A GROWING gay and lesbian film festival has scored a coup by giving audiences one of the few opportunities to see acclaimed trans* film 52 Tuesdays outside of major cities.
The shOUT! Film Festival, touring during May, will be the only place to see 52 Tuesdays (pictured) in regional NSW.
Starting off in Newcastle just two years ago, the film festival is now spreading across regional NSW with showings in its home city, Coffs Harbour and rounding off in the Gold Coast at the end of the month.
Talking to the Star Observer, festival co-director Ashley Doran said shOUT! was more than just about bringing queer cinema to local cinemas.
“We want to spread the objective [of shOUT!] and that is to promote the IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) in regional areas,” he said.
“While there are lots of activities in metro areas we use the film festival as a vehicle to spread the word that we need to reduce transphobia and homophobia in NSW.”
The large LGBTI populations in the Newcastle suburbs of Islington and Hamilton persuaded organisers — who are also behind the city’s popular LGBTI nightclub Unity — to take a punt on the festival.
According to Doran, its popularity has “just exploded”.
“Newcastle locals have embraced it as their own film festival,” he said.
With the backing of cinema chain Event Cinemas, shOUT! decided to expand outside NSW’s Hunter region for the first time.
However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, with the festival axing western Sydney dates due this weekend following a change of cinema and what Doran said was “a lack of community response to the Penrith location”.
Despite the setback, screenings in Newcastle on May 17-18 and Coffs Harbour on May 24–25 are selling rapidly, with excitement surrounding Bridegroom, a US documentary concerning the legal ostracisation faced by Shane Bitney Crone when his partner died in a freak accident.
Other films in the festival include the classic I am Divine and Australian film Monster Pies, which won best film at the 2014 Melbourne Queer Festival.
More information on the shOUT! Film Festival can be found by clicking here.