This year was meant to be a significant milestone for Melbourne Queer Film Festival. However, festival team in their 30th year had to instead adapt their approach in ways none of us could ever have predicted.

Just days after Melbourne entered its second lockdown Star Observer spoke with Maxwell Gratton, MQFF CEO.

“I’d like to thank the community for their ongoing support of MQFF. We exist to be able to represent the community and share its stories.

“Throughout these challenging times we hope that queer film can continue provide a sense of connection and a sense of joy.”

In place of the festival program that in March was planned to screen in cinema’s across Melbourne. The festival’s 30th year has instead become the first in which parts of the program will be offered to audiences online. It is however hoped that by being permissible and practicable that there may still be an interrupted festival towards the end of this year.

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 “We are screening some of the content we wish we had the opportunity to exhibit in March,” Maxwell continues. “Due to the lockdowns that we are in, we think this online offering is now more relevant than ever.

“It’s ensuring people remain connected to, and can continue to see themselves represented within queer film.”

With Stories In Every Colour adopted as the tagline for the MQFF 30th Festival program, the Five films chosen as part of this online screening are; Australian Shorts Package, XY Chelsea, Walking With Shadows, Billie And Emma and Brief Story From the Green Planet. All of which still very much champion the message of inclusion.

Australian Shorts is always an audience favourite – celebrating some of the brightest queer voices and filmmaking talent Australia has. This is a collection of adventurous, thought-provoking and unmissable shorts.

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 “We also have Billie And Emma – which presents a perspective to the tale of first love, within the community where the story takes place.

“And XY Chelsea, it follows Manning from the minute she leaves prison and climbs aboard the public persona rollercoaster ride as she re-adjusts to life as a ‘free’ person.

“We are a festival that has a very strong commitment to reflecting the diversity of our community hence ‘We are stories in every colour,’” Maxwell concludes. “I think that diversity is reflected through our online offerings and will remain at the forefront of our minds as we move forward. It is so important for our community to see themselves in film.”

MQFF online kicks off this Friday, with passes already on sale. Attendees will be able to purchase the films and watch them at their leisure over the weekend, or screen them at select times during the weekend to watch the films virtually with other queer film-goers.

For more info, head to mqff.com.au

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