[press release from Mardi Gras Film Festival]

Australia’s number one gay and lesbian cinema event returns to Mardi Gras in 2009.

Bringing together the best queer flicks from around the world, including some top-notch local talent opening the festival with My Queer Career.

Films in this year’s festival cover a range of forms and themes (programming highlights and a full festival program attached). Of those themes four emerge as the focus for 2009.

Join us as we explore your Dreams, Destiny and Deception through this year’s programming. Alongside the three “D’s,” Israel sets the scene for a number of wonderful works this year, with six films of Israeli origin allowing us to explore elements of Israeli culture far removed from the images crafted by media in recent years.

2009 introduces a new feature of the Mardi Gras Film Festival – our Centrepiece Screenings. Four screenings throughout the festival represent core films in our program, and these specific screenings will be used as fundraisers to raise money for Twenty10, Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service, the Stephen Cummins Film Trust and ACON’s Lesbian Health Project respectively.

In 2009 we welcome back, after a long hiatus, jury and audience awards for feature films playing at the festival, made possible by Australia’s major queer DVD label FQ. Together with our sister festivals in Melbourne and Brisbane, we are developing a genuine queer cinema marketplace in the Australian region.

And in a queer screen first, queer parents are invited to bring their kids to the Queer Screen Crèche at Riverside Parramatta. Queer Screen will entertain your kids with children’s programs made by lesbian mothers while you enjoy a film or two.

For three weeks in February expect to be taken on wild adventures and into intimate worlds with the Mardi Gras Film Festival. For closing night expect to get filthy and wise as we bring you the Australian premiere of Madonna’s directorial and writing debut, Filth and Wisdom.

Playing on screens in Sydney City, Paddington, Newtown, Randwick and Parramatta, see www.queerscreen.com.au for all the festival details.