Troy Armstrong has taken the Brisbane Queer Film Festival into a new stratosphere with a mix of elegant marketing and new innovations that underpins his love of the arts and his connection to the LGBTI community.
His shake up of the BQFF made international news and caused some controversy, as he recreated the famous beach scene from Here to Eternity with a same-sex make over.
Armstrong reflects on a huge year: “This is my first year on BQFF as the festival producer. There was a changing of the guard, so I put up my hand up for the job.”
BQFF is only part of his function as he is employed full time in the arts hub that is the Brisbane Powerhouse, which delivers an abundance of queer content all year round.
Armstrong explains it is important to have content that supports and speaks to the LGBTI community: “Over the years I’ve flown in mates from Sydney and Melbourne to perform at Brisbane Powerhouse including Trevor Ashley, Bob Downe (Mark Trevorrow), Rhonda Burchmore, Michael Griffiths, Lisa Adam, Tom Sharah and Nath Valvo.”
Powerhouse artistic director Kris Stewart said at the launch of BQFF that he is a huge fan of queer content and Armstrong’s function helps deliver this with him “specialising in queer programming”.
“No one teaches us how to have homosexual relationships. BQFF is the one annual opportunity we get to see how other LGBTI relationships connect and work from all over the world,” Armstrong says.
Armstrong also suggests that he aims to find the right balance of representation within the diverse LGBTI family: “My role is to find a nice balance in selecting the stories to be shared with the LGBTI community of Brisbane.”
Before joining the Powerhouse, Armstrong was going it on his own.
“I independently produced my own pre-school act for live performance and TV,” he says.
“I also worked behind the scenes on big musicals such as Priscilla and Lion King. I also had a stint in studio television as an art director for SBS and on Hi-5, and worked as a theatre designer.”
He also played a key role with Mardi Gras as its festival designer, highlighting a pedigree in queer culture dating back many years.
Even his social life is the arts, he confesses: “I’ve started dating an awesome guy in the ‘biz’, it’s really exciting, there’s a lot to talk about over dinner and at opening nights.”
Despite being part of the cultural hub for queer arts, gay-politik isn’t his thing.
“I’m not huge on the politics or issues. I like to think I’m community integrated,” he confides.
“I enjoy celebrating and networking with the community at GLNBN’s Fruits with a Twist or a night out with mates at the Sporties, The Beat, Fluffy and camping at Tropical Fruits.”
Main picture by Studio Impressions is the controversial image that Armstrong helped bring to life.
INFO: This year’s BQFF line up includes exciting new events, Camp Out!, Dragathong Closing Night Party, A Q&A with Olympian Matthew Mitcham and many more. The full schedule is here.
This Star Observer Spotlight was made possible by Seiko