There have been lesbian and gay film festivals in Sydney since 1978. Initially these were run by the Australian Film Institute. In 1986, the AFI partnered with what was then theSydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, to present an annual ‘Sydney Gay Film Week’during the Mardi Gras festival. The film festival was taken over by commercial concerns in 1991, but still screened as a highlight of the Mardi Gras season.
In 1993, a group of queer Sydney filmmakers, students and others approached Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with a view to establishing an independent organisation whose primary focus was queer film and screen culture. This organisation, Queer Screen, had the central aim of reclaiming Sydney’s GLBTIQ film festival as owned and operated by the community. From that time, Mardi Gras was the principal funding body of Queer Screen, initially with a five-year funding agreement, followed by a three-year agreement in 1998. This agreement came to an end with the 2001 Mardi Gras Film Festival.
The Mardi Gras Film Festival has grown considerably since 1993. It is now one of Australia’s largest film festivals of any kind, and one of the top five queer film festivals in the world. It is highly regarded by filmmakers all over the world, and is the most important avenue for promoting gay and lesbian titles to distributors and exhibitors in this territory.
After fifteen year with his boyfriend, Yoav begins to question what he wants from life in this compelling drama about learning to let go of the past – and knowing when to hang on.
The story of the start of the HIV epidemic in America is well-documented, but this heartfelt documentary on ward 5B brings a new, personal perspective to the experience.
Be a fly on the wall at one very hilarious summer holiday when two later-in-life gents come out to their respective clans at one unforgettable get together.
And Then We Danced sees a beautiful sexual awakening take place in the most unlikely of places – a traditional Georgian dancing troupe. Don’t miss this tender film.
A sometimes grim but gripping meditation on consumerism, mental health, love, faith, and personal tragedy, Aniara is a sci-fi epic that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
In the 1970s, two women co-founded a library of artifacts that speak to the lesbian experience that still exists today, known as the Lesbian Herstory Archive.
Featuring interviews with some of the trailblazing Gay Liberation Front, Are You Proud? embraces intersectionality to explore what Pride means, where it comes from and where it’s going.
Representing some of the best queer short films from the Asian Pacific region, these shorts feature secret rendezvous, simmering romance, pleas for acceptance, and a sexy kinky relationship.
The Best of Mardi Gras Film Festival 2020 Gay Shorts, showcases filmmaking at its most beautifully poetic and side-splittingly outrageous, each story offers a unique perspective on gay existence.
The Best of Mardi Gras Film Festival 2020 Lesbian Shorts captures the experiences of lesbian women from the serious, silly, and even strange!
Set in the Philippines in the mid 90s, this film tells the story of two teenage girls – Billie and Emma – as they navigate the highs and lows of growing up, falling in love, and finding yourself.
Laurel (Nicole Maines, Supergirl) is graduating and moving to LA to crash on her brother’s couch, sample the nightlife and fall in with a group of lesbian vampires.
A modern-day, lesbian Bonnie & Clyde set in Hamburg, Germany. Kiki and Yara try desperately to create the life they dream of, but fate has other plans in mind.
A powerful and striking portrait of three transgender athletes in high school chasing their dreams in a world yet to catch up to them.
This quirky documentary tells the story of Karen and Barry Mason, the married Jewish couple who ran an iconic gay porn store in West Hollywood for more than 35 years.
Without a Tracey is a comedy about a serious crime that’s anything but serious, while Cloudy River is a drama about finding solidity in a life of fluidity, in this Australian episodic showcase.
Director Terrence Crawford digs beneath the surface with courage and compassion to offer hope to anyone who has been touched by the horror of the meth amphetamine drug epidemic.
Sexuality and gender identity collide in this sweeping historical retelling of the life of Enrique Faber, a doctor subject to the most scandalous gender trial in Cuban Colonial history.
As Liza grapples with memories and choices from the past, eldest daughter Karla struggles with whether to pursue her crush on a girl at university, in poignant family drama Distance.
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, Geetu Mohandas’ bold vision has created an exciting new development in LGBTIQ+ representation in Malayalam cinema.
A heartfelt romantic comedy, Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is the first Australian feature to open Queer Screen's Mardi Gras Film Festival in its 27-year history.
