It’s back baby! The Melbourne Queer Film Festival returns this week and it’s the only 30th birthday you really should be worrying about. We got the inside scoop from the OG team and boy do we have a top selection sorted for you. Here’s the absolute top 5 films you need to make time for this March to celebrate some of the best LGBTQ+ content created in the last year.
First up, a few game-changers that have really spiced up the festival – bustling Chapel Street’s Jam Factory is where they now call home (we’ll have to make a whole separate list for you on pre and post snack options – hot tip in advance, Messina is always a good choice), and tickets are selling quicker than we can say ‘yaaaasss queen’, so get in quick!
So without further ado, here’s our top 5 picks that you won’t want to miss!
1. Gay Chorus, Deep South
Kicking off opening night with a real bang, you’ll get to observe the prejudice and the pleasure of the coming together of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and America’s Deep South. In response to an unfortunate slew of anti-LGBTQ laws in the South that were passed in tandem with the contentious 2016 election, Conductor Dr Tim Seelig and his team take to the road, bringing messages of music, acceptance and intolerance. I mean, we are no strangers to Queer Eye here, we understand the power of a heart-warming road-trip (and JVN’s hair) – backed by angelic voices and a “based on a real story” memento – sign us up!
2. Bonnie & Bonnie
How many remakes of Bonnie & Clyde did we have to endure before someone got it right? At least 13 and we aren’t even counting the Simpsons episode. Fear not ladies and lads, a lesbian twist on the infamous story of these criminal lovers has arrived and German filmmaker Ali Hakim holds nothing back… aspiring dancer Yara is suffocating under her strict Muslim father and brother and upon escaping to the streets, is taken by leather-jacket donning rebel, Kiki – a fiery and thrilling journey unfolds.
Hollywood called, they want Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favour) back! That’s right, good ol’ Hen has come to the dark side of independent queer cinema and we are heaving. He takes on the role of Kit returning to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time after his family fled the country post-Viet-war; lonely and aimless, he meets clothes designer Lewis who has shared history and sparks fly. This poignant and insightful drama grapples with the past versus present identity binary, and is a stand-out feature in this year’s line-up.
So Jennifer’s Body did not get the global revere it deserved but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it to Bit on closing night?! This provocative and wickedly subversive comedy horror takes another dip in the pool of the vampire genre (not going to lie, we never got over it), and is a force of representation, led by transgender actor Nicole Maines (popular for their role on TV’s Supergirl). Maines’ character, Lauren is a restless 18 year-old looking for escape so where does she go? You guessed it, LA, baby. Lured into a gang of queer feminist vampires (my literal dream), hell-bent on ridding the City of Angels of ‘problematic’ men, Lauren can’t really claim to be bored anymore – and neither will you be henny. Hot tip – tickets are selling QUICK.
This year, diversity and representation of all of our friends on all spectrums is incredibly strong and we were stoked to learn Unsound had officially been named 2020’s Australian showcase. Returning home from tour to take care of his estranged mother, Noah is struggling and takes refuge and distraction in bars and nightclubs (hopefully he knows Yah Yah’s is free on Thursdays). One night he is drawn to the Deaf Centre where he meets Finn, a deaf trans-man in the early stages of his transition, and through their mutual love for music, a delicate and unexpected relationship blossoms. If you’re all about the clout, lead actor Yiana Pandelis will be in attendance to introduce all sessions, so yes, this one time looking your best in the dark cinema actually does matter…
And that’s our wrap! For more information about the Program or to snag a few bad boys in time for the screening, make sure you head over to MQFF’s website: https://mqff.com.au/program/
What: The 30th Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF)
When: 12th – 23rd of March 2020
Where: In its 30th year, MQFF will be expanding its footprint, introducing a new venue in Melbourne’s CBD, the newly refurbished Capitol Theatre, joining the Village Cinema Jam Factory and Nova Cinema Carlton festival hubs.
What: MQFF is a celebration of 30 years of sharing the stories of LGBTQI+ people and their community through film and the moving image. The festival, renowned for bringing the best of queer culture to Melbourne, aims to educate, entertain and celebrate diversity by showcasing the best LGBTQI+ film content.
More Information: mqff.com.au/program/
Imagery: Cover Photo by Myke Simon, story images supplied.