The 6th Queer Screen Film Fest hits Sydney screens next month. The full program runs from Tuesday 18 September to Sunday 23 September at Event Cinemas George Street, and includes a free outdoor Rainbow Families screening of the animated film How To Train Your Dragon 2 at Sydney Park, St Peters on Sunday 16 September in the lead up to the festival.
Queer Screen Film Fest showcases a diverse range of LGBTIQ stories across narrative features, documentaries and shorts and the 2018 edition is the largest festival to date, with 29 films from 12 countries, including 15 Australian premieres and a massive 55% of films directed or co-directed by women.
“I’m incredibly proud that Queer Screen continues to champion the work of female filmmakers. The fact that we have increased our screenings again this year, up from 20 films last year, but have also managed to increase the percentage of female filmmakers is quite exciting. Having a film festival with over half the filmmakers identifying as female is rare. It shouldn’t be, but it is and I am honoured that Queer Screen can be seen as doing its part to address this in balance,” says Festival Director, Lisa Rose.
Another key element of the 6th Queer Screen Film Fest is the launch of a brand new filmmaker initiative, Queer Screen Pitch Off, which will see Australian LGBTIQ filmmakers battle it out in a public pitch-off event for $10,000 in short film production funding.
“Queer Screen is thrilled to have a real hand in adding to representation of LGBTIQ films and filmmakers. In the current climate of arts funding cuts, it is so vital for us to offer an opportunity to filmmakers that will see queer films made. This fund, that is proudly supported by St.George Bank will help not only queer filmmakers but it’s also a chance for a queer audience to see themselves represented on screen,” says Queer Screen President, Cheryl Kavanagh.
Amongst the program that includes the Sydney Premiere of George Michael Freedom: The Director’s Cut, there’s a tantalising array of films that cover a broad range of the LGBTIQ experience and there is sure to be something for everyone.
Opening the festival is Sundance Award Winner And Breathe Normally, about a struggling Icelandic mother and a persecuted refugee from Guinea-Bissau who form a delicate bond. Set amidst the sweeping vistas of an inhospitable Icelandic winter and told through the urgent lens of the global refugee crisis, it is a poignant and vital film.
Closing the festival is the star studded Sydney Premiere of A Kid Like Jake by trans filmmaker Silas Howard, who directs Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer and Priyanka Chopra in a very of the now tale about a gender non-conforming child determined to be themselves.
A highlight for the boys is the Australian Premiere of Mario, a powerful story about two professional soccer players in Switzerland, that sensitively examines love under pressure, and what we are willing to compromise for the heart.
Nothing To Lose is one of two Australian films in the mix and is a thought provoking documentary from queer artist and fat activist Kelli Jean Drinkwater that chronicles the making of Force Majeure’s hit dance production of the same name. From open auditions and workshops to a triumphant performance at the 2015 Sydney Festival, it is an inspiration.
For something completely different, how does a documentary full of adorable dogs sound? You won’t want to miss the Australian Premiere of Life in the Doghouse, a moving and inspiring doco about a gay couple who have turned their entire house over to rescue pooches.
Winning the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at Berlinale comes Bixa Travesty, an intoxicating, pulsating and politicised documentary centred on performance artist and inspiring transwoman, Linn da Quebrada. Linn’s provocative work explores gender, the body and what it means to be a queer woman of colour in Brazil.
This is just a taste of what is on offer, see the official site for the full line up. Tickets for all films are on sale now.