The Melbourne International Film Festival has announced that The Sapphires has been selected as the opening film of this year’s edition of the festival which runs August 2-19.

The film is screening in Cannes as a Midnight Screening on Saturday (May 19). The Melbourne screening will mark its Australian premiere.

The feature debut of acclaimed theatre director and actor Wayne Blair, the film is based on the stage play of the same name by Tony Briggs. Inspired by the true story of Briggs’ mother and her family, it revolves around four talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission in the state of Victoria who are branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes.

Festival director Michelle Carey said: “MIFF is thrilled to be presenting The Sapphires straight from Cannes. Not only is this one of the most anticipated Australian films of the year, a Victorian story and a brilliant filmmaking team, the film will leave audiences on an immense high, ready to kick up their heels at what is sure to be one of the most celebratory parties of the year.”

Melbourne will announce a selection of films in First Glance on June 5 and the full programme on July 11.