The 15th Mardi Gras Film Festival presented by Queer Screen has opened for another year with over 1,000 people filling the City Recital Hall for the official launch.

Sophie Hyde’s My Last Ten Hours With You won the award for Best Film in the My Queer Career short film competition, and the prize was presented by SBS’s Anton Enus. The film plays out the final night of Mark and Jeremy’s relationship as they struggle to find a way to say goodbye, and starsJoel McIlroy and Toby Schmitz.

Hyde’s film will now go in the running for The International Queer Film of the Year Award held in Cardiff later in the year.

Denie Pentecost’s Sexy Thing, starring Catherine McClements, picked up The Queer Perspective Award and The Audience Choice Award. Craig Boreham’s coming-of-age gay vampyric tale Love Bite won the I.Q. award (Independent Queer Film-maker).

Queer Screen has also added additional dates to some of the more popular films on this year’s program. They are repeating the acclaimed Israeli-Palestinian romance The Bubble; the documentary on gays and Islam, AJihad for Love on Thursday is almost sold out and will be repeated as will The Houseboy on Wednesday and the fresh Canadian comedy Breakfast With Scot.

The festival runs until 28 February with films screening at the Academy Twin in Paddington, the Dendy in Newtown – and, for the first time in five years, Queer Screen presents a special OUT WEST program in Parramatta at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre (15-17 February). Details: www.queerscreen.com.au.

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