From cheeky laugh-out-loud comedies, to insightful, honest takes on LGBTIQ life and culture, Queer Screen is proud to announce a diverse, quirky and exciting program for the 21st Mardi Gras Film Festival this February in Sydney.
With ten teaser films announced at the end of last year, today sees the festival’s complete program revealed, with an eclectic selection of classic and contemporary LGBTIQ films from Australia and around the world set to be screened from Thursday, February 13th to Sunday, February 23rd at Event Cinemas George Street.
One of the most respected Queer Film Festivals internationally, and now in its 21st year, the 2014 program features no less than five world premieres, with 19 films also making their Australian premiere.
Mardi Gras Film Festival Director, Paul Struthers, says, “Amongst our program we’re thrilled to have five world premieres at the festival, all of which are from homegrown talent. It’s a special year for the local industry, as well, with Muriel’s Wedding and Pricilla: Queen of the Desert both released 20 years ago this year. We’re proud to be screening both films and celebrating their amazing success both locally and internationally.”
Struthers also flagged some of his must-see additions to the program, saying, “The entire program is full of incredible pieces of queer filmmaking, celebrating works from around the world, but there’s also a few that are sure to thrill. C.O.G. for instance, is a dark comedy and laugh-out-loud funny, especially for anyone who’s a fan of David Sedaris’ books.”
“Born This Way has such truth and honesty to it… making you realise how lucky we are to be gay in Sydney. Don’t be put off by the cheeky title for Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf; it’s one of the funniest lesbian comedies of the last decade! Then there’s Free Fall, which has been called Germany’s Brokeback Mountain. It’s just a hot and sexy film. There is something at the festival for everyone!” says Struthers
In addition to the films highlighted by Struthers, world premieres include Out in the Line-Up, a groundbreaking documentary that shines a torch on the taboo of being a gay in the surf world. Another Australian documentary receiving its world premiere at the festival is Vicky: The Gay Gene Comes To Australia, from Sydney filmmaker Sasha Hadden, about Vicky Gene Robinson, the world’s first openly gay bishop.
Another true – and quintessentially Sydney focused film will be told in the world premiere of Croc A Dyke Dundee, The Legend of Dawn O’Donnell, which tells the story of Dawn O’Donnell, a convent girl turned ice-skater who became the godmother of Sydney’s Rainbow Mile, Oxford Street – the home of the Mardi Gras Parade. A lot of the truth behind Dawn’s legacy has become nothing more than legend. The film explores her incredible history in the Sydney community and will screen as the festival’s closing night premiere.
Also focusing on Sydney will be Zoe.Misplaced, another world premiere helmed by the incredibly talented Mekelle Mills, which is one of the first Australian films in years to feature a lesbian protagonist Zoe, played by the impressive Hannah Raven Smith and filmed in and around Newtown. In one of the many premiere events at the festival, the film’s cast and crew will participate in a Q&A after the screening. The already announced world premiere of Friends of Dorothy, meanwhile, sees prolific photographer William Yang share his personal tales, traversing the history of queer Sydney.
The 2014 program features one of the most fabulously diverse schedules in the festival’s 21 year history, covering a wide range of LGBTIQ issues. Out in the Line-Up, The Battle of the Sexes and The Rugby Player all explore gays in sports, while the hot topic of religion takes focus in Vicky – The Gay Gene Comes to Australia. Bullying takes a heartbreaking turn in Valentine Road, a documentary about Larry King, a 15 year old boy who was killed by another boy at school for giving him a Valentine’s Day card. Larry’s murder made international headlines and brought issues of gender expression and sexual identity of teenagers to the global spotlight.
Films direct from this year’s Berlin Film Festival include 52 Tuesdays, Quick Change and Test, with 52 Tuesdays also playing at The Sundance Film Festival this month.
2014 will also be the first time that a kids film will be screened as part of the festival, with Disney classic Beauty and The Beast, presented by Rainbow Kids and babies.
There will be four short film categories as part of the festival. Mixed Shorts will see critically acclaimed queer short films from around the world, including the debut of Jude Law’s son Rudy Law, produced by mother Sadie Frost. Gay Shorts sees director Travis Mathews screen In their Room: London. Mathew’s previous films have been refused classification in Australia, so this is a rare chance to see the work of the acclaimed filmmaker domestically.
A retrospective best of Bear Men of Adelaide’s Golden Woofs will feature 15 finalists from the last five years and a titillating afternoon of bears of the big screen. My Queer Career, Australia’s richest prize for queer short films, will also return in 2014 with a fantastic lineup of films from around the country. The winner will take home $10,000 worth of prizes, with best film recipient being granted entry into the world’s biggest queer short film competition, The Iris Prize, in Cardiff, Wales.
The 21st anniversary of the Festival will be accompanied at Event Cinemas by a pop up festival bar, which will serve up drinks and entertainment from Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14th, and continue from 6pm for 10 nights. More than just a bar, the crème of Sydney’s Queer scene will entertain, including DJs Kitty Glitter, Sveta, Colin Gaff and Mark Alsop, alongside free talks, parties and events in partnership with community groups.
Presented by Queer Screen, the Mardi Gras Film Festival is Australia’s leading selection of LGBTIQ films, offering audiences a carefully curated program of queer-tinged features, documentaries, short films and retrospectives over eleven days and nights.
2014 will also mark a new partnership between Mardi Gras Film Festival and the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. LA Tourism is proud to be a major sponsor of the Queer Screen 2014 festival and welcomes Australian LGBT travelers to discover Los Angeles as one of the world’s leading LGBT travel destinations as well as being the home of ‘Outfest’ the world’s longest running Queer film festival held annually in July.
Tickets for the Mardi Gras Film Festival teaser films can be purchased at www.queerscreen.org.au
ABOUT MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL
The Mardi Gras Film Festival has grown considerably since 1993. It is now one of Australia’s largest film festivals of any kind, and one of the top queer film festivals in the world. It is highly regarded by filmmakers all over the world, and is the most important avenue for promoting gay and lesbian titles to distributors and exhibitors in this territory.