Running since 1991, MQFF is the biggest queer film festival in the southern hemisphere, the oldest queer film festival in Australia and one of the oldest in the world.
Festival Director Lisa Daniel said the list of films that made the program had to be whittled down from a huge number up that was up for consideration.
“The MQFF is excited to be presenting such an outstanding selection of films this year, having had over 700 to chose from,” she said.
“And to add to an already-packed program, the MQFF is also bursting at the seams with other events like our Film Industry Day and gen2gen Community Film Project for aspiring filmmakers.”
The festival opens with Any Day Now, an award-winning film from director Travis Fine about a gay couple in the 1970s trying to adopt a boy with Down syndrome.
Other highlights include Venezuelan film Bad Hair about a young boy’s sexual awakening, and to close the festival Australia’s Miranda Otto stars in Reaching for the Moon, about the real-life romance between American Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian Architect Lota de Macedo Soares.
This year sees divisive Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce return to MQFF with Gerontophilia, a film about cross-generational love. LaBruce’s last feature L.A. Zombie was about a necrophilic homeless man and was refused classification in 2010, leading to its withdrawal from the Melbourne International Film Festival and an illegal screening as part the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
MQFF itself hasn’t been without controversy, and just last year San Francisco filmmaker Travis Mathews’ erotic feature I Want Your Love was denied classification by the Australian Film Classification Board.
The film’s subsequent removal from the MQFF program attracted international attention, with actor James Franco — one of Mathews’ collaborators — publicly criticising the decision.