This sensual film explores the role of fate and chance in our sexual encounters and relationships. Is this just a summer fling or are Ocho and Javi meant for each?
Voguing isn’t just dance moves, it’s attitude. Follow Lasseindra Ninja and her young crew in French Guiana set about demonstrating their authenticity with love, pride and pure fabulousness.
The second feature from Iranian filmmaker Badi Khoshnoudi, Fireflies is a quietly powerful and relevant film commenting on what it truly means to belong.
As religious freedom is increasingly used as an excuse to target the LGBTIQ+ community here in Australia, this moving documentary about love, faith and resilience, couldn’t be more timely.
In response to a wave of discriminatory anti-gay laws and the divisive 2016 presidential election, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of America’s Deep South.
Bringing together a variety of shorts that explore the experiences of vastly different men, at their core each film grapples with the nature of perception and how we categorise people.
Winner of the Outfest Los Angeles Audience Award for Best Narrative Short 2019, Time & Again is just one from this assortment of shorts about queer women, regardless of how they identify.
Love endures in this stunning, epic romance between two Czech women, Liesel and Hana, whose lives change abruptly when Nazis invade and one remains while the other flees.
Lola, played with impeccable iciness by Valerie Pachner, is torn between two German cities. She splits her time between work, caring for her unstable older sister and sleeping with her boss, Elise.
Connected by a shared reverence for the male form, both clothed and in all its glory, these sexy shorts cover a surprising amount despite their relatively skimpy length.
Zombies, monsters, and ghosts, oh my! Coming out, first crushes, dating, and more all get twisted new interpretations in this often hilarious yet spooky shorts package.
Filmed over eight years, this documentary about a rising adult film star soon becomes a personal story of addiction and survival, with a unique bond between mother and son at its core.
Powerfully impressive and nuanced performances deliver an impactful and authentic story, about questioning your own identity and what it means to connect with other people.
Capturing the experiences of lesbian women caught at a crossroads in life, these shorts reflect how even small decisions can affect others in both serious and hilarious ways.
Lingua Franca is a landmark drama written, directed and edited by critically acclaimed transgender filmmaker Isabel Sandoval.
Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart are forces to be reckoned with in Lizzie, a sexually-charged, feminist take on the motivations behind one of the most notorious murders in American history.
Simmering sexual tension builds to an intense romance between Lucas and Antonio, set against a stunning backdrop of crashing waves and rolling fog in southern Chile.
Join the writer and director of Los Fuertes and San Cristóbal (MGFF16) for an immersive master class on what it takes to direct a personal story.
Dreamy Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians stars as a gay man who heads to Saigon to return his mother’s ashes, in a film that questions how family ties, culture and sexuality make us who we are.
Aussie actress Zoe Ventoura stars as a grieving woman whose life changes when she befriends a young boy with special needs and his beautiful single mother.
Australia's biggest queer short film prize returns with ten films from emerging Australian filmmakers once again in the running for prizes, including entry into the Iris Prize Film Festival.
Forget about RuPaul’s Drag Race and dive into A Night at Switch n’ Play, the New York destination for queer culture and the art of drag.
With a mixture of warmth and intelligence, this doco gives us insight into what it means to be intersex and paves the path for a brighter, more diverse future.
Olivia, a 1951 French classic, tells the time-old tale forbidden romance between student and teacher.
Three fascinating, short-form documentaries shine a light on the LGBTIQ+ experience in regional and rural Australia in Out Here, a new joint initiative between Screen Australia and Network 10.
Alone Out Here
Directed by Luke Cornish | Produced by Mick Elliott, Philip Busfield and Luke Cornish | 22 mins
In a moment of catastrophic climate change, Jon Wright, a gay farmer, is faced with a dilemma. His 22-year commitment to transform the genetics of his herd are pitted against the attitudes of the beef industry, who hold the future of his families 4th generation farm in their hands. Through his incredible journey of loss and survival, we learn what it takes to be true to yourself, at any cost.
The Rainbow Passage
Directed by Cadance Bell | 22 mins
The Rainbow Passage is the love story of Cadance and Amanda. Following a year in their gender transition, this intimate documentary charts not only their personal transformation but the building of a life and community together in regional New South Wales.
