One of these years, Cinematical is going to have to send someone Down Under to watch things drain the opposite way and check out the Melbourne International Film Festival. The fest, which opened Wednesday and runs through August 12, has a bonanza of excellent films for fest attendees to revel in. If you live in Melbourne and don't want to waste your precious fest budget on films that are going to open there soon anyhow, Man About Town has a super-convenient reference chart of films that have already secured local distribution. It's a great idea, and hopefully one that we'll see with other fests -- it's a bit of a battle to figure out which films you can see a week or month later in theaters, thus opening your schedule for the films that might never hit the screen again.

The selection of films contains everything from old-news films like Inland Empire and Red Road, to great new documentaries like Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten and A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory, which I recently reviewed from Toronto's HotDocs. But those are on the already-found distribution side of things. The Melbourne Film Blog is posting short reviews of a number of films, such as Kim Ki-Duk's Breath, and the festival's website is posting extra news about screenings and filmmaker chats. Heck, Ethan Hawke will be on-hand to introduce The Hottest State and give a Q&A, something my screening at TIFF last year was sadly without. The fest has only just begun, so if you're itching for films to see during the Aussie winter, I'd suggest checking it out.