THE Queer Screen Film Festival (QSFF16) is back for another bigger and better year.
Spanning a short six days from September 20, there are 12 fantastic queer films to catch and we have put together a list of our top picks.
This year the festival is also taking a select number of films to Canberra and the Blue Mountains in the weeks following QSFF16.
A small-town tragicomedy revolving around a gay son, David (Jesse Plemons, Breaking Bad and Fargo) who returns home to take care of his dying mother.
Molly Shannon (SNL) is a stand-out as his mother – alternating between humour and tragedy and sarcasm and warm smiles. Shannon excels in portraying the tender, funny moments with her son as well as the agony of cancer and chemotherapy.
David is another kind of tragedy. A 29 year old New York-based comedy writer who returns home just as he’s starting to make a name for himself in the city. Sacramento is stifling to him, but he does his best to be there for and protect his mother in her time of need. Her continuing battle with cancer takes its toll on David as well, sending him on his own journey of self-discovery.
Also starring J. J. Totah (Glee), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and Oscar-nominated actress June Squibb, Other People is a heartwarming, entertaining and uplifting story of familial love and resilience. As the directorial debut of SNL and Broad City writer Chris Kelly, Other People also had the honour of screening on opening night at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and closed Outfest 2016.
The Intervention stars a host of well-known faces, including Clea DuVall and real life best friend Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black). The two will set hearts aflutter as they again play an on-screen couple, along with the always excellent Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and a scene-stealing Melanie Lynskey (But I’m a Cheerleader) in the role that won her an award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Fan favourite and out actress DuVall delivers a laugh out loud, modern-day homage to The Big Chill in her debut feature as writer/director.
Reuniting three of the cast of the queer classic But I’m a Cheerleader, we join four couples under the guise of a fun weekend away in beautiful Savannah, only to realise busybody Annie (Lynskey) has other ideas. She tries to instigate a ‘please get divorced’ intervention for the married couple of the bunch, but of course nothing goes to plan.
As secrets, insecurities and truths are revealed, all four couples experience their own sort of intervention, with heartfelt, funny and poignant results.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy was one of the original Stonewall Riots rebel, a former prison inmate and now is transgender elder, woman of colour, and head of the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project in California.
This fascinating and hilarious documentary introduces us to Miss Major and the diverse cast of people surrounding her.
The star, of course, is Miss Major herself. With a wicked wit and a cackling laugh she visits her ‘daughters’ and ‘sisters’ in the community and lends a hand, delivering her brand of one-on-one social justice. In return, they tell stories about Miss Major – how she let them sleep on her couch, fed them, taught them how to be a woman, kept them away from prison. Many of those women become activists and community leaders themselves, with Miss Major as their guiding beacon.
MAJOR! is in an intimate portrait of a living treasure, whose stories, wisdom and experience will sustain and inform the community for decades to come.
“He’s not scary, he’s gorgeous.” George has a killer new boyfriend, but it might take a body count for him to shut up and notice.
You’re Killing Me is a sharp horror-comedy about West Hollywood gays so self-absorbed they don’t even realise their new friend is a serial killer. George, a narcissistic wannabe Internet star (played by actual Internet star Jeffrey Self), has fallen deeply for a new man, the monotonous but gorgeous Joe. As the relationship develops, George seems to be missing more and more of his friends, and he hardly seems to care. Will George’s remaining friends bother to notice what’s happening to them?
You’re Killing Me is a genuinely funny ride, with sharp social commentary on modern gay life, and a few scares thrown in. Written by Jeffrey Self (Gay of Thrones, 90210), and starring a line-up of great LA comedians, including Matthew Wilkas (Gayby), Brian Safi (Throwing Shade), and Drew Droege (The Chloe Videos, a YouTube classic), this film makes for a great Saturday night out.
G-Voice is the first and only gay men’s choir in South Korea. Every weekend for a decade, they have gathered to sing for equality and an end to discrimination towards the LGBTIQ community in their country.
The only trouble is, they’re not very good. This moving, funny and confronting documentary follows their preparations for a tenth anniversary concert event.
Weekends examines the preparations for the concert through individual chorus members. From these varied points of view, insights can be gleaned into their struggles against homophobia, daily lives and relationships, and their unwavering determination in their fight for equality.
The film features some riveting moments where G-Voice are on the front-lines of gay rights activism, including taking part in a gay-pride parade that protesters try to shut down, sit-ins in the mayoral offices, and includes a terrifying moment at a performance at the first public same-sex wedding.
At the Berlin International Film Festival 2016, Weekends placed third in the Panorama Audience Awards for documentaries and was nominated for the Teddy Award.
An incredibly authentic lesbian coming of age film, First Girl I Loved tells the story of 17 year old cool nerd Anne as she falls for the popular school softball star, Sasha.
Anne invents an elaborate, yet believable plot for the two of them to hang out, but they discover they have an undeniable chemistry and connection. As her feelings grow, Anne shares the news with her best friend Cliff and he unexpectedly lashes out, causing a ripple effect through Anne’s life.
Winner of the NEXT Audience Award at Sundance, First Girl I Loved unfolds in kaleidoscopic fashion, as we move back and forth in time to reveal the full story of some pivotal scenes.
Inspired to tell a coming out story after his younger sister did exactly that to him, writer/director Karem Sanga does a remarkable job capturing the nuances, sensibilities and language of today’s modern teen.
