina) 
Little Monsters (Australia) 
Mr. Jones (UK / Poland / Ukraine) 
Official Secrets (USA / UK) 
The Art of Self-Defense (USA) 
The Rest (Germany) 
Watergate (USA) 
Watson (USA) 
We Are Little Zombies (Japan) 
What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (Italy/USA/France) 
Working Woman (Israel) 

Victorian Premieres

A Dog Called Money (Ireland/UK)
Animals (UK/Ireland/Australia) 
Aquarela (Denmark/Germany/UK)
Come to Daddy (New Zealand/Canada/Ireland/USA) 
In Fabric (UK)
In My Blood It Runs (Australia)
Judy & Punch (Australia)
Monos (Colombia/Argentina/Netherlands/Germany/Sweden/Uruguay)
Ray & Liz (UK)
Sátántangó (Hungary/Germany/Switzerland) 
The Souvenir (UK)
The Waiting Room (Australia)
Untouchable (Taiwan)
Your Face (Taiwan)