Footscray icon Franco Cozzo stars in Melbourne International Film Festival

Goya Dmytryshchak

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A documentary about Footscray icon Franco Cozzo is likely to be screened in Yarraville as part of the 69th Melbourne International Film Festival in August.

For the first time, the festival will expand from the CBD into five suburban cinemas, including Yarraville’s Sun Theatre.

Which films are showing at the Sun won’t be known until the festival’s full program is revealed on July 13 but odds are on Madeleine Martiniello’s Palazzo Di Cozzo.

It tells the story of Cozzo’s rise as Melbourne’s furniture king after he arrived in Melbourne from Italy in 1956 as a 21-year-old.

The documentary shows how Cozzo also became a cult figure, famous for sales pitches such as: “Grand sale! Grand sale! Grand sale! Where? In Brunswick and Footscray. Franco Cozzo have the pleasure to present to you il modernissimo bedroom suites, dining room and wonderful lounge.”

A record 11 titles will make their Australian debuts at the festival, including Leah Purcell’s The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson.

The revisionist outback western is the festival’s first opening night film from a female Indigenous director.

Another is Justin Kurzel’s Nitram based on the Port Arthur Massacre and the first Australian film in a decade to premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Thirty two titles have already been revealed, with this year’s festival running as a hybrid event across cinema and digital.

It runs from August 5-22.