Screen Australia last week announced funding for a new documentary focused on LGBTI elders as well as the recipients of an ABC short film initiative celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras.

The Coming Back Out Ball will explore the issues faced by ageing and often invisible pioneers of the LGBTI community.

Set against the backdrop of the recently held Coming Back Out Ball, the documentary will follow a group of elders faced with the uncertainty of life in aged care.

The film is produced and directed by Sue Thomson alongside producers Adam Farrington-Williams, Roger Monk and Tristan Meecham and has also received funding from the Documentary Australia Foundation.

ABC Arts and Screen Australia also announced the filmmaking teams selected for the ‘Love Bites’ initiative, which was announced in June.

The ten projects cover topics ranging from a radical 1980s lesbian erotic magazine to an internationally renowned Samoan-Australian drag performer, what it means to grow up with same-sex parents, and the ubiquity of dating app culture.

Each team receives $10,000 to make a five-minute short documentary that was screen on the ABC iView arts channel in 2018.

“There could not be a better time to celebrate the extraordinary diversity that is flourishing in our Australian LGBTQI communities,” said Terese Casu, CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“The Love Bites initiative has just unleashed 10 amazing documentary teams who will bring us fresh new contemporary LGBTQI stories to enjoy as part of the 40th celebrations of Mardi Gras. We can’t wait to see the outcome!”

The funded projects are:

  • Beyond the Mirrorball (NSW) from producer Josh Feeney and producer/director Luke Cornish, that will ask what comes next for the over-50s generation of the LGBTQI community moving on from the disco lights of the party scene.
  • Club Arak (NSW) from producer Alissar Gazal and director Fadia Abboud, which will tell the story of Sydney’s original queer Arab dance party that has for 15 years created a safe space that empowered and encouraged Arabs to gather and celebrate their cultural identity.
  • Dances (VIC) from producer Stephanie Westwood and director Ramon Watkins – an innovative exploration of queer experiences with dating app culture, told through dance and animation.
  • Dani Boi (VIC) from producer Zena Bartlett and director Logan Mucha, about a provocative drag king and how radical performance art can play a role in challenging gender conformity.
  • Desperately Seeking Shavers (VIC) from producer Christina Radburn and writer/director Emmett Aldred, which will look at the role facial hair plays in expressing and actualising identity for Trans and gender diverse people.
  • FEZ (QLD) from producer Jessica Magro, executive producer Kate Paul and director Jermaine D’Vauz – a celebration of the life of Samoan-Australian entertainer Fez Faanana who represents Australia on the world stage in dazzling drag and co-founded the all-male burlesque company ‘Briefs Factory’.
  • Monsta Gras (NSW) from producer Jain Moralee and director Kelli Jean Drinkwater, about one of Sydney’s most legendary art parties hosted by The Glitter Militia, and the feminist political playground that redefines what it means to be queer.
  • Queen Biryani (NSW) from producer Kate Vinen and director Gary Paramanathan, which will tell the story of new Pakistani migrant Ali who challenges gender norms by serving up delicious South Asian cuisine through his catering company donned in glittering saris.
  • Same Same (NSW) from producer Lizzie Cater and writer/director Thomas Wilson-White who will draw from his own life for a documentary about growing up with gay parents, and reimagine the many possible versions of Australian families.
  • Wicked Women: There’s No Stopping Us Now (VIC) from producer/director Anna Brownfield, a history of the lesbian erotic magazine Wicked Women which launched in 1988 and turned lesbian Australia upside down – liberating lesbian sex for generations to come.

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