Out and proud, the nation’s largest and longest running celebration of queer cinema is almost here!
From 15 to 26 March, the annual Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), returns for its 28th season with a tantalising smorgasbord of the finest LGBTIQ cinema from Australia and around the globe, screening over twelve gloriously indulgent days at Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Kino Cinemas and Cinema Nova.
Throughout the last two years, the sheer quality and breadth of queer cinema has resulted in what could be termed a ‘golden age,’ with filmmakers engaging audiences through an increasingly diverse range of stories redolent with themes of love, hope, tolerance, inspiration, perseverance and pride.
This creative explosion reverberates throughout the Festival’s incredible 2018 line-up, which promises to entertain, challenge and inform with a program that showcases over 120 films from 18 countries, incorporating 2 World Premieres, 12 Australian Premieres and 21 Melbourne Premieres.
“For our 2018 season we have a superb selection of critically acclaimed features, fascinating documentaries and incredible shorts from countries as varied as Argentina and Iceland, said Program Director, Spiro Economopoulos, “many of which are destined to become future classics. The sheer scope of the themes, experiences and emotions explored through this year’s program is certain to captivate audiences from both within and beyond the LGBTIQ community.”
“For nearly three decades,” added the Festival’s new Executive Director, Maxwell Gratton, “MQFF has been a highlight of Melbourne’s teeming cultural calendar, dedicated to presenting an innovative and consistently entertaining program that celebrates the full spectrum of LGBTIQ diversity. In today’s increasingly challenging world, the need for tolerance and understanding is perhaps greater than ever, so I’m honoured to lead the Festival into the future and build upon its proud mandate to foster a wider acceptance for all spectrums of the rainbow.”
As a precursor to the launch of the full MQFF program on Tuesday 13 February, a select number of films have been confirmed for the 2018 Festival.
From France, director Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys) draws upon personal experience with his pulsating BPM (Beats Per Minute) awarded both the Grand Jury Prize and Queer Palm at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. This thrilling group portrait of Parisian AIDS activists in the early 1990s is a hot-blooded drama, proudly queer in its perspective and unafraid of exploring raw sensuality in the face of looming tragedy.
In Signature Move, Zaynab, a thirty-something Pakistani Muslim, is ‘out of the closet’ to everyone, except her newly widowed mother, who dreams of finding a potential son-in-law. Zayab copes by taking up wrestling, but is flung ‘against the ropes’ when she’s smitten with Alma, a half-Mexican, half-Jewish New Yorker. As these two very different women fall into bed and each other’s lives, notions of identity, familial responsibility and being true to one’s self intersect in this witty, lesbian rom-com from director Jennifer Reeder (A Million Miles Away).
Ellen Page and Kate Mara unite in My Days of Mercy, a powerfully evocative drama about two women on opposing sides of the death penalty debate, who despite differing circumstances and viewpoints, meet and fall in love. Also starring Elias Koteas and Brian Geraghty My Days of Mercy broaches a provocative topic with empathy and intelligence as well as showcasing a career-best performance from Ellen Page.
Described by industry bible, Variety, as “Moonlight meets La La Land,” Saturday Church is a colourful drama filled with rousingly vibrant, musical numbers that follows Ulysses, a gentle Bronx teenager, grieving the loss of his father. An outcast with his peers and misunderstood by his deeply religious family, he connects, by chance, with a group of trans youth who introduce him to Saturday Church, a drop-in centre for at-risk queer teens. Finally surrounded by people who accept and encourage, Ulysses embarks upon a journey towards self-acceptance in this uplifting coming-of-age tale.
Amongst the many compelling documentaries awaiting MQFF audiences this year are Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall and Woman on Fire.
Charged with passion to express himself creatively, whilst simultaneously confronting serious issues, such as gun violence and police brutality, head-on, YouTube sensation, Todrick Hall, is an inspiration to his legion of followers. Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall follows this charismatic, multi-platform artist as he and his team stage a fierce race to mount his deeply personal, original musical, Straight Outta Oz. Involved in every aspect of the production this is a fascinating foray into Hall’s life, recounting how he came to accept his identity as a gay, black man, interspersed with poignantly raw revelations about his fraught maternal relationship and lingering regret at choosing career over his one true love. With this unforgettable documentary, director Katherine Fairfax (Call Me Kuchu) has created an inspirational ode to perseverance and the redemptive power of art.
Woman on Fire is the triumphant, true story of a true American hero; third-generation New York City firefighter, Brooke Guinan, the first openly trans woman to serve in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY).
Director Julie Sokolow’s gentle and inspiring documentary chronicles Brooke’s journey, including her relationship with her conservative parents and the battle she faced in coming out amidst an aggressive, highly traditional male environment with an ingrained heteronormative belief Brooke’s struggles were exacerbated when even the United Women Firefighters, the professional body for the FDNY’s female members, debated for six months as to whether she should be allowed to join. But ultimately, this is a heartfelt look at the shifting face of the American workforce and a stirring portrait of individual courage.
The 2018 Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) is proudly supported by Principal Partner, City of Melbourne, Cultural Partner, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), along with the generous backing of Festival Sponsors Victoria State Government/Film Victoria, Crown Metropol Melbourne and Peter Rowland.
The full MQFF program will be revealed on February 13.
Members’ pre-sale opens February 13 and General Public sale on February 19.
Multi-film passes are now on sale at: MQFF Passes
Visit the Festival website at: http://www.mqff.com.au