The longest running regional queer film festival in Australia, BQFF now proudly closes the Bendigo Pride Festival. As well as playing the best queer shorts and features from around the world, BQFF also runs the annual Queer Country exhibition and the Patron Breakfast speech which has been delivered by Anton Enus, Christine Nixon, Rodney Croome, Sue Ann Post, Jason Ball and Ro Allen among others.
Bendigo Queer Film Festival Prize for Best Short Film - $500 AUD
TELL IT TO THE BEES
Academy Award winner Anna Paquin stars in this passionate and heartfelt adaptation of Fiona Shaw’s best selling novel. Set in post war Scotland in a sleepy seaside town, Paquin plays Jean, a doctor (and beekeeper), who has inherited her father’s medical practice. When 10 year old Charlie ends up at her surgery following a schoolyard scrape, she forms a friendship with his mother Lydia, a single mother who is struggling to make ends meet. It’s not long until this bond develops into romance and the women become targets for gossip and bigotry.
The two leads anchor this sweeping and engrossing period love story, giving their plight a palpable sense of desire and urgency.
Dir: Annabel Jankel, UK, 2018, 108 mins
Queering the Script
Representation matters! Fans matter! Queering the Script is an entertaining and eye-opening documentary about how queer females are shown on TV. Between 2015-17, lesbian and bisexual women represented 2.5% of regular characters on scripted TV and 27% of all character’s deaths. Rightly so fans were outraged and with the power of social media, the influential tag #LGBTFansDeserveBetter was born.
Travelling from CleaxaCon (the largest fandom event for queer women and allies) to the Xenite Retreat (a Xena Summer Camp), featuring interviews with such pioneers as Lucy Lawless, Ilene Chaiken, Stephanie Beatriz and Angelica Ross and covering shows including Carmilla, Wynonna Earp, The 100, Xena warrior princess, Buffy the vampire slayer, The L Word, Glee, Black Lightning, Orange is the New Black, Riverdale and Pose, Queering the Script shows the power of fandom and how strong our voice is to see positive images of ourselves!
Dir: Gabrielle Zilkha, Canada, 2019, 90 mins
Aussie Shorts from MQFF
BACKING UP BILITIS
Dir: Abbie Pobjoy, 2019, 12 mins
Seventeen-year-old closeted Jane creates an underground event in the basement of her suburban home, all on the brink of Melbourne's first gay liberation movement.
Dir: Adrian Chiarella, 2019, 15 mins
Mandarin and English with English subtitles
A lonely abalone trader is awakened by a longing he’s never explored before.
KIDS ON FIRE
Dir: Tommy Hart, 2018, 7 mins
A nine-year-old closeted evangelical Christian tomboy must prove her faith by vandalising an LGBTQIA+ sex shop.
Dir: Shannon Anderson, 2019, 12 mins
Upon the retelling of his first relationship as a teenager, an older man reflects on the strength and vulnerability required in both boxing and in relationships.
Dir: Laura Nagy, 2020, 15 mins
Shy Lucy is keen to please her enigmatic best-friend Alice, but when a double Tinder date with two older men turns ugly, she must fight to protect Alice and in the process recognises deeper feelings she has for her.
WE’RE NOT HERE
Dir: Bonnie Moir, 2019, 11 mins
When tragedy interrupts their seaside tryst, the prospect of going public brings two men to a stand off
Dir: Jamieson Pearce, 2019, 13 mins
An emotional exploration of the complexities of ageing. Adrienne and Stewart must care for their ailing mother in the face of an apparent sexual awakening and a strict nursing home policy.
THIS PERFECT DAY
Dir: Lydia Rui, 2018, 7 mins
Jules walks into a music store. This could be the day that changes their life.
Total runtime: 92 mins
Noah, a young guitarist in search for inspiration, quits his tour to return to his estranged mother’s house. Unable to deal with their complicated relationship, Noah seeks distraction at bars and nightclubs. One night, lead by the strong beats coming from a party, Noah enters the community Deaf Centre where he meets Finn, a deaf trans man in the early stages of his transition who DJs and organizes parties at the Centre.
Their mutual love for music unite them. Finn finds in Noah the support and understanding his been looking for. Noah finds in Finn the inspiration he needs for his music and a beautiful relationship develops.
This Australian feature provides a delicate representation of love, respect, empathy and acceptance and features singer Christine Anu in a supporting role.
Dir: Ian Watson, Australia, 2019, 88 mins, MA 15+
Gay Chorus Deep South
In 2016 the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) embarked on a tour of the American South to bring their unique and powerful voices of love and acceptance to an area deeply divided by anti-LGBTQ+ laws. From Mississippi to Tennessee, North and South Carolina, the choir is joined by The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir on a mission to overcome prejudice and fear.
Led by the charismatic Chorus Conductor Dr. Tim Seelig, who was ejected from his Texas Church when he came out as gay, the film follows a number of chorus members who fled the South and whose return brings back many painful memories. Performing in religious institutions, whose doors are often barred to LGBTQ+ people, the choirs are determined to bring the house down with their magnificent voices.
Dir: David Charles Rodrigues, USA, 2019, 100 mins
Studio 54 The Documentary
For 33 months, from 1978 to 1980, the nightclub Studio 54 was the place to be seen in Manhattan. A haven of hedonism, tolerance, glitz and glamor, Studio was very hard to gain entrance to and impossible to ignore, with news of who was there filling the gossip columns daily. Studio 54 was an instant success and a cash cow, but the drug-and-sex-fueled dream soon imploded in financial scandal and the club’s demise.
Dir: Matt Tyrnauer, USA, 2018, 98 mins
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse's portrait becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.
Dir: Céline Sciamma, France, 2019, 122 mins