The biggest and best film festivals in Melbourne and regional Victoria in 2023

People laughing in the cinema.

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted January 20, 2023

Whether you prefer British films, Spanish cinema, or animated antics, there's a film festival in Melbourne and regional Victoria for you to check out in 2023. 

Lights, camera, action! 

Cinephiles rejoice, for film festivals are kicking off around the state at some of our favourite cinemas and inner-city destinations for the 2023 cinema year.

Victoria is quickly becoming known for its film festivals that rival those of the internationally acclaimed events such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Sundance. 

The state's cinematic calendar is a variety of film festival delights over the year, from those celebrating movies and shorts made in different regions, to short film festivals, documentary festivals, and the renowned Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).  

So, whether you're an animation aficionado, love Scandi on screen, are looking for something for the kids or you're a budding filmmaker yourself, here's all the film festivals to see and be seen at around Melbourne and Victoria this year. 

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Melbourne and Victoria film festival calendar 2023

The Peninsula Film Festival

3 – 5 February, various locations on the Peninsula

Supported by the likes of Russell Crowe and Sam Worthington, the Aussie outdoor film fest features up to 20 short Australian films alongside workshops, food trucks, local wine and beers, market stalls and local produce. 

Make a stay of it at the RACV Cape Schanck Resort.

Europa! Europa

16 February– 7 March, Lido and Classic Cinemas

For three weeks, Lido and Classic Cinemas will be celebrating European cinema. Through film, key speaker and community events, Europa! Europa brings festival and critically-acclaimed favourites to the masses from the United Kingdom to Georgia, Armenia, Luxembourg, Italy and the Czech Republic, just to name a few. 

Melbourne Women in Film Festival

23 – 27 February, ACMI 

As a joint venture between the City of Melbourne and ACMI, the Melbourne Women in Film Festival showcases the work of women and gender diverse filmmakers from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and Pasifika.  

Melbourne Queer Film Festival

February and November, various venues

While the full program for the rest of MQFF will be available around November, a special night of queer entertainment will be held at the Coburg Drive In as part of Midsumma in February.

As the biggest queer film festival in the southern hemisphere, you can bring a carload of friends, family and even your fur babies to enjoy a special screening. 

RACV Members save on tickets to the Coburg Drive-In.

Bendigo Queer Film Festival

19 March, Bendigo

Celebrating queer talent from the regions as part of Bendigo PRIDE, the Bendigo Queer Film Festival aims to 'provide cultural and artistic opportunities to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people living in Central Victoria,' with programs in drama, comedy, documentary, and stories from life. 

And hey, while you're there, don't forget to have a singalong at Bendigo Piano Bar. 

Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

8 March - 5 April, various locations

Ooh la la! The 34th year of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival is back in session, mon amies. Featuring a mix of genres with a focus this year on the classics, French cinema will also be making a stop in Bendigo to bring the French New Wave to the regions.

Pair your movie with a visit to one of the best French restaurants in town. 

Stellar Short Film Festival 

4 May, McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery 

Featuring the top 75 winners from film festivals around Australia, the Stellar Short Film festival encompasses film, food, drink, live entertainment, and music. 

The event is held at the McClelland Sculpture Park near the RACV Cape Schanck Resort, where visitors can roam the grounds’ 2,600 works of art. Enjoy it as a stop on the Mornington Sculpture Trail


Palace Westgarth

Palace Cinemas are home to a range of film festivals throughout the year. Pictured: Palace Westgarth. 


German Film Festival

4 – 24 May, Palace Cinemas

Presented by Palace Cinemas, the German Film Festival showcases the latest Bavarian cinema, including films from nearby Austria and Switzerland. 

With a mix of contemporary releases, kids' films, and retrospective cinema, RACV Members can enjoy their schnitzel and pretzels with discounted Palace Cinemas tickets.

Melbourne International Animation Festival 

7 – 14 May, various venues across Melbourne

With up to 400 films on show, the Melbourne International Animation Festival  is the largest film festival in the country celebrating animation on screen.

Featuring local and international works, previous award winners, forums, contemporary and retrospective works, studio films and new independents, enjoy the silver screen as animation comes to life. 

Cannes Film Festival

16 – 27 May, Cannes, with screenings at Melbourne cinemas

The Festival de Cannes is held annually around May on the French riviera. Featuring a rotating jury, many stars flock to the resort town in France to showcase their latest films, network, sell film distribution rights and compete for awards, the most prestigious being the ‘Palme d’Or.’ 

Some of these films typically make their way to Australia during our own great film festivals, such as screenings at MIFF, during certain national festivals, or before the Academy Awards season toward the end of the year. 

Children’s International Film Festival

May / June, Classic, Lido, and Cameo Cinemas

Featuring a fun range of films for children aged three and up, the Children’s International Film Festival brings movies for kids from around the globe, from a fun range of short animations to feature-length internationals.  

