A heap of Aussie flicks for 21st Mardi Gras Film Festival



Aussie film lovers planning to attend this years’ 21st Mardi Gras Film Festival are in for a real treat with five feature films and four documentaries programmed to screen. A selection of the films will also feature Q&As with cast and crew members (see below).

My Queer Career will also screen locally made short films all eligible for Australia’s richest prize for locally made short films.

Another point of great interest is that the three new feature films screening have all been directed by very talented, local ladies including Mekelle Mills (Zoe.Misplaced), Sophie O’Connor (Submerge) and Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays).

52 Tuesdays
16-year-old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for gender transition and their time together becomes limited to Tuesday afternoons. 52 Tuesdays is filmed over the course of a year, once a week, every week, only on Tuesdays. These unique filmmaking rules bring a rare authenticity to this emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility and transformation.
Sophie Hyde’s directorial debut is a one-of-a-kind film. The fascinating aspect of this intimate story is the unique form of the story’s chronology. The writers, Matthew Cormack and Sophie Hyde, created the structure before they decided on character and story. Led by the very real performances of the collaborators playing the mother, James (Del Herbert-Jane) and teenage daughter Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), the actors, all non-professional, were given the script one week at a time and only given the scenes that they were in.
Three film festivals later and still no trailer (Ed).

Zoe.Misplaced + Q&A
Like so many other 20-somethings in Australia, Zoe (played by the impressive Hannah Raven Smith) goes to university, leaves her assignments to the last minute, drinks beer, and is already cynical and wary of love.  So what happens when she unexpectedly falls for the one girl she shouldn’t?
This witty and highly relatable film that transcends gender and sexuality goes a long way in showing that lesbians are just like everybody else. Everyone experiences pain, laughter, failure, betrayal – the all-encompassing desire of new love. But what effect does this infatuation have on you and those around you?  Can Zoe balance all of the responsibilities that she has as a student, friend, lover, sister, room-mate and aunt?
One of the first Australian films in years to have a lesbian protagonist, we are thrilled to host the World Premiere of this locally made feature by writer/director Mekelle Mills, with scenes shot in and around Newtown. The cast and crew will be at the screening and participate in a Q&A after the film.

Submerge + Q&A
Jordan (Lily Hall) is living with her bisexual best friend Lucas (Kevin Dee) and slowly drowning under the pressures of university, her job as a research assistant and her family’s desire for her to become the elite swimmer she has trained all her life to be.  When she meets her history professor’s girlfriend Angie (Christina Hallet), sparks fly. This relationship, which has potential to help her emerge from her stress, only compounds it further as she immerses herself in a world of partying, fetish clubs, anonymous sex and drug taking.
A homage to Generation Y and their apparent need to want it all, Submerge  takes a look at the pressure that society, friends and family place upon us to succeed, and the high expectations we have of ourselves. The film has an interesting take on the sexual fluidity of a generation not wanting to label themselves as they look to explore, experience and discover who they really are.
After playing at over 25 film festivals around the globe, this Australian feature film from Melbourne wraps up its run with its Sydney Premiere where key people from the film will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening.

Friends of Dorothy

Croc-A-Dyke-Dundee, The Legend of Dawn O’Donnell + Q&A
Dawn O’Donnell was a penniless lesbian in 1950s Australia. She wanted money, power and sex, but of course it was the dark ages.  All women were third class citizens, lesbians practically invisible. Everything was illegal, licensing laws were draconian, and you couldn’t even get a drink after 6.00pm. Homosexuality was criminalised and demonised, and police brutality was commonplace.
Nevertheless, Dawn stormed her way through Sydney’s gay underworld and built herself an empire of drag clubs, car parks, real estate, bars, steam rooms and sex shops. Dawn married twice, once to a man and then to a woman. The convent-girl turned ice-skater became the godmother of Sydney’s Golden Mile, Oxford Street.  She adored drag queens and many started their careers in Dawn’s pubs – after all, it was the entertainment in one of Dawn’s pubs that served as writing material for Stephan Elliott when crafting Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Dawn was a ruthless businesswoman, but was she a criminal?  Did she run brothels?  Did she commit arson?  Did she murder?  When Dawn died in 2003, the church was packed and a chunk of gay and lesbian history was lost forever. But her legend endures. She was neither a feminist nor a gay activist, but for good or bad Dawn O’Donnell was instrumental in Sydney’s transformation from a sleepy provincial city to one of the gayest cities in the world. This film goes some way to sharing the myth and legend of her life.

