Lonesome, a new Australian LGBTQ feature film, directed by acclaimed Queer filmmaker Craig Boreham, will make its Australian premiere at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival, following its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival.

The film, produced by Ben Ferris and Ulysses Oliver under their Breathless Films banner, along with co-producer Dean Francis, tells the story of Casey (played by Josh Lavery) who leaves for the bright lights of Sydney following a scandalous incident in his small town.

Casey ultimately meets Tib (played by Daniel Gabriel), who tries to escape his feelings of isolation through casual sexual hookups. Together, the pair find an unexpected and challenging bond growing between them.

‘A Labour of Love for the Entire Cast and Crew’

Director Craig Boreham, whom The Guardian called a compelling new voice in queer Australian cinema,” says Lonesome was a labour of love for the entire cast and crew.” Boreham was also previously nominated for the Berlinale Teddy Award for his short film Transient.

Speaking to the Star Observer, Boreham acknowledges, “It has been difficult in the past to get Queer films made in Australia, I’ve been making Queer stuff for years now and it’s always been a difficult slog to get a project up.”

“There’s always been this feeling that it’s a very niche genre and when we don’t have big audience interest in Australia for these kinds of stories…I think finally, people are starting to realise that niche is good. We do have an audience.”

“People are becoming more open to Queer stories,” Boreham says. “It’s nice to see that attitude changing.” 

Boreham, who over the course of his career has had his films screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Cannes, Palm Springs, Frameline and Outfest says, “It’s funny, I know that my work travels much better overseas.” 

Boreham acknowledges that the popularity and influence of streaming services have helped to foster more interest in Queer filmmaking.

‘I Just Really Wanted a Queer Cast for this Film’

“The streamers have been more embracing of Queer stories and pick things up, which is great, and changing peoples attitudes to what people want to watch,” he says. 

Another challenge Boreham faced was the casting process for the film.  “I just really wanted a Queer cast for this film and that [created] a few obstacles in getting Queer actors from traditional agencies…A lot of the Queer actors I approached were a little reluctant to do Queer roles.” 

Casting is “much harder than people think,” Boreham says. Ultimately he decided to take a more unconventional approach to casting and he started to approach people through dating apps.

“I just thought f**k it and I went onto Grindr and just started and just started asking them if they were interested in coming out for the film and you can imagine how that went down,” says Boreham with a laugh.

“It was great. I found some really amazing people and we ended up with a really super Queer cast and super Queer crew. It was a really nice way to work. Our two leads Josh and Daniel are electric together. They have such a great chemistry together on screen.”  

 “It was really brilliant to work with Ian Roberts and Anni Finsterer again. They were both in my film Teenage Kicks and I wrote their characters with them in mind.”

Producer Ben Ferris says, “Lonesome is a poignant and timely queer love story, and one that emerges unexpectedly amid the transactional world of casual hook-up culture. Craig’s talent as a director allows him a lightness of touch to find the comic in the tragic, while losing none of the authenticity and tenderness at the film’s heart.”

‘The Inner Emotional Lives of Diverse Queer Characters Portrayed with Such Raw Honesty’

Producer and Director of Photography, Dean Francis says, Its rare to see the inner emotional lives of diverse queer characters portrayed with such raw honesty. Making Lonesome totally independently gave Craig and the team complete creative freedom, and it’s fabulous to see these instincts validated by the market and the high-profile film festivals that are embracing Lonesome.”

Ferris also praised Dean Francis’ cinematography, noting that it lent “a cinematic grace to the basements and rooftops of a Sydney less frequently depicted on screen.”

Boreham is already hard at work writing his next project; an adaptation of  Down the Hume written by Peter Polites. Boreham calls the film a neo-noir set in Western Sydney and is being produced in association with Screen Australia.

 Before filming can commence on Down the Hume, Boreham is concentrating on promoting Lonesome on the festival circuit.

“We did the Seattle screening. That was great. It did really well. Sydney will be the Australian premiere and then we go straight from Sydney to Mexico for the Guadalajara International Film Festival. It will be our Latin American premiere so that’s exciting.”

The film is also scheduled to be screened during the upcoming Provincetown International Film Festival in June as well as the LGBTQ Inside Out film festival in Toronto.

“It’s been great to see the film landing in a few of the mainstream international film festivals that are not specifically Queer, as well as some big Queer festivals; that’s kind of nice and I think that speaks to shifting attitudes to Queer cinema,” Boreham says.

Lonesome has three scheduled screenings at the Sydney Film Festival, including the premiere screening at the State Theatre on June 13 at 8 pm and two further dates at the Dendy cinema in Newtown on June 17 at 8:30 pm and the Ritz cinema in Randwick on June 18 at 8:40 pm.

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