Twenty years ago the city of Brisbane being gay was just decriminalised. This quiet, conservative, sleepy town, was known more for its backwardness, with a cultural climate far behind Sydney, let alone Melbourne with its galleries, cafe life and museums that its inhabitants rave about, sometimes with an air of superiority according to some in the Sunshine state.

Fast forward to today, and while Brisbane is now pressing its claims as Australia’s third global city, proven performers like the Brisbane Queer Film Festival (BQFF), which commenced a decade and a half ago, have  accelerated the Queensland city’s path towards greater cosmopolitanism by encouraging countless artists to get involved. And not just in the gay community but internationally the BQFF has some of the industry’s powerful studiously keeping watch.

Earlier this year at its Brisbane Powerhouse base, BQFF featured almost 60 films from the USA, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Uganda, Iran, Chile, Denmark, Israel, Brazil, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia as well as Australia. For the first time, a specific program for Australian-made short films was also included to great success.

Six films from local filmmakers looking at everything from The Golden Girls fan-fiction to Croatian romantic dramas were shown to wide acclaim.

Celebrating its 15th year in 2014, the BQFF has promised the bar will be raised even higher as all feature film content is already off get checked at classifications so there will be no nasty surprises. Of course there has to be a James Franco homoerotic film that will need to be checked and double checked.

While Armstrong is not on the judging panel, he explains how his festival is now on the lookout for the next generation of queer shorts made by Australian filmmakers and that entries close soon.

While the festival is an annual celebration of LGBTIQ life around the world and will feature dozens of films from international filmmakers, it’s the Aussie Queer Shorts program that is likely to whet the appetite of aspiring moviemakers over the next few months.

BQFF’s producer, Troy Armstrong, says the 2014 program of shorts will be curated by a panel of queer film advocates from the local Brisbane community including independent producer Tyronne  Curtis and music producer Lucia Ilett.

“We’re really excited to see which films are submitted this year. The only rules are that the films have to have been created in the last two years, are 30 minutes or less and tell stories relevant to the LGBTIQ community,” he said. “They can even submit films by smartphones or cameras on the I-Pads”.

“We’re also introducing audience choice awards for the Queer Aussie Shorts program this year. Selected entries could receive awards for direction, performance, cinematography, design and an overall ‘Best Short Film’ prize.”

Interested individuals have until December 6 to enter their short films with successful applicants to be notified by January 20, 2014 before the festival takes place from March 28 –April 5, 2014.

On Friday 1st November the Brisbane Gay and Lesbian Business Network hosted BQFF as their community partners.  President Tyrone Shandiman BQFF were looking for sponsors to support their short film awards and on the night the GLBN were able to successfully raise $500 to go towards one of the awards.  The GLBN are pleased to hear the exciting new ideas from the new committee and we will be working with QFF leading up to and during the festival to ensure it is a successful. event.BQFF Director Troy Armstrong

INFO: Visit here for more information and to apply by 6 December.

Additional reporting by Miles Heffernan

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