Out In The Line-Up + Q&A
We are pleased to screen the World Premiere of Out In The Line-Up, a documentary that shines a torch on the taboo of being gay in the surf world. David Wakefield is a former state champion surfer who ended his career early for fear that his peers would discover his sexuality. 20 years later, the typically shy David is thrust into the spotlight after he publically comes out in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
On the other side of the world, Thomas Castets is setting up the first online community for gay surfers. Together, David and Thomas travel the world from Australia to Hawaii, California to the Galapagos Islands. They meet gay surfers, hear their stories and bring awareness to their unique community. The pair speak to everyone – from openly-gay professionals to amateur young surfers, surf journalists to a U.S. Congressman with a surfer husband. Out In The Line-Up  provides a refreshing perspective on a male-dominated culture that has strayed from its foundation of freedom and open-mindedness.

Vicky – The Gay Gene Comes to Australia + Q&A
Vicky Gene Robinson was consecrated as the world’s first openly gay bishop…wearing a bullet-proof vest.
He was the only bishop not  invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops – but he was also the only bishop that Barack Obama selected to deliver the invocation at the inaugural weekend of his presidential election.
Now retired, the former Bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of the U.S. remains a divisive figure. His recent visit to Australia was controversial – especially his well-publicised encounter with the Reverend Fred Nile on ABC’s Lateline.
This new documentary from Sydney filmmaker Sasha Hadden follows the Bishop’s visit to Melbourne in 2013.  Anchored by a series of interviews with Melbourne radio presenter Dean Beck, his message is clear: that it will take religious people to undo the harm that religious people have done.
As Australia struggles with issues of sexuality and faith, marriage equality and institutional child sexual abuse, this film is an important and timely contribution.


Muriel’s Wedding
Twenty years since its initial release, Muriel’s Wedding  has become a classic of Australian cinema.
Toni Collette plays the charming and endearing Muriel Heslop, an ‘ugly duckling’ who yearns to escape her dreary suburban existence in the seaside town of Porpoise Spit. She daydreams about her very own Prince Charming sweeping her off her feet to an ABBA-laden soundtrack. Inspired by hedonistic gal-pal Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths), the pair embark on a camp, entertaining and life-changing adventure from a tropical resort to the big city.
With an estimably talented supporting cast including Bill Hunter, Matt Day and Daniel Lapaine as Muriel’s hunky betrothed, come join us for a retrospective screening of the comedy classic that launched Toni Collette’s stellar international career, won 4 AFI Awards and introduced a new iconic phrase to the ‘Aussie’ lexicon – “You’re terrible, Muriel!”

The Adventures of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  is perhaps THE queer classic of Australian cinema.
Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp play drag queens who christen a large bus ‘Priscilla,’ before driving it from the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville through the Australian outback where they encounter amazing sights, colourful characters and hostility from homophobic country town residents.
With hilarious and touching performances from the lead trio, stunningly designed costumes and breathtaking cinematography, it isn’t difficult to see why Priscilla went on to win two AFI Awards for Costume and Production Design, inspire a hit Broadway musical and receive endless critical acclaim both nationally and internationally for the past two decades.
Join us for the 20th anniversary screening of this cult Aussie comedy!

For tickets and more information visit http://queerscreen.org.au/mgff/

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