Guide to the 2020 Queer Screen Film Festival | Our Top Picks


If you’re like us, you’ve exhausted the LGBTQI offerings on every streaming platform you could get your mitts on during the pandemic.

But the drought is over because the Queer Screen Festival has arrived right when we need it most with a smorgasbord of gay films to lose ourselves in.

After all what’s a better distraction from the binfire that is 2020 than a glorious on-screen gay makeout?

COVID-19 has put a damper on most things queer but this is one of the exceptions. For the first time, our regional pals won’t miss out on Australia’s biggest queer film fest cause it’s now fully online!

This means it’s all on your terms – instead of having to hustle your friends to get to a cinema for a set time, you can all watch a screening at 4am on a weeknight if your heart so desires.

And there’s more than 40 movies on offer for just 7 days so either park yourself on the couch for the week (our plan) or prepare to have a hell of a time narrowing down the fab options.

But don’t worry, Modern Gay’s Guide has done the homework for you, and here are our top picks.

For the boys who like boys

Breaking Fast

This sweet gay rom-com is a real breath of fresh air. 

Mo (Haaz Sleiman) is a gay, Muslim man living in West Hollywood who not only isn’t struggling to reconcile his faith and sexuality, but also has the support of his family!

However, that doesn’t necessarily make things smooth sailing, and after he ends things with a long-term love, he wonders if he’ll ever find someone. Enter dashing actor Kal (Michael Cassidy), who comes into Mo’s life just as he enters the period of Ramadan, meaning he’ll have to balance his new feelings with the vows of abstinence this sacred month requires.

Cicada

This one hits differently knowing it’s based on true events.

It’s a steamy summer in New York and Ben bounces from one hook up to the next as he struggles to cope with events from his past.

When Ben meets the handsome Sam, who is hiding in more ways than one, he is drawn to him on a deeper level than he is used to. As their chemistry grows and their relationship intensifies, both men are confronted with how much to reveal of themselves, and how far they are willing to let the other one in.

Steelers: The world’s first gay rugby club

This one’s for you doco lovers….and anyone who loves to see burly men tackle each other.

After moving from Australia to the UK, Eammon Ashton-Atkinson discovered the accepting embrace of the Steelers, the world’s first gay rugby team. Starting out as just six men in a Kings Cross bar in London, queer rugby has now developed into a community of thousands.

Eammon introduces us to some of these colourful characters as they compete in the Bingham World Cup against the best in the world, including our own Sydney Convicts.

For the girls who like girls

Ahead of the curve

In a world where print magazines are dying off, what’s the future for LESBIAN magazines?

Learn about the birth of the iconic lesbian magazine, Curve, through the personal story of the magazine’s founder, Franco Stevens. When confronted with the possible end of Curve, Franco embarks on a journey through the development of the magazine, focusing on the power of community and visibility for lesbians and queer women.

Simultaneously, Franco meets and connects with the next generation of LGBTIQ+ leaders – inspiring poets, formidable political figures, intelligent educators, and more.

Same But Different: A true New Zealand love story

What happens when you’re just yourself?

In Auckland, bumbling single mum Rachel (Robyn Paterson) is trying to avoid romantic entanglements. Then she meets stunning Kiwi-Samoan filmmaker Nikki (Hannah Martin) at a Māori film festival and it’s love at first sight – at least for Rachel.

After stalking her target on social media like a teenager, trying to appear cooler than she really is, and generally making a fool of herself, Rachel finally succeeds at “asking a chick out on a date”. True love beckons for this attractive Kiwi odd couple until a spiteful ex throws a spanner in the works, making Nikki question how serious Rachel really is about their relationship.

Moonlit Winter

Hooking your mum up with her long lost lesbian lover.

A girl takes her mother on holiday to snowy Hokkaido, Japan after discovering a love letter from a woman in her mother’s past, in this slow-burn film full of longing.

You will meet four women: teenager Sae-bom and her divorced mother Yoon-hee who are making ends meet in South Korea; and veterinarian Jun and her aunt Masako who live together quietly in Japan. When Sae-bom intercepts a letter to her mother from Jun that hints at a past she never knew of, she convinces her mother to travel with her to Jun’s town and surreptitiously plans to find the mysterious woman her mother once loved.

For the bisexuals

Second star on the right

“Where are all the bisexuals!?”

Meet Emilia, a bisexual millennial with an outdated vocabulary of 90s pop-culture references, who lives with her mother, parties most nights and struggles as an aspiring actor. Her close group of female friends are already married with children and wonder when, if ever, Emilia will just grow up!

Follow the lifelong friendship of a group of imperfect female characters and the humorously personable journey of self-discovery and growing-pains in a world that seems to slap a use-by date on everything.

For the trans/gender diverse

Gossamer Folds

A story that goes beyond the clichés of gender transition.

In the summer of 1986, ten-year-old Tate and his parents move to a small town after living in the city all his life. Much to his father’s annoyance, they find themselves living next door to Gossamer, a young, Black trans woman.

When Tate’s family crumbles around him, he defies his parents’ warnings to stay away and finds solace with Gossamer and her father, a retired English professor. He and Gossamer bond as he treats her with innocence unmarred by prejudice and she treats him as an equal.

Holy Trinity

“Hey gods and goddesses and gender non-specific deities, welcome to church!”

This one’s wonderfully weird and will make you realise just how boring the (hetero) norm is.

Set in a colourful alternative Chicago where sex- and kink-positivity are the norm, and you’re as likely to encounter someone walking their “pet” sub on a leash as a Madonna-obsessed priest, Holy Trinity takes the homemade aesthetics and ideals of avant-garde queer club culture out into the world at large.

After borrowing a roommate’s magical spiritual cleansing spray to get her latest aerosol-huffing fix, queer dominatrix Trinity (writer-director Molly Hewitt) starts to hear voices. Dead people’s voices. She sets out to discover whether her power is a gift or a curse.

THE DETAILS

What: The Queer Screen Film Festival
When: September 17th to the 27th 2020
Price: Each film is $12 but passes give you better value. Stream 3 for $33, 5 for $54 or unlimited for $99.
Pro Tip: The festival has made its short films completely FREE. There’s gay, lesbian and trans and gender diverse options.
More info: queerscreen.org.au

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