30th Melbourne Queer Film Festival Launched

AAR MQFF Unsettled Seeking Refuge in AmericaThis year’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) program has been billed as thought provoking, playful, unmissable and adventurous at last night’s program launch held at Metropolis Events.

Running 12 – 23 March, film lovers will be spoilt for choice with MQFF taking place across Village Jam Factory, The Capitol and Cinema Nova with a jam-packed program encompassing 113 films, 58 features, 14 documentaries, 88 shorts, 14 Australian showcases and 10 panel sessions and events.

“As we mark 30 years of MQFF and queer cinema I have been reflecting on the festivals history and the showcase of incredible cinema it has presented over the years,” said MQFF Program Director, Spiro Economopoulos. “The desires, loves, joys and fears of the queer community have been projected on the big screen through an evolving diversity of voices.”

MQFF will launch at Village Jam Factory on Thursday 12 March with Gay Chorus Deep South – a winner of countless Film Festival Audience Awards – telling the story of the San Franscisco Gay Men’s Chorus tour of the American South, an area deeply divided by anti LGBTQI+ laws, and their mission to overcome prejudice and fear through the power of music.

The Centrepiece feature on Thursday 19 March will be And Then We Danced – a sensual exploration of identity for teenager Mareb, who has spent his life determined to be a lead dancer in the National Georgian Ensemble, however is sent spinning when a handsome and rebellious newcomer, Iralki enters the company.

The Headliner on Tuesday 17 March will feature the documentary Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America – which follows four LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and refugees who have fled persecution and are seeking asylum in the US.

The closing night feature on Sunday 22 March will not disappoint with the Melbourne premier of Bit – a sharp, fun and wickedly subversive take on the vampire genre, that sees Lauren (played by Nicole Maines from TV’s supergirl) lured into a posse of a cliquey gang of queer feminist vampires who are hellbent on ridding LA of ‘problematic’ men.

The Australian showcase puts a spotlight on local talent with the Melbourne premiere of Unsound, directed by Ian Watson, which showcases a delicate representation of love, respect, empathy and acceptance, and features Christine Anu in a supporting role.

The remarkable debut feature Sequin in a Blue Room from young Australian director Samuel Van Grinsven follows a 16-year-old Sequin as he navigates the world of anonymous hook-ups and sex parties in Sydney, before quickly realising he’s gotten in too deep. The feature is a fresh take on the queer sex and dating scene, and a truly intoxicating ride.

MQFF’s annual showcase of international features includes the Chilean feature, The Strong Ones (Los Fuertes) – based in a remote seaside town in Chile, in front of the ocean and fog, Lucas meets Antonio, a handsome boatswain from a local fishing crew. The story of their intense romance ensues in this earthy, sensual and moving romantic drama.

Fillipo Meneghetti’s Two of Us tells the story of two retired women who have been carrying on a secret relationship for years, until an unforeseen event turns their relationship upside down and threatens to expose their secret.

While the documentary programs covers a diverse range of subject matters with The Archivettes – which tells the story of the women behind the Lesbian Herstory Archive, to 5B – the inspirational story of the everyday heroes, nurses and caregivers who took extraordinary action to comfort, protect and care for patients in the first AIDS ward unit in the United States.

The 30th Melbourne Queer Film Festival runs 12 – 23 March 2020. For more information, and full program, visit: www.mqff.com.au for details.

Image: Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America (supplied)