The Nine Best Films To Watch At Mardi Gras Film Festival This Year

The Nine Best Films To Watch At Mardi Gras Film Festival This Year

It’s going to be an exciting few weeks for film fans when Queer Screen’s 30th Mardi Gras Film Festival gets underway from February 15 until March 2. 

The festival, which screens the best and brightest of LGBTQ cinema from around the world, is celebrating the biggest program the festival has presented in the past 10 years.

This year’s fest includes screenings of 166 films in cinemas across Sydney, as well as at outdoor venues and on-demand at home. As well as fresh new features from across the globe, the festival is offering a number of retrospectives of Queer cinema as well as the return of My Queer Career, Australias richest LGBTIQ+ short film prize, with over $16,000 worth of prizes to be won.

With such an exciting program the Star Observer is taking a closer look at nine films we are especially excited to see.

Lonesome (2022)

Australian director Craig Boreham has created a beautifully crafted film about an unexpected and life-changing encounter between two aimless men, who realise that sometimes you can’t fight love, no matter how much you try.

The cinematography by Dean Francis is stunning as are the two central performances by newcomers Josh Lavery and Daniel Gabriel. There’s also effective support from Anni Finsterer and Ian Roberts in an image-shattering role.

The film is reminiscent of Gus van Sant and Gregg Araki’s early 90’s films like My Own Private Idaho and The Living End in its unapologetic sexuality and its gritty naturalism. 


The Inspection (2022)

Out actor Jeremy Pope, who sprung to stardom in Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in A Motion Picture – Drama and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Lead Performance for his role as a young man who faces homophobia not only at Marine boot camp but also at the hands of his mother (played by Gabrielle Union, who also received an Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Supporting Performance). 

The film’s impressive cast includes Bokeem Woodbine and Raul Castillo, who made a strong impression in HBO’s Looking. The Inspection, was written and directed by Elegance Bratton, based on his personal experience and has also been nominated for ten awards at the Black Reel awards.


Golden Delicious (2022)

Canada is making a strong showing at this year’s festival and this film is already attracting a lot of buzz before its Australian debut. 

Directed by Jason Karman and written by Gorrman Lee, the film tells the story of Jake (played by Cardi Wong), a Chinese-Canadian teenager who joins his high school basketball team so he can be closer to a classmate with whom he has fallen in love. 

The film won four awards at the Reelworld Film Festival for Outstanding Feature, Outstanding Feature Film Director and Outstanding Feature Film Writer, and the award for Outstanding Feature Film actor for Wong.


In From the Side (2022)

This gay sports film tells the story of two members of a gay rugby team (played by Alexander King and Alexander Lincoln) who fall in love despite both being in relationships, threatening not only their personal lives but the future of their rugby club. 

The film which was co-written and produced by Australian Adam Silver has been making a splash on the LGBTQ film festival circuit winning Best Narrative Feature at Real Q and Best Feature Film – Runner-Up at OUTShine.


Punch (2022)

This New Zealand-made feature film, written and directed by Welby Ings stars Tim Roth, Jordan Oosterhof and Conan Hayes, in the story of Jim, a fledgling boxer who, despite intense pressure from his domineering father, begins to question his life after meeting Whetu, a local gay Maori boy. 


This Place  (2022)

Another Canadian entry at this year’s festival This Place is the love story of two women (played by Queer actor Devery Jacobs and Priya Guns) from very different cultural backgrounds (First Nations-Iranian & Tamil) who fall in love while at the same time struggling to cope with their own family issues. The film was directed by V.T. Nayani who co-wrote the script with Jacobs and Golshan Andmoulaie and premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.


Wandering Heart (2021)

This Spanish-language film stars Argentinian actor Leonardo Sbaraglia (so good as Frederico in Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory) as a father who is dealing with a mid-life crisis while at the same time navigating a troubled relationship with his teenage daughter. Sbaraglia’s performance has been widely acclaimed and nabbed him Best Actor honours from the Malaga Spanish film festival and the Argentinian Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.


Wet Sand (2021)

This Swiss-Georgian co-production focuses on Moe, a young woman who returns to her grandfather’s hometown on the Black Sea following his death and meets his longtime (and secret) gay lover. Meanwhile, Moe finds a new love of her own. The film directed and co-written by Elene Naveriani has been winning praise on the LGBTQ film festival circuit.


Joyland (2022)

The Winner of CannesUn Certain Regard Jury

Prize, Joyland made headlines in 2022 when the film, a story of a married man who falls in love with a trans woman, was initially banned in its home country.

The film has since gone on to win a number of awards including the Queer Palm for Director Saim Sadiq and was also nominated for an Independent Spirit award for Best International Film. Joyland is also the first Pakistani film to be shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best International Film. 

With so much talent on display and such a diverse and exciting catalogue of films on offer, this year’s MGFF is certain to attract big audiences.

Tickets are on sale now and available through Queer Screen’s 30th Mardi Gras Film Festival website.


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