Mardi Gras Film Festival is back for its 28th year, bringing audiences together again in what MGFF Director Lisa Rose describes as a “silver lining to the hideousness that was 2020.”

“Film festivals like ours exist for multiple reasons, but one of the main reasons is to support LGBTQI film makers in making content and getting it on screen. We are also about supporting our community and creating safe spaces for our community to get together and watch a film, it’s that feeling of togetherness and understanding,” Rose adds.

Not only does the festival bring the very best of queer cinema to Sydney audiences, it also supports the industry in a number of other ways, most notably through the Completion Fund that has continued to support the making of new queer film by Australian film makers since 2015. Among the many successes of this program was Unsoundwhich this week opened in cinemas nationally.

This year, The Greenhouse, which was also supported through the Completion Fund, will make its debut as part of the festival program. Part supernatural thriller, part exploration of the many layers of grief and despair it is a definite ‘must see’. In an interview due out next week Star Observer will be speaking more deeply with the incredible team responsible for this ground-breaking piece of cinema

It’s an ambitious film and the fact that it’s a genre film that touches on the supernatural but at the heart of it is it is really about family and relationships and coming to terms with grief.” Rose says.

 One other highlights from this year’s program, Rose  saidpeople should definitely consider grabbing tickets to is – I Carry You With Me directed by Heidi Ewing.

It’s based on a true story of two Mexican men who meet and fall in love,” Rose explains. “It’s about their relationship and struggles and how they want to immigrate to America for a better life, its fascinating the way it’s made, it has so much heart.”

“Probably my favourite documentary in the festival, is PS Burn This Letter Please, which is about New York drag queens in the 1950s. There is something about this one which is quite unique, someone found a bunch of letters that were written between this group of drag queens. The film makers tracked down some of the people who wrote these letters, it’s fascinating and incredibly exciting.”

Of course, these are just three of many exciting films featuring as part of this year’s festival. Luckily Mardi Gras Film Festival has been far more fortunate than many other festivals around the country, in particular the Melbourne Queer Film Festival was just three days into its 30th anniversary festival last year when it was forced to cancel the remaining program.

Mardi Gras Film Festival have embraced the challenges, throwing for the first time in the festival’s history an opening night screening and party under the stars. This screening will feature the film Irish film Dating Amber and will be presented at Moonlight Cinema on Thursday, Feb 18. Alongside this a number of films will also be available to stream online, making the festival program more accessible than ever.

We conclude our interview by discussing how the film industry will change in the wake of COVID-19, with Rose reflecting on the last twelve months for the industry, and on what may lie ahead.

There will be changes, and it will be interesting to see if people will want to watch films about COVID-19 or watch films to escape, because the world is quite challenging right now. It’s going to be interesting to see what content is out in 12 months or two years time.”

For more info on this year’s incredible line up of films for Mardi Gras Film Festival, head to their website.

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