Australia’s largest queer film festival is partnering with the Cockatoo Island festival to present highlights from current LGBTI film and documentary-making.

Queer Screen will merge a selection of work from the Mardi Gras Film Festival and QueerDOC to provide a first class collection of films which tell gay, lesbian and trans stories.

Cockatoo Island Film Festival program manager and former Queer Screen artistic director Lex Lindsay says there is a push to bring smaller film organisations together to create more opportunity for both the industry and the public.

“One of our main objectives in setting the tone with this inaugural event, and may it be the first of many festivals to come, is that we really wanted to open the festival up to other organisations,” Lindsay said.

“You recognise when you are the new kid on the block and there’s other screen organisations with amazing content and what really we wanted to do was to provide those other screen organisations and festivals an opportunity to join us in this amazing location and add to the program.”

Lindsay says the LGBTI content will make an excellent addition to the line-up of the festival, especially the much anticipated screen adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

“We have the amazing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the Stephen Chbosky novel, which is now turned into a feature. It’s a popular teen novel and one of the three leads is a gay character and it’s a very smartly done, contemporary university age character,” he said.

There is also a new film based on the work of Australian gay writer Christos Tsiolkas, who wrote the novel which was used as the basis for the searing gay film Head On.  Tony Krawitz has adapted Tsiolkas’ Dead Europe which is the story of a young man taking his father’s ashes home to Greece and discovers his family has a dark secret involving anti-Semiticism.

Lindsay says while he hopes audiences find the experience of Cockatoo Island – and the festival itself – unique.

“We’re using these amazing industrial old warehouse spaces and transforming them into the island into state of the art cinemas,” he said.

The grand turbine hall will seat 1,000 people and have a 3D screen installed will be the main featuring screen followed by a more standard 400 seat theatre and a third 300 seat theatre.

“Scattered across the island and we have a series of workshops and master classes, Q and As, breakfast; people can camp on the island if they want to do the whole five days,” Lindsay said.

“They can get up in the morning and have breakfast with the directors and get to really hang out with the fellow audience members and filmmakers.”

Screening on Saturday October 27, the Queer Screen program promises to open hearts and minds to the social issues of one of the world’s most colourful and courageous communities.

The international Cockatoo Island Film Festival, set in the middle of Sydney Harbour, will run from October 24-October 28.

The five-day program will boast more than 200 Australian and International films, including world premieres, classic cinema, family-friendly flicks, indie films, as well as a series of racy films screened at midnight amidst the evocative backdrop of Cockatoo Island’s historic buildings.

The Festival will wind up with an island barbecue for 10,000 people on the final day.





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