by DAN SEED

The Northern Rivers hosted the fourth Queer Fruits Film Festival (QFFF) in Lismore, NSW on December 29 and 30. The only regional event of its kind in Australia, the festival held the Pacific premiere of more than a dozen films along with a range of local and international entrants celebrating LGBT culture, seeing entrants from 44 countries over the festival’s short history.

Among the highlights was the second Australian screening of the Buck Angel feature, Sexing the Transman, exploring transgender relationships and sexuality.

Founder and festival director Akkadia Ford (pictured) claims that there continues to be a real gap in representation of the LGBT community in film, while film selector and web producer Virginia Barratt said that the festival is a “creative resistance” to struggles faced by the queer community.

This year has seen the event become independent of Tropical Fruits Inc., one of the founding partners of the festival in 2009.

“The festival has moved beyond that initial stage and this has allowed them [Tropical Fruits Inc.] to go back to other priorities,” Ford said.

IMG_0740 (1) webFord said that she was also grateful for the support and encouragement of the local council, with Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell attending the opening night gala.

Three prizes will be awarded, including a nomination for inclusion into the National Film and Sound Archive’s LGBTI Short Film Award, carrying a $5000 prize.

The films screened at the QFFF are selected for their positive contribution to queer issues.

“Lismore ranks 86 on SEIFA [Socio-Economic Index for Areas]… it is a very impoverished area,” Ford said.

“We spoke to the audience and organisations such as ACON – people don’t want to see depressing films at this time of year,” she said.

Weekly one-hour highlights from the 2012 QFFF will be screened on the Aurora Community Channel (via Foxtel), beginning February 10.

The award winners will be announced in coming weeks.

INFO: queerfruitsfilmfestival.org

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