Submerged director Sophie O’Connor, co-producer Pietro (The Colonel) and producer Kat Holmes.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) organisers are excited to see not one but two Australian feature films making their Australian debut at this year’s festival.

MQFF launched its 2013 program to a packed house last night at the Crown Metropol, with tickets to its 169 films now available on its website.

Melbourne City councillor Rohan Leppert, on behalf of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle who was unwell, addressed the launch along with MQFF director Lisa Daniel and board co-convenors Paul Clifton and Scott Herron.

Check out photos from last night’s launch here.

Daniel told the Star Observer it was “incredible” to see two Australian feature films, Submerge and Monster Pies, on the line-up this year.

“We have two Australian features this year for the first time in a very long time… it’s exciting,” she said.

“We might get one every five years so in my time we’ve probably only had half a dozen in the 15 years I’ve been here.”

Submerge producer Kat Holmes said the film had been in production for nine years.

“It’s had a long journey and we always had in mind where we would showcase this in Australia,” she said.

Holmes, a MQFF member and supporter, said the festival timed well with the film’s completion.

“We’re ecstatic we’ve got closing night and we think it’s a really good springboard for the film.”

Monster Pies director Lee Galea said to premiere at MQFF was a “dream come true”.

“I made this film and my goal was to premiere at Melbourne Queer Film Festival and when I got it I thought ‘that’s it for me, I got everything I wanted’.”

“What ever comes next is extra, a bonus.”

This is Galea’s second feature which he invested $10,000 himself into with the financial support of straight lead actor and executive producer, Lucas Linehan.

Daniel said the festival was about the same size as last year with 169 films but added they had many more submissions this year.

“We had just over 600 so it’s a lot to to get through.”

In terms of locally made films, she said it was tough to source Australian-made content.

“The Australian film [industry] is quite small anyway, the Australian queer film industry is even smaller,” she said.

“So I think we had about 50 submissions of Australian stuff and we’re screening 33 titles so it is actually hard to get a lot of the good quality stuff.”

“The Americans, of course, make film in their sleep so we always get lots of American stuff but you know there’s many of parts of the world now making great quality queer cinema like parts of Asia, South America, places like that where we are seeing much more interesting stuff than we’ve seen over the last few years.”

MQFF  runs from March 14-24.

INFO: www.mqff.com.au

Watch the Monster Pies trailer below:

Watch the Submerge trailer below (warning: some nudity):

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