Brisbane Queer Film Festival kicks off this next week, promising a sizzling selection of the best and most diverse queer cinema from Australia and around the world.

The festival will screen in Brisbane from March 10–19. This year’s brilliantly bold program has been curated by new directors Shanon King and Justin Marshman. Both have been involved with the festival before and are excited to be directing the program for 2017.

The selection of films embraces the full range of queer cinema, spanning lesbian, gay, bi, trans, gender diverse and multigenerational films, with special picks for niches of Brisbane’s queer community.

 “This year the festival celebrates its 18th birthday,” Marshman said.

“Like all 18-year-olds, BQFF has moved out of its childhood home, Brisbane Powerhouse, and is now ready to party as an independent festival. We are thrilled to lead this exciting new episode of Brisbane’s much loved queer arts festival.”

This year’s selection covers everything from poignant coming-out tales to groundbreaking films at the edge of new-wave queer cinema.

“It is very important for us that BQFF screen films that reflect modern queer life and contemporary forms of storytelling: from opening night’s dazzling NYC vogueing documentary KIKI, French Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo, and dark comedy Women Who Kill to the delightfully divisive Tomcat,” King said.

“We are really proud of the calibre, diversity and inclusiveness in this year’s line-up of films. We’re not the biggest queer festival in Australia, but our program features the best films chosen especially for Brisbane’s queers, allies and cinephiles.”

In line with the festival’s commitment to supporting Australian film, BQFF is proud to launch Brisbane local Mary Duong’s new web series Two Weeks, to be screened across the festival and featured in the queer shorts sessions.

The directors’ favourite offering of the festival is Brazilian miniseries The Nest, which will be playing as a film-length binge watch.

Part of the festival’s coming of age is its recognition as a member of the Asia Pacific Queer Film Alliance, making BQFF a peer of international queer film festival leaders such as Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival.

In 2017, BQFF continues with funding support from major partners Brisbane Powerhouse, Screen Queensland and HIV Foundation Queensland.

“We are so proud to partner with HIV Foundation Queensland to present Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo, which aligns so well with the HIV Foundation’s goals to reduce HIV transmission, educate about PEP, and reduce HIV stigma,” King said.

Queensland Positive People will also launch the first instalment of its latest film series, Talking About Stigma.

BQFF will co-present with Amnesty International Queensland the documentary Out Run, a film looking at the world’s first LGBT political party seeking election into the Philippine congress.

Marshman said the standard of queer stories and characters in film has been greatly raised in the last five years, and the festival program reflects this.

“I would urge people to not only buy a ticket to what jumps out at them, but also to take a chance and choose something they wouldn’t normally see. You’ll be pleasantly surprised,” he said.

“We’re not just playing films about coming out, and stigma, and dying of AIDS. The stories are more complex and layered.”

This year the festival returns to New Farm Cinema, Brisbane’s premiere venue for film festivals, independent, cult and arthouse screenings and popular blockbusters.

Session times, trailers and tickets are available now.

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