The two leads, Anne and Sasha are expertly played by Dylan Gelula (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and out actress Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool), and they are given terrific support, including out comedienne Cameron Esposito and a scene stealing role from Pamela Adlon (Louie) as Anne’s single mother.
What do The Doors, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Nico and countless other music greats from the USA in the 60s and 70s have in common? Each of them were guided on their journey to musical cult status by the out and proud Danny Fields.
This hugely entertaining documentary charts his life from Harvard Law School to early member of the factory and friend of Andy Warhol.
The film is infused with fantastic animation, utilised to retell many of his great adventures in music. One being the hilarious tale of when Jim Morrison met Nico and all hell broke out.
Also featuring outstanding live concert footage, archival photos, and interviews with Danny and many celebrated musicians, this is a must for any music lover or fan of this hedonistic period of rock‘n’roll.
The film’s title is the name of a great Ramones song and there is little doubt that the titular Danny was none other than Danny Field.
Southwest of Salem is the true crime story of four Latina lesbian women – Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez – who were accused, tried and wrongly convicted of the gang rape of Elizabeth’s two prepubescent nieces.
Facing accusations of satanic ritual abuse, a homophobic legal system and questionable testimonies from the nieces, this documentary sees the tides turn as we follow the riveting and emotional journey of these women as they attempt to clear their names.
This multilayered documentary will draw you in through an engaging mix of VHS home videos, archival news clips and newly recorded interviews with the women that span over many years.
The four women proclaim innocence from the very beginning, and as details surrounding the case unfurl, you will be shocked, surprised and devastated at the effects. Their sincere, credible and real perspectives will draw you in and hook you to the very last frame.
Perfect for fans of the Serial podcast and the Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer.
Mackenzie and Cassie have been BFFs ever since kindergarten, when they joined forces to play with Mackenzie’s Ken and Cassie’s Barbie. They finish each other’s sentences, laugh at each other’s stupid jokes and have an unbreakable best friend bond. Or do they?
As they approach university graduation they discover their lives are drifting apart. Mack is finally dealing with her sexuality whilst discovering apparently she’s a 100 footer and everyone already knew. Well, everyone except Cassie.
Cassie is dealing with her own issues, with future career stress and a recent ex-boyfriend making her even more self-absorbed than usual. How will she react when she finds out Mackenzie’s big secret?
This fun and witty Canadian comedy from two creators of the wildly popular The Gay Women YouTube channel stars Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis, the leads of Carmilla, the most watched lesbian web-series of all time.
Mixed Shorts, our popular collection of international short films, returns with another round of outrageous comedies, quality dramas, and entertaining documentaries. This collection includes the best of gay, lesbian and transgender shorts.
This package features the Australian classic Saturn’s Return, gay romance Tremulo, lesbian comedies Partnersand Oh-be-joyful, lesbian drama Vámanos, and trans docuseries We’ve Been Around.
Paris 05:59 Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau, was one of the big hits of Mardi Gras Film Festival 2016.
Paris is the perfect setting for this exquisite gay love story. Starting with a vivid and provocative twenty minutes, set in an underground sex club, where Théo and Hugo circle one another and have sex, the two strangers end up connecting on more than a carnal level and leave to walk the streets of Paris at night. While talking the two men start to fall hard for each other. Their relationship blossoms with the hallmarks of first love, but then something happens which changes the course of their new relationship.
We will keep the dramatic moment top secret, but we promise you, it is something that everyone in our community can relate to.
This is a must-see film, especially if you are a fan of Weekend, the Before Sunrise trilogy, or hot sex scenes.
Your fingers will never feel the same. The Handmaiden, directed by Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Thirst) is a thriller intertwined with an erotic lesbian love story.
This immersive film is structured in three parts to reflect the main characters Nam Sookee (Kim Tae-ri), Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) and Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo).
The setting is relocated from Waters’ Victorian era London to 1930s Korea under Japanese rule. The criminal Count Fujiwara arranges for petty thief Sookee to move from her slum and work as a handmaiden to Lady Hideko. He tasks Sookee with preparing the Lady for love and arranged marriage, but his ill intentions are waylaid when the two women discover hidden feelings for one another.
The hypnotic soundtrack and sensual story will immerse you utterly in its tale of class, fraud and revenge. The atmosphere of Korea at the time is rendered perfectly, and the relationship between Sookee and Hideko fascinating as it unfolds.
To raise money for Australian Marriage Equality, Queer Screen, ACON, Transmission Films and Dendy Cinemas present a special screening of The Queen of Ireland.
Five years in the making, this internationally acclaimed documentary follows performer Rory O’Neill and his drag alter ego Panti Bliss on a journey of self-discovery against the backdrop of Ireland’s 2015 referendum on marriage equality, including Panti’s now famous appearance at the Abbey Theatre in 2014.
This exclusive pre-release screening is a fundraiser for Australian Marriage Equality. Guests will also be briefed about the campaign for marriage equality in Australia by Irish LGBT rights campaigner Tiernan Brady who is working with AME following his role as the political director of the recent successful marriage equality campaign in Ireland.
All guests will also each receive a 2-for-1 pass to Bingay, ACON’s hilarious monthly bingo night at The Shift Club in Darlinghurst.