Melbourne Queer Film Festival Reveals Awesome Line-Up

Just to prove it’s our favourite time of year, Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has today launched its massive 2017 program, encompassing 135 films from 30 countries.

From March 16 to 27, MQFF will present 94 sessions at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Kino Cinemas and Cinema Nova in Melbourne.

“With this year’s Festival we wanted to showcase the films that have won top honours for the biggest queer film awards around the world, including Tomcat, the Berlin Teddy Award winner, the Iris Prize winning short, Balcony and the Cannes Queer Palm winner, The Lives of Thérèse,” said MQFF Program Manager Spiro Economopoulos.

Executive Director Dillan Golightly adds: “Despite societal developments, the LGBTIQ community is still fighting for rights as evidenced by debates both locally and internationally over the last year. It feels more important than ever that we continue to show queer screen content and bring the community together.”

“This year’s MQFF cinema trailer highlights the transformative power of queer cinema and the Festival in the most spectacular way,” Golightly says. “With the help from a team of artists in Berlin with a passion for visualising data, it takes sound bites from homophobic and transphobic politicians and turns them into a beautiful piece of animation that forms the Festival’s new logo.”

The festival opens with the Australian premiere of I Am Michael (starring James Franco), which is based on the controversial true-life story of Michael Glatze, queer theorist and gay activist who became an anti-gay Christian pastor. The film’s writer/director Justin Kelly will be a festival guest, too – as he showcases another of his films, King Cobra.

Here are some other festival highlights:

In Take Me To The River, Californian teenager Ryder’s plan to come out at his mother’s rural Midwest family reunion gets derailed when a bloodstain on his young cousin’s dress makes the unwitting suspect of abuse and long-buried family secrets are unearthed in this impressive and confronting feature debut from writer/director Matt Sobel.

Arianna is a gentle and introspective look at intersexuality and emotional isolation from Italy, the story of a young woman who, as she becomes more aware of her body and sexuality, also becomes more aware that something may be amiss. Ondina Quadri’s performance in the titular role of Arianna earned her the award for Best Actress in a Debut Film at the Venice Film Festival.

In Suicide Kale, written by actor Brittani Nichols (Transparent) and directed by Carly Usdin, a simple lunch with friends goes awry when Jasmine (Nichols) and Penny, a new couple still getting to know one another, find an anonymous suicide note at the home of the happiest couples they know with hilarious consequences.

Actor Clea DuVall (Argo) makes her feature directing debut with The Intervention, an ensemble comedy which she wrote and also stars opposite Natasha Lyonne (But I’m A Cheerleader) and a top-notch indie cast portraying a group of friends whose reunion getaway goes awry when it is revealed that the trip was orchestrated as an intervention for one troubled marriage.

Highlights of MQFF’s Documentaries program include Freedom To Marry, a tense documentary charting the fight for marriage equality in the US from award-winning filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein, and Audience Award winner for Best Documentary at Frameline Film Festival, Real Boy, a moving and breathtakingly honest, coming-of-age documentary features Bennett Wallace, a 19 year old trans musician searching for the acceptance of his family.

From Academy Award-winning Australian filmmaker Eva Orner(Chasing Asylum) and co-director Chris McKim, comes Out Of Iraq, a moving account of the resilience and strength of love in the face of life-threatening situations. Two Iraqi men meet in the middle of war-torn Ramadi in 2004; one (Btoo) is a soldier for the Iraqi Army, the other (Nayyef) is a translator for the US military. They fall in love only to be separated when Nayyef, fearing persecution flees to the US as a refugee. To be reunited they must fight bureaucracy and prejudice.

MQFF explores experiential cinema with Adult, a short film about motherhood, sexuality and grief, based on the short story Porn 1 by Christos Tsiolkas and directed by Jamieson Pearce. This unique viewing experience is taking place in a specially designed installation at Testing Grounds, Southbank. Each session will be approximately 30 minutes duration and is designed to heighten your viewing experience. Thursday 23 March, Friday 24 March and Saturday 25 March. Free, bookings essential.

A Festival institution (selling out each year), the Australian Shorts package puts the spotlight on local queer filmmakers. All films selected for this program are eligible for a range of awards including the Audience Choice Award for Best Australian Short.

These are just some of the titles and events from this year’s MQFF program. For more information and to view the full festival program please visit mqff.com.au.

Tickets and passes are now on sale.

The Festival will take place 16 March – 27 March 2017.