Now in its 28th year, Melbourne Queer Film Festival is back with a diverse line up of films from across the globe. There are 38 features, 72 short films and 14 documentaries on offer, plus Q&As, workshops and celebrations of queerness.
MQFF is continuing to support emerging queer filmmakers with a series of awards. Australian shorts screening as part of the entire 2018 line-up will be eligible for 6 different awards with a cumulative prize pool of $9,500, whilst all feature films and documentaries will be in the running to win either the ‘David McCarthy Award for Best Feature Documentary’ or the ‘MQFF Award for Best First Feature Narrative,’ each of which carries a prize of $2,500. MQFF punters will also be able to vote for their favourite Short or Feature Narrative/Documentary via the annual Audience Choice Awards, both of which incorporate a cash prize.
The festival runs from 15 to 26 of March across ACMI, the Kino and Cinema Nova screens. The full program is well worth checking out, including world and Australian premieres, retrospectives and national showcases, but here are a few of the films we’re most looking forward to.
The festival will be launched with the Melbourne premiere of Freak Show, the coming-of-age comedy based on the novel of the same name. The film follows Billy as he moves to a new school and decides to run for Homecoming Queen, and features cameos from Bette Midler, John McEnroe and Laverne Cox. The Centrepiece Presentation is Love, Simon. Also an adaptation and a coming-of-age story, the film explores the journey of 17 year old Simon Spier as he falls for an anonymous classmate online. Closing night is the Australian Premiere of Becks, which won Best Film at last year’s Los Angeles Film Festival. After moving to LA to be with her girlfriend, Becks discovers she’s been cheated on. Heartbroken, she returns home to the Midwest to her mother and the town she grew up in.
Feature flicks we’re hanging out for include the Melbourne-made ‘lesbian mumblecore dram’ So Long, about life after a breakup and the emotions of new singledom. Angie Black, who had a short at the very first MQFF, has her first feature this year with the magic realist exploration of self and grief in the Five Provocations. Filipino love story Maybe Tomorrow explores the classic tragedy of falling for your straight best friend in the modern context of Instagram and social media flirtation.
On the short film front, Comedy Shorts find the funny in elevator mishaps, Eurovision, finding love at house parties and the ridiculousness of ‘no homo’ bros. Love Bites commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with a free screening of 4 of 10 short documentaries that provide insight into the lives of the Australian queer community plus a Q&A with the filmmakers (the other 6 are available to stream on iView).
Melbourne Queer Film Festival opens on 15 March. For tickets, show times and accessibility information, head to the Melbourne Queer Film Festival website.