The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has launched its full 2019 program, featuring a massive 141 feature films, documentaries and short films.

This year’s MQFF will run from Thursday 14 March to Monday 25 March across ACMI, Village Jam Factory and Cinema Nova.

We spoke with MQFF’s Program Director, Spiro Economopoulos, to find out his top ten picks for the 2019 festival.

1. Bright Colors and Bold Patterns

bright colors bold patterns

“If you don’t know who Drew Droege is, stop what you’re doing right now and check out his YouTube series Chloe where he plays the name dropping ‘It’ girl Chloë Sevigny,” Economopoulos says.

“Better still, come and see Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, based on his hilarious off-Broadway smash.”

This hilarious filmed version of comedian Drew Droege’s one-man smash off-Broadway show takes the audience on a wild ride as we spend an evening with an outrageous house guest who has been invited to a gay wedding in Palm Springs.

Screening on Thursday 21 March at ACMI.

2. Wild Nights with Emily

wild nights with emily

“If Molly Shannon wasn’t enough to get you here, then come for director Madeleine Olnek’s (The Foxy Merkins MQFF 2015) sharp, witty, and heartfelt reassessment of American poet Emily Dickinson,” Economopoulos says.

This highly entertaining and sharply feminist film address this misconception and presents us with an Emily, brimming with passion, agency, and love for her brother’s wife Susan, the inspiration for her most romantic poems.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at the Jam Factory and Saturday 23 March at ACMI.

3. The Blonde One

the blonde one

“Marco Berger has been a staple presence at MQFF for many years now,” Economopoulos says.

“His latest and best film is a sensual love story about two men who don’t know how to process the feelings they have for each other.”

Womanising Juan must quickly find a flatmate after his brother moves out. In moves Gabriel (the blonde of the title), Juan’s stoic and very handsome co-worker.

What starts off as a seemingly affable living arrangement soon turns to burgeoning attraction, then full-blown desire.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at the Jam Factory and Saturday 23 March at ACMI.

4. Night Comes On

night comes on

“Jordana Spiro’s riveting award winning drama is anchored by a sensational performance from young lead Dominique Fishback who determinedly plots a quiet path towards revenge while trying connect with here estranged younger sister – not to be missed,” Economopoulos says.

This debut feature is a powerful and riveting award-winning drama with a commanding performance from lead Dominique Fishback as a young woman reclaiming her past and learning to love again.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at Cinema Nova and Monday 18 March at ACMI.

5. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

scotty secret history of hollywood

“I’ve been waiting to see this ever since I read Scotty Bowers juicy and wild memoir on ‘servicing’ the golden age of Hollywoods elite,” Economopoulos says.

“The documentary doesn’t disappoint either in offering up the salacious detail but what is surprising is the touching portrait of a man who just wanted to make people happy.”

Based on his scandalous, dirt-dishing memoir, Full Service, this eye-opening documentary follows Scotty Bowers around Los Angeles as he recounts his wild, sexually explicit exploits during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at ACMI and Saturday 23 March at Cinema Nova.

6. Knife+Heart

knife and heart

“The love child of Brian De Palma and Pedro Almodovar, this gorgeous looking thriller set in the world of 70s gay porn has lots to recommend,” Economopoulos says.

“A pulsing electronic score from M83, Vanessa Paradis as a woman torn apart by love and a killer with a switchblade dildo. What’s not to love!”

Anne produces cheap gay porn, and when her lover, Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by making her most ambitious film yet.

But when one of her actors is brutally murdered by a leather-masked serial killer with a dildo switchblade, Anne’s journey to the dingy underworld has only just begun.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at ACMI and Friday 22 March at ACMI.

7. Anchor and Hope

Anchor and Hope

“Tackling potentially serious topics such as parenting and the complexities of rainbow families, this delightful comedy is a joyful look at the perilous journey towards creating a family,” Economopoulos says.

“Featuring a trio of heartfelt central performances and a great cameo from Geraldine Chaplin, Anchor and Hope is if anything the best film you’ll see set on a river barge.”

Eva (Oona Chaplin) and Kat’s (Natalia Tena) humble, yet carefree, lifestyle in their London canal boat gets turned upside down when Eva presents Kat with an ultimatum: she wants a child.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at ACMI and Sunday 24 March at Cinema Nova.

8. Sauvage

Sauvage

“Starring MQFFs unofficial poster boy Felix Maritaud (who features in four films at this year’s festival), Sauvage is an uncompromising and complex look at the cost of unbridled freedom,” Economopoulos says.

“This film packs quite a visceral and emotional punch and will stay with you long after the end credits roll.”

Leo is a young gay sex worker who sleeps rough and often puts himself in dangerous situations with his male clients.

When he meets another sex worker, a straight Moroccan man, the pull of attraction, intimacy, and commitment begin to chip away at his uncompromising lifestyle.

Screening on Saturday 16 March at ACMI and Saturday 23 March at the Jam Factory.

9. Two Weeks

two weeks

“Screening as part of our episodic showcase, Two Weeks chronicles the complex love lives of a group of queer and questioning 20 something friends living in inner city Brisbane,” Economopoulos says.

“One of the joys of the episodic format is its ability to capture a time and place through intimate and first hand lived experience. This makes it rich for diverse queer storytelling.”

The three interconnecting stories revolve around; Audrey, who has reconnected with a toxic ex-girlfriend; Mitch and his long term boyfriend Alex, whose relationship has gone a bit stale; and Lucas, whose love life is complicated by the growing attraction between himself and his best friend Laura’s sexually confused boyfriend.

Screening on Tuesday 19 March at Cinema Nova.

10. The Quiet Rebel

quiet rebel

“There has been lots of discussion around the need for safe spaces online,” Economopoulos says.

The Quiet Rebel is a timely reminder of the way queer womens voices can be drowned out by amplified ignorance and hate as it chronicles Melbourne artist Casey Jenkins personal experience with online trolls surrounding her performance piece, Casting Off my Womb.”

Carole Cassier’s thoughtful documentary is a timely and thought-provoking look at the insidious silencing of female voices online and a queer woman’s defiant refusal to remain silent.

Screening on Tuesday 19 March at ACMI.

You can browse this year’s full program at mqff.org.au.

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