Sydney Times


Queer Screen’s 27th Mardi Gras Film Festival: 13 – 27 February 2020

Written by Aksel Ritenis


Queer Screen’s 27th Mardi Gras Film Festival: 13 – 27 February 2020

The Evolution of Queer Film in 2020 Queer Screen’s 27th Mardi Gras Film Festival: 13 – 27 February 2020 8 January 2020: Queer Screen’s 27th Mardi Gras Film Festival (Festival) captures the continuing evolution of queer film and characters.

Running from 13 – 27 February in Sydney, the Festival returns to the Inner West with over 20 screenings at Dendy Newtown, in addition to Hayden Orpheum and principal venue partner Event Cinemas George Street, before touring to Canberra, Parramatta, Lismore, Newcastle and the Blue Mountains in March.

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This year’s Festival boasts 6 world premieres, 93 Australian premieres and 12 Sydney premieres across 57 feature-length films, 2 episodics and 75 short films told through 15 different genres.

“Our 2020 theme ‘Evolve, Emerge, Fly’ reflects both the continually improving quality of the local and international films on offer as well as the diversity of emerging Australian talent”, explains Queer Screen Festival Director Lisa Rose. “It also represents the broader evolution of queer film, as we move beyond ‘coming out’ stories to tell all sorts of stories, through all sorts of characters, in all genres.” “In addition, several films examine how LGBTIQ+ people seek to belong from a global perspective. When we look at the movement of people around the world, whether forced or voluntary, we see that ultimately, we all just want to belong somewhere and the truth is, we belong everywhere,” she added.

Some of the Festival’s most powerful films directly address the persecution and displacement of LGBTIQ+ people including the meditative FIREFLIES from Iran; LABEL ME which follows a Syrian refugee in Germany and UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA, an insightful documentary about asylum seekers in the USA. For the first time in its 27 year history, the Festival opens with an Australian feature film, ELLIE & ABBIE (AND ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT).

A heartfelt rom com, the film was shot in Sydney and shines a light on our own civil rights movement through a teenage lesbian love story. It is portrayed by a fantastic cast including Marta Dusseldorp (Stateless, Janet King), Rachel House (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and Julia Billington (Starting from…Now), alongside emerging talents Zoe Terakes (Wentworth) and Sophie Hawkshaw as the lovestruck teens.

AN ALMOST ORDINARY SUMMER closes the Festival. Set on the Amalfi Coast, this is a cheeky and moving comedy that brings two Italian families together when their patriarchs shock everyone with the news they are engaged.

“Centrepiece of the Festival is one of the most acclaimed LGBTIQ+ films of 2019, AND THEN WE DANCED. A film about rivalry, desire and defiance, the powerful drama is set in a traditional Georgian dance school. It sparked scenes of violent protest in Georgia when it screened there. Nominated for the Queer Palm award at Cannes Film Festival, it has won multiple audience awards including NewFest (New York LGBTQ Film Festival) and the Golden Duke award at the Odessa International Film Festival.”

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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