Directed by Matt Scholten | Produced by Ruby Schmidt and Dena Curtis | 22 mins
Belonging follows 18- year-old LGBTIQ+ activist Sam Watson as he takes a road trip from Hobart to north-west Tasmania to examine the impact and influence of gay rights activist Rodney Croome’s public fight for gay law reform, which began in the 1980s and continues today.
With this heartwarming follow-up to Handsome Devil (MGFF17), writer-director John Butler has crafted a poignant buddy comedy about learning to look past stereotypes, and finally let go of the past.
From Tokyo’s gay district, to the avant garde party scene – Queer Japan welcomes you to experience the fascinating spectrum that is ‘queer’ in Japan.
Taiwanese marriage equality, long-buried interviews with trans people from the 1950s, and the importance of Lebanese safe spaces, are just some of the subjects profiled by these documentary shorts.
Join Queering the Script on an incredibly nostalgic journey through the last twenty years of queer female fandoms, from Xena Warrior Princess to One Day at a Time.
True love beckons for an attractive Kiwi odd couple in this funny, moving, cross-cultural romantic comedy based on the real life romance of director Nikki Si'ulepa.
Thirty years after its release, Mark Patton, the star of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge gathers cast and crew to re-evaluate its queer aesthetic and enduring legacy.
Love Actually but with queer women – what more can you ask for! Season of Love follows three couples, each at very different moments in their relationship, in the lead up to Christmas and NYE.
A great ensemble cast (including a cameo by Patricia Clarkson) explore the complexities of modern love and sex.
Sequin in a Blue Room explores the exciting and alienating world of hook-up culture, bringing a dizzying world of sex, obsession, and mystery to the screen.
A massive hit in France, this feel-good queer comedy based on a true story focusses on a flamboyant amateur water-polo team striving to qualify for the Gay Games in Croatia.
Jon Hamm narrates this amazing documentary about the talent and tragedy of gay icon Judy Garland, based on the memoirs of Sid Luft, her third husband.
1980s Saigon is gorgeous in this dreamy melodrama of two men finding solace in each other’s company.
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (UnREAL, American Horror Story) gives a star-making performance in this chilling and timely exploration of what people are willing to do in the name of fear and prejudice.
Uptight Todd decides that despite all signs to the contrary, he’s actually a closet straight. Could aspiring actress Rory be the girl for him? So what if he doesn’t want to have sex with… anyone?
Karen Sillas, Zachary Booth and Kristen Renton star in this world premiere screening. An authentic, romantic and heartfelt character study about people striving to be better.
A notorious landmark of gay cinema, this autobiographical dramedy unflinchingly portrays West Berlin’s gay culture of the time.
A love letter to Taiwan, The Teacher explores culture, expectation and how even as society takes huge steps forward, there are still painful realities at a personal level.
Tell It To the Bees will have audiences swooning to the unfolding love story between the enigmatic Dr. Jean Markham (Anna Paquin) and the beautiful Lydia Weekes (Holliday Grainger).
Featuring wonderfully inventive animation and a romance spanning years and continents, Top 3 is a bittersweet comedy about what happens when our dreams don’t quite fit into our reality.
Firmly placing trans people and their diverse lives front and centre, this collection of shorts share a narrative throughline of transgender people reclaiming space for themselves.
Based on a play that started a revolution in Bolivia, Tu Me Manques is an innovative film which turns a deeply personal story into a universal call for love and acceptance.
It’s impossible not to be shattered by the lows and delighted by the highs these four young queer refugees experience as they seek asylum in the United States of America.
Through a mutual love of music from two very different perspectives, a heart-wrenching love story unfolds between Noah, a guitarist from the UK and Finn, a deaf trans man in Sydney.
Adrian Njoko is living the life expected of him in Nigeria, but when his past is exposed he’ll have to figure out the right thing to do for himself and his family.
Katie is faking cancer. In this tense and stylish Canadian drama, her elaborate deception is about to come crashing down. How far will she go to keep up the charade?
When awkward teenager Ezéquiel is approached by attractive, older Mono at the skate park it’s like something out of a dream – but this isn’t your typical coming-of-age romance.