Film fans can look forward to a diverse documentary line-up and new monthly screenings of gay and lesbian cinema favourites after the launch of a revamped Queer Screen program this week.

Queer Screen’s first-ever annual program opens with next month’s documentary festival queerDOC, which in its eighth season promises an eclectic snapshot of the queer experience around the world.

The program also features a new monthly series of film favourites, Retrospective, alongside Queer Screen flagship the Mardi Gras Film Festival and occasional special screenings.

QueerDOC’s 13 films include a portrait of lesbian orthodox Jews in Jerusalem in Keep Not Silent: Orthodykes, and eXposed, US female director Pam Dore’s behind-the-scenes take on the world of gay male porn.

This year, queerDOC covers a lot of ground, including some very important local stories, Queer Screen programmer Megan Carrigy said.

Sydney stories will feature in documentaries exploring material from local gay rugby team Sydney Convicts to the beginnings of an Australian icon.

On opening night The Sequin Revolution will tell us of the origins of the Sydney Mardi Gras through a range of interviews with those who were there, Carrigy said.

Queer Screen, which was formed in 1993 and announced a profit for the last financial year after an earlier funding shortfall, also unveiled new series Retrospective at Tuesday’s launch.

A different queer classic will screen on the last Wednesday of each month as part of the ongoing series, which begins in September with 2001 Mardi Gras Film Festival opener Big Eden.

We are now able to offer regular events throughout the year, with monthly and special screenings as well as our two signature events [queerDOC and the Mardi Gras Film Festival], Queer Screen executive producer Panos Couros said.

The Retrospective opener comes ahead of next year’s 13th Mardi Gras Film Festival, which will again include Australian and New Zealand short film competition My Queer Career on its opening night in February next year.

QueerDOC runs from 8 to 11 September at the Chauvel Cinema. For bookings and program information call 1300 306 776 or visit the Queer Screen website. Retrospective begins on 28 September, with the Big Eden screening scheduled for 7:15pm at the Chauvel. The 13th Mardi Gras Film Festival opens on 16 February 2006.

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