St Kilda Film Festival

1 – 11 June, various venues around St Kilda

Presented by the City of Port Phillip, the St Kilda Film Festival showcases a variety of films from accomplished filmmakers and new talent. Supporting youth filmmakers and filmmaker development, it also is home to the country’s Top Short Film Competition, which qualifies films screened for Academy Awards submission. 

Win 4 x tickets with the arevo journey planner app! 

Armenian Film Festival

June dates TBC, The Lido Hawthorn

Showcasing the best of Armenian film, the festival encompasses film, documentaries, animations, and shorts with an aim to inspire and entertain. Looking to display Armenia's talents for creativity and storytelling, the panel and film makers aim to educate and create open dialogue around Armenia. 

Moro Spanish Film Festival

June - July 2023, Palace Cinemas

The Moro Spanish Film Festival will bring a curated selection celebrating Spanish culture, food, language and film, offering movie lovers a cinematic journey across Spain and Latin America.


Hoyts cinema

Hoyts hold a range of festival viewings throughout the year. Pictured: Hotys Melbourne Central. 


Locals: Castlemaine Documentary Festival

June, Theatre Royale, Castlemaine

The Castlemaine Documentary Festival brings film to the countryside with a wealth of experiences including film, Q&As, live telecasts, and pop-up events. Top off your visit with a trip around Victoria's bustling Goldfields region. 

Melbourne Documentary Festival

1– 31 July, Cinema Nova

Featuring films both in cinema and online, the Melbourne Documentary Festival is one of the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, showcasing both local and international documentaries from established and emerging filmmakers.

With a mix of up-and-comers and some straight from Sundance or Venice, documentary aficionados can choose from a wealth of genres to learn about on the big screen. 

Carlsberg Scandinavian Film Festival

July - August, Palace Cinemas

Looking for some winter viewing? The Scandis put the best of their silver screen forward at the Scandinavian Film Festival, showcasing a myriad of movies from the fjord-lovers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. 

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)

August, various venues around Melbourne

As one of the city’s biggest film festivals of the year, MIFF is a not-for-profit festival showcasing international and Australian filmmaking at a range of cinemas around the city. 

Including premieres from major overseas festivals, prizes, a financing market, a Critics Campus for emerging talent, and the MIFF Shorts program, it has become one of the hottest tickets on the Melbourne cinematic calendar. 

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne

(TBA), various venues around Melbourne

Celebrating Indian filmmaking both in cinemas and online, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne showcases Indian films on themes of diversity and inclusivity. 

Now running for 11 years, it has become the largest Indian Film Festival in Australia and is supported by Film Victoria. 

Multicultural Film Festival

August, various venues around Melbourne and regional Victoria

Celebrating its fifth year and presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission in association with Swinburne University of Technology, the Multicultural Film Festival  features films made by local filmmakers that touch on diversity, multiculturalism and inclusion that ‘identify with more than 270 ancestries around the world.’

Submissions are open to the public, and feature awards, industry Q&As, and a film screening on SBS OnDemand.


The Astor Theatre

The Astor Theatre runs regular festivals and is a Melbourne film institution. Image: Getty. 


Iranian Film Festival Australia

TBA, Cinema Nova

Typically held around September, the Iranian Film Festival is an opportunity to showcase Iranian culture and cinema. The festival features work from film makers around the globe, previously showcasing works to help and develop a better cultural understanding of Iranian life. 

ST. Ali Italian Film Festival 

TBA, Palace Cinemas

There’s no better place for an in-cinema gelato than the ST. Ali Italian Film Festival. Bringing the Mediterranean movie style to our shores, big-screen lovers can laugh, cry and invest in stories and culture at the biggest Italian film festival outside of Venice in the world. 

British Film Festival

November, Palace Cinemas

There’s nothing like a British thriller or awkward rom-com. At the British Film Festival, viewers can expect a mix of big-name releases alongside indie classics and hidden treasures, from vintage footage to Oscar contenders. BYO teacup. 

Jewish Film Festival

December, Classic Cinema

The Jewish Film Festival for 2023 will feature a range of Jewish-themed and Israeli films be released in cinemas and digitally at home towards the end of the year.

Japanese Film Festival

December, various venues around Melbourne

While details are still to come, the Japanese Film Festival has previously been presented by The Japan Foundation, who look to bring stories from the east to the west. ‘J-Film,’ as it has become known, has found popularity amongst its action and animation, while also presenting a range of comedies, dramas, thrillers and documentaries. 

Korean Film Festival

December, various venues around Melbourne

South Korean cinema has most certainly been having a moment after Parasite and Everything Everywhere All At Once  put South Korean cinema on the map. Those looking for more action can head to the Korean Film Festival, which is scheduled to be held around December. 

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