Anthony Aitch Monsta Gras 2007 (Photo credit: Kristian Taylor-Wood).

ABC Arts and Screen Australia have backed 10 LGBTQI-filmmaking teams with $10,000 each to create projects to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Each team is tasked with creating a five minute documentary, which will screen on the ABC iview’s Arts channel in the lead up to the event in March next year. Film Victoria has also provided additional production funding support for the four Victorian projects.

“The Love Bites documentaries will invite us into the lives of the LGBTQI community and explore the incredible diversity within the broader Australian rainbow family,” said senior manager of documentary at Screen Australia Liz Stevens.

“At a time when empathy and understanding is so publicly battling with fear and ignorance, the art form of documentary can really come into its own by showing reality without judgement. We look forward to seeing these stories hit screens next year.”

Acting head of Arts at ABC TV Linda Brusasco said the Love Bites initiative will form part of a pan-ABC approach to celebrating Mardi Gras’ 40th anniversary,

Create NSW and SBS have also recently run a similar initiative via Create NSW’s Emerging Filmmakers Fund, backing six shorts which will air on SBS ahead of Mardi Gras.

The 10 Love Bites projects are:

  • Beyond the Mirrorball (NSW) from producer Josh Feeney and producer/director Luke Cornish, that will ask what comes next for the over-50s generation of the LGBTQI community moving on from the disco lights of the party scene.
  • Club Arak (NSW) from producer Alissar Gazal and director Fadia Abboud, which will tell the story of Sydney’s original queer Arab dance party that has for 15 years created a safe space that empowered and encouraged Arabs to gather and celebrate their cultural identity.
  • Dances (VIC) from producer Stephanie Westwood and director Ramon Watkins – an innovative exploration of queer experiences with dating app culture, told through dance and animation.
  • Dani Boi (VIC) from producer Zena Bartlett and director Logan Mucha, about a provocative drag king and how radical performance art can play a role in challenging gender conformity.
  • Desperately Seeking Shavers (VIC) from producer Christina Radburn and writer/director Emmett Aldred, which will look at the role facial hair plays in expressing and actualising identity for Trans and gender diverse people.
  • FEZ (QLD) from producer Jessica Magro, executive producer Kate Paul and director Jermaine D’Vauz – a celebration of the life of Samoan-Australian entertainer Fez Faanana who represents Australia on the world stage in dazzling drag and co-founded the all-male burlesque company ‘Briefs Factory’.
  • Monsta Gras (NSW) from producer Jain Moralee and director Kelli Jean Drinkwater, about one of Sydney’s most legendary art parties hosted by The Glitter Militia, and the feminist political playground that redefines what it means to be queer.
  • Queen Biryani (NSW) from producer Kate Vinen and director Gary Paramanathan, which will tell the story of new Pakistani migrant Ali who challenges gender norms by serving up delicious South Asian cuisine through his catering company donned in glittering saris.
  • Same Same (NSW) from producer Lizzie Cater and writer/director Thomas Wilson-White who will draw from his own life for a documentary about growing up with gay parents, and reimagine the many possible versions of Australian families.
  • Wicked Women: There’s No Stopping Us Now (VIC) from producer/director Anna Brownfield, a history of the lesbian erotic magazine Wicked Women which launched in 1988 and turned lesbian Australia upside down – liberating lesbian sex for generations to come.

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