BRISBANE Queer Film Festival started planning a little earlier than usual, in order to evaluate what really matters to our sub-tropical LGBTI community in a rapidly-growing city with a palate for diversity.

Engaging with a younger queer audience has become a key focus for us in order to secure the future of a festival that is now celebrating its 15th year, which is uniquely funded and supported by a vibrant performing arts venue.

Brisbane Powerhouse is a unofficially a safe haven for sharing queer expression in many forms, housing the performances of many kings and queens of the community, local, interstate and abroad.

This year we are celebrating queer cinema more than ever before with Q&As with filmmakers, actors and well-known queer icons. We are partying hard alongside our straight friends and family on opening night, on closing night, with external events in bars and nightclubs scattered across New Farm.

We are sleeping over for a marathon 12 hours of international queer films; a glorified slumberpartywithgames,dancingand performances. We are celebrating love and expressing our layered selves with a ‘let love fly’ attitude for 2014.

New cinema from Argentina has really captured my attention and captivated my queer imagination. I have developed a huge crush on Marcelo Briem Stamm and his film Solo is on loop in my hard drive. It’s a sophisticated romp on hooking up and the thrill of imminent danger and death (just how a 60 minute relationship should be).

I am also taken by Marco Berger and Marcelo Monaco’s lustful encounters of girls in Sexual Tension: Violetas. It makes me want to explore my own untapped heterosexuality.

In the Name of (Wimie) and Free Fall (Freier Fall) are two of the best examples of queer cinematography I’ve seen for a long time on the festival circuit and both indicate a shift towards more bi-curious themes in queer cinema.

But it’s getting back to our own filmmaker roots that really matters, and I’ve initiated a national competition (with substantial donated prizes and cash) called Queer Aussie Shorts, where an industry panel awards filmmakers in a variety of categories and curates a program for the audience to devour.

Many great feature films and filmmakers start their lives as short films and with this initiative I hope that in the not-too-distant future we see one of our shorts or filmmakers make the transition to a successful feature career in the industry.

Now, if you are reading this in Melbourne or Sydney, you really should book your flights and accommodation for our eight-day festival (except Friday, April 4 as you can actually sleep over in the venue at Camp Out). I’ll money- back-guarantee you (films only) a great time, watching films, partying hard, making new friends and family in our castle with river views.

Troy Armstrong is the Festival Director of Brisbane Queer Film Festival, which is on from March 28 to April 5. Details: here


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