One hundred and thirty-four movies, 72 sessions, a number of world premieres and a designated program of films for young people: next year’s Mardi Gras film festival is shaping up big.

Festival organisers are promising 12 days of sex, seduction, comedy, thrills, tears, tantrums and drama -“ on screen only, one hopes -“ and early-bird tickets are now on sale for some of the festival highlights.

Among these: the opening night movie Die Mommie Die is a high-camp sassy parody of classic mystery and romance films. As usual, the opening night film will screen at the State Theatre, while the Arthouse Hotel will host the after-party.

Festival producer Panos Couros told Sydney Star Observer that the 2004 festival had more of a commercial feel than some previous years, with a lot of audience pleasers, and something for everyone.

Although the full festival program will not be released until the 15 January issue of the Star, Couros revealed that the festival would include two days of films by, about and for young people on 14 and 15 February, as well as a number of works made in digital format and a special collaboration between Queer Screen (the organisation that presents the Mardi Gras Film Festival) and Screensound Australia (the former National Film and Sound Archive).

Other highlights include the annual My Queer Career competition (in which eight queer film-makers vie for a number of popularly voted prizes), and the film Pink Sheep, which was made with the assistance of the Twenty10 youth accommodation service.

Tickets cost $14.50 per session ($12.50 for concessions), but discounts are available if you buy tickets to see five films. Tickets to the opening night film cost $22, or $38 if you also want to go to the Arthouse Hotel party.

For tickets phone 9645 1611, or online at www.queerscreen.com.au..

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