The lineup for the 30th anniversary of Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival—running February 15th until March 2nd, 2023—has just been announced including several world and Australian premieres. A total of 166 films will screen over 16 days in cinemas, outdoors, and on demand at home alongside a program of panel discussions, workshops, industry networking events, and parties.
Kicking things off is the Australian premiere of Of An Age. Rising star Goran Stolevski’s film features Thom Green (Dance Academy) and Elias Anton (Barracuda) in a coming-of-age romance about a Serbian-Australian teen developing intense feelings for his friend’s older brother. The Closing Night film is The Venus Effect, a Dutch romance about two women daring to love each other and themselves.
World premieres include Trans Glamoré, a recipient of the Queer Screen Completion Fund. The documentary follows transgender DJ Victoria Anthony as she perseveres through COVID’s challenges to organize a unique and stunning show for trans women, created by trans women. Another World Premiere is The Winner Takes It All, featuring much-loved Australian drag queen Maxi Shield. This camp comedy, made by an almost entirely LGBTIQ+ team, sees a wealthy socialite take justice into her own hands when she discovers her ex-gigolo husband is cheating on her, taking her best friend along for the ride. Cue the drama!
MGFF 2023 will present a retrospective of the pioneering Australian filmmaker Stephen Cummins, as well as screen a new documentary by Andrew Mercado (as previewed in our exclusive interview) about Australia’s bold and camp 1970s series Number 96. Plus there’s a documentary about politician Bob Brown; a man truly ahead of the national conversation about the climate and gay rights in Australia.
Festival director Lisa Rose reflects on this anniversary edition, “Formed in 1993 by a group of queer filmmakers and curators to affect positive change in film culture in Australia, we at Queer Screen are incredibly proud of our impact. This year we are so excited to honour those trailblazers who shaped queer storytelling on the screen as well as introducing the best of global contemporary filmmaking to our local and international audiences in our largest festival for over a decade”.
The wide-ranging program includes a number of The Queer Review‘s recent favourite LGBTQ+ features, including Framing Agnes, You Can Live Forever, All Man: The International Male Story, The Inspection and Lonesome. Returning to Sydney screens are In From The Side and The Longest Weekend, plus Matthew Marchus’ 2014 hit Pride and Hettie MacDonald’s 1996 classic Beautiful Thing. More advance reviews will be dropping in the coming weeks ahead of the festival.
Other MGFF 2023 highlights include the banned Singaporean drama #LookAtMe; an open-air screening of Cate Blanchett’s Dorian Awards-nominated Tár; the winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes, Joyland; Winner of the Venice Golden Lion and one of the most acclaimed films of the year All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.
The diverse program has something for everyone, landing at the same time as Sydney hosts World Pride, so be sure to carve out some time to relax in the city’s cinemas and soak in a few of the great cinematic works celebrate the gamut of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
By Chad Armstrong
Queer Screen’s 30th Anniversary Mardi Gras Film Festival runs from February 15th – March 2nd 2023 in cinemas and online. Tickets are on sale now!