As queerDOC reaches the end of its two-week season, organisers are celebrating the success of the 2006 festival, and they’ve noted a significant trend among Sydney’s queer filmgoers.
With the final screening of queerDOC set for tonight with Meth at Paddington’s Chauvel Cinema, festival manager Lex Lindsay says the 2006 season has recorded a box-office result in excess of initial predictions -“ a marked improvement on last year’s season.
Lindsay says queerDOC has sold 1,500 tickets, which is 75 percent capacity of all available sessions. With receipts for the screening of Meth still to be tallied, Lindsay is confident the final result for the 2006 season will be even higher.
Across the festival, we think that is a pretty good result, especially considering break-even is anything over 55 percent across all sessions, Lindsay said.
This has certainly been more successful than last year, and considering we experienced a 15 percent drop in the box office for the Mardi Gras Film Festival, we decided to be cautious in the lead-up to queerDOC. It seems the tide has turned and we are back doing the numbers we expect.
Lindsay said certain significant factors resulted in the success of queerDOC. Programming the eight films across the two-week season has been a popular strategy with attendees, making it less intense than a one-week season.
Documentaries like Pick Up The Mic and Zero Degrees Of Separation, as well as the special screening of The Line Of Beauty, all attracted enthusiastic audiences.
While the censorship wrangle over Damon & Hunter: Doing It Together eventually forced the withdrawal of the film, Lindsay says the replacement film, Forbidden, was a popular substitute.
But it was staging the majority of the screenings at the Dendy Cinema in Newtown, with only two screenings in Paddington, that Lindsay believed also attracted strong crowds.
Being in Newtown made a difference, Lindsay said. We noticed during the Mardi Gras Film Festival that we did consistently well there, although it was a smaller space.
Because of the concerns about Mardi Gras, we decided to do most of queerDOC in Newtown. We just seem to get a consistent crowd in Newtown and the queer community of the inner west really appreciates the festival being there and having a close access to it.
We need to continue to cater to the inner-west crowd, and it is great to see that eastern suburbs people are willing to travel there.
While Lindsay stressed Queer Screen had an ongoing commitment to its Darlinghurst headquarters and the Chauvel Cinema, he wondered whether there was a sea change occurring within Sydney’s queer community.
There is a happening vibe in Newtown at the moment which seems to be growing, and we are doing well with that crowd. It will be interesting to see where the future of the city’s queer culture goes to from here. Is Oxford Street the place to go to for nightlife, but for cultural events people head to Newtown?
QueerDOC’s final screening, Meth, is on at the Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, on Thursday 21 September at 7:30pm. Bookings on 1300 306 776 or at www.queerscreen